Monday, April 29, 2024

IBM Secure Execution for Linux support for Crypto Express adapters

IBM Secure Execution for Linux -- the Linux Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) based Confidential Computing technology for IBM LinuxONE and Linux on IBM Z -- now allows Secure Execution guests leverage secure passthrough access to up to 12 Crypto Express 8S adapter domains in accelerator or EP11 co-processor mode.

Customers who require the highest level of protection (FIPS 140-2 level 4 certified) for their cryptographic keys and thus for their sensitive data can now have their workloads deployed as Secure Execution KVM guests with access to Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) if the provider uses IBM z16 or LinuxONE 4 servers with Crypto Express 8S adapters. This combination provides business value for solutions around key and certificate management, multi-party computation and digital assets. But more use cases arise as confidential computing becomes more common and the need to leverage such highly certified HSM to protect AI models or provide data sovereignty across organizational and infrastructure boundaries grows.

To exploit this new function, IBM z16 or LinuxONE 4 severs with firmