nShield Solo HSMs

nShield Solo hardware security modules (HSMs) are FIPS-certified PCI-Express card-based solutions that deliver cryptographic key services to applications hosted on individual servers and appliances

nShield Solo HSMs

nShield Solo HSMs are low-profile, embedded PCI-Express cards that provide cryptographic services to one or more applications hosted on a single server or appliance. These hardened, tamper-resistant cards perform encryption, digital signing and key generation on behalf of an extensive range of commercial and custom-built applications, including certificate authorities, code signing and more.

The nShield Solo series includes nShield Solo+ and the new high-performance nShield Solo XC, which offers superior asymmetric and symmetric performance and best-in-class elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) transaction rates.

Highly flexible architecture

All nShield HSMs integrate with the unique Security World architecture from nCipher. With this proven technology, you can combine different nShield HSMs models to build a unified ecosystem that delivers scalability, seamless failover and load balancing.

Process more data faster

nShield Solo HSMs support some of the highest cryptographic transaction rates in the industry, making them ideal for enterprise retail, IoT and other environments where throughput is critical. The nShield Solo XC offers our highest transaction performance rates and features host-side virtualization support.

Protect your proprietary applications and data

nShield Solo HSMs don’t just protect your sensitive keys and data; they also provide a secure environment for running sensitive applications. The CodeSafe option lets you execute code within nShield boundaries, protecting your applications and the data they process.

Certified hardware solutions

nCipher has earned a broad set of certifications for nShield products. These certifications help our customers to demonstrate compliance while also giving them the assurance that their nShield HSMs meet stringent industry standards.

Security compliance:

  • FIPS 140-2 Level 2 and Level 3
  • Common Criteria EAL4+ (AVA_VAN.5) for nShield Solo+ models
  • Recognition of nShield Solo+ as a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD)

Safety and environmental standards compliance:

  • UL, CE, FCC, C-TICK, Canada ICES
  • RoHS2, WEEE
High transaction rates

nShield HSMs boast high elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) and RSA transaction rates. ECC, one of the most efficient cryptographic algorithms, is particularly favored where low power consumption is crucial, such as applications running on small sensors or mobile devices.

nShield Solo Models 500+ XC Base 6000+ XC Mid XC High
RSA Signing Performance (tps) for NIST Recommended Key Lengths
2048 bit 150 430 3000 3500 8600
4096 bit 80 100 500 850 2025
ECC Prime Curve Signing Performance (tps) for NIST Recommended Key Lengths
256 bit 540 680 2400 5500 14,400
Wide support for APIs, cryptographic algorithms and OSs

Supported APIs

  • PKCS#11, OpenSSL, Java (JCE), Microsoft CAPI, and CNG

Supported Cryptographic Algorithms

  • Asymmetric public key algorithms: RSA, Diffie-Hellman, ECMQV, DSA, KCDSA, ECDSA, ECDH, Edwards (X25519, Ed25519ph)
  • Symmetric algorithms: AES, AES-GCM, ARIA, Camellia, CAST, RIPEMD160 HMAC, SEED, Triple DES
  • Hash/message digest: SHA-1, SHA-2 (224, 256, 384, 512 bit), HAS-160
  • Full Suite B implementation with fully licensed ECC including Brainpool and custom curves

nShield HSMs offers support for the majority of these cryptographic algorithms as part of the standard feature set. For organizations wishing to use ECC or South Korean algorithms, optional activation licenses are needed.

Operating Systems

  • Microsoft Windows 7 x64, 10 x64; Windows Server 2008 R2 x64, 2012 R2 x64, 2016 x64
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS/ES 6 x64, 7 x64; SUSE Enterprise Linux 11 x64 SP2, 12 x64
  • Oracle Solaris 11 (SPARC), Oracle Solaris 11 x64
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.8 x64, 7.1 x64
  • Solo+: Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS/ES 6 x86; IBM AIX 7.1 (POWER6), HP-UX 11i v3

Solo XC virtual environment support: Microsoft Windows Hyper-V Server 2016, VMware ESXi 6.5, Citrix XenServer 6.5

Model MTBF (hours)
Solo XC 726,461
Solo+ 1,105,978

Calculated at 25C operating temperature using Telcordia SR-332 “Reliability Prediction Procedure for Electronic Equipment" MTBF Standard.

