- simplify infrastructure management and capacity planning
- increase server high availability
- optimize compute resource management
Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) is a set of the central processing unit (CPU) instruction codes from Intel that allows user-level code to allocate private regions of memory, called enclaves, that are protected from processes running at higher privilege levels.[Intel designed SGX to be useful for implementing a secure remote computation, secure web browsing, and digital rights management (DRM). [source]
What about CPUID?The CPUID instruction is not sufficient to detect the usability of Intel SGX on a platform. It can report whether or not the processor supports the Intel SGX instructions, but Intel SGX usability depends on both the BIOS settings and the PSW. Applications that make decisions based solely on CPUID enumeration run the risk of generating a #GP or #UD fault at runtime.In addition, VMMs (for example, Hyper-V*) can mask CPUID results, and thus a system may support Intel SGX even though the results of the CPUID report that the Intel SGX feature flag is not set.
INPUT EAX = 12H: Returns Intel SGX Enumeration InformationWhen CPUID executes with EAX set to 12H and ECX = 0H, the processor returns information about Intel SGX capabilities.
- Software Controlled (default)
eax: 406e3 ebx: 100800 ecx: 7ffafbbf edx: bfebfbff
eax: 406e3 ebx: 1100800 ecx: 7ffafbbf edx: bfebfbff
Note: Explicitly enabled SGX within BIOS has been successfully tested in operating system FreeBSD 11 running on bare metal (physical servers). It might work with BIOS option "Software Controlled" but it would require software enablement within Guest OS. I was not testing such scenario, therefore another testing would be required to prove such an assumption.
Operating system FreeBSD 11 has been tested on bare metal with enabled SGX in BIOS and in such configuration SGX CPU capabilities has been successfully identified within operating system.
Unfortunately, SGX has NOT been successfully identified even on the latest VM hardware for vSphere 6.5 (VM Hardware ver 13) even the CPU capabilities identified in VM hardware 13 by Guest Operating System are significantly extended in comparison to VM hardware 4.
UPDATE 2020-03-16: SGX is supported on vSphere 7. For further details see video at vSGX & Secure Enclaves in vSphere 7