arXiv:2403.03360v1 Announce Type: new
Abstract: Trusted I/O (TIO) is an appealing solution to improve I/O performance for confidential VMs (CVMs), with the potential to eliminate broad sources of I/O overhead. However, this paper emphasizes that not all types of I/O can derive substantial benefits from TIO, particularly network I/O. Given the obligatory use of encryption protocols for network traffic in CVM’s threat model, TIO’s approach of I/O encryption over the PCIe bus becomes redundant. Furthermore, TIO solutions need to expand the Trusted Computing Base (TCB) to include TIO devices and are commercially unavailable.
Motivated by these insights, the goal of this paper is to propose a software solution that helps CVMs immediately benefit from high-performance networks, while confining trust only to the on-chip CVM. We present FOLIO, a software solution crafted from a secure and efficient Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) extension compatible with the latest version of AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV), a.k.a., Secure Nested Paging (SNP). Our design is informed by a thorough analysis of all possible factors that impact SNP VM’s network performance. By extensively removing overhead sources, we arrive at a design that approaches the efficiency of an optimal TIO-based configuration. Evaluation shows that FOLIO has a performance dip less than 6% relative to the optimal TIO configuration, while only relying on off-the-shelf CPUs.



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