Performance Ratings and Options

To meet the performance needs of your application, nCipher provides a variety of nShield Solo models as shown in the Specifications tab. You can select among the performance models shown, and can also purchase in-field upgrades from lower performance models to higher models.

nShield Web Services Option Pack

The Web Services Option Pack enables the nShield Web Services Crypto API, which provides a simple interface between applications and nShield crypto services. The API gives cloud, data center or on-premises applications access to nShield data protection solutions without the need for client-side integration.

nShield Monitor

nShield Monitor is a monitoring platform that provides 24x7 visibility into the status of payShield and nShield HSMs. With this solution, security teams can efficiently inspect HSMs and find out immediately if any potential security, configuration or utilization issue may compromise their mission-critical infrastructure.

Remote Administration Kits

Remote Administration Kits

nShield Remote Administration lets operators manage distributed nShield HSMs—including adding applications, upgrading firmware, checking status, re-booting and more—from their office locations, reducing travel and saving money. Remote Administration Kits contain the hardware and software needed to set up and use the tool. These kits are available for nShield Solo and nShield Connect HSMs.


CodeSafe is a powerful, secure environment that lets you execute applications within the secure boundaries of nShield HSMs. Sample applications include digital meters, authentication agents, digital signature agents and custom encryption processes. CodeSafe is available with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified nShield Solo and nShield Connect HSMs.

CipherTools Developer Toolkit

The CipherTools Developer Toolkit is a set of tutorials, reference documentation, sample programs and additional libraries. With this toolkit, developers can take full advantage of the advanced integration capabilities of nShield HSMs. In addition to offering support for standard APIs, the toolkit enables you to run custom applications with nShield HSMs.

Database Security Option Pack

Databases often contain an organization's most sensitive data. To help customers protect their data, major database vendors have implemented native encryption in their products. The nShield Database Security Option Pack adds support for Microsoft’s Extensible Key Management (EKM) API, helping organizations to better protect the keys that safeguard sensitive data in Microsoft SQL Server.

Time Stamping Option Pack

The Time Stamping Option Pack and optional Time Stamping Developer Software used with nShield Solo 500+ HSMs helps companies securely apply a time-stamped signature to a document. These time stamping signatures deliver high-assurance integrity to digital records management and can support a wide variety of applications, including code signing, financial transactions, legal filings, lotteries and gaming, security logs, long-term archives and more.

Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) Activation

The ECC activation license enables EC-DH, EC-DSA and EC-MQV to be used on an nShield HSMs.

KCDSA Activation

With the KCDSA activation license, you can use the Korean Certificate-based Digital Signature Algorithm (KCSDA) as well as HAS-160, SEED and ARIA algorithms on an nShield HSMs.

Smart card reader rackmount

For organizations deploying one or more nShield Solo modules in a 19" rack, the optional nShield smart card reader rackmount provides a practical and clean solution for attaching card readers in the data center. The rackmount is 1U in height and can be equipped with up to four smart card readers, which come standard with nShield Solo cards. Each unit is packaged with three blanking plates to cover any unused slots.

White Paper : The nCipher Security World Architecture

The nCipher Security World architecture supports a specialized key management framework that spans the entire nShield family of general purpose hardware security modules (HSMs). Whether deploying high performance, shareable, network-attached HSM appliances, host-embedded HSM cards or USB-attached portable HSMs, the Security World architecture provides a unified administrator and user experience and guaranteed interoperability whether the customer deploys one or hundreds of devices.


White Paper : Key Isolation for Enterprises and Managed Service Providers

It is vital for any business that relies on cryptographic keys to have assurances and enforceable policies around key usage. The nShield family of Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) provides that assurance. The Security World key management framework, supported by the nShield HSMs family, enables organizations to create a structured key infrastructure that meets today’s dynamic and fluid requirements.

This paper demonstrates how it is possible to easily configure Security World to define a framework which permits both partitioning and multi-tenancy cryptographic key isolation strategies.


Data Sheet : CodeSafe

CodeSafe is a set of software tools that enables you to run applications in a secure execution environment inside nShield HSMs.


Data Sheet : nShield Remote Administration

nShield Remote Administration is a central management tool that lets you manage your geographically distributed nShield HSMs from your local office.


Data Sheet : nShield Monitor Data Sheet

nShield Monitor is a tool that lets you monitor, 24x7 and in one centralized location, all your nCipher HSMs.


Data Sheet : Web Services Option Pack

Reduce integration and gain simplicity using this API, providing a simple interface between cloud, data center or on-premises applications and nShield crypto services.

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