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Snape: The Dark Art of Handling Heterogeneous Enclaves

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(Practice talk for EuroSys EdgeSys 2019)

Code executing on the edge needs to run on hardware platforms that feature different memory architectures, virtualization extensions, and using a range of security features. Forcing application code to conform to a monolithic API such as POSIX , or ABI such as Linux, ties developers into large, complex platforms that make it difficult to use such hardware-specific features effectively as well as coming with their own baggage and the attendant security issues. As edge computing proliferates, handling increasingly sensitive and intimate data in our everyday lives, it becomes important for developers to be able to use all the hardware resources of their particular platform, correctly and efficiently.

To this end, we propose Snape, an API and composable platform for matching applications’ needs to the available hardware features in a heterogeneous environment. Unlike existing solutions, Snape provides applications with a flexible trust model and replaces untrusted host OS services with corresponding hw-assisted secured services. We report experience with our proof-of-concept implementation that enables Solo5 unikernels on Raspberry Pi 3 boards to make effective use of ARM TrustZone security technology.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory NetOS Group Talklets series.

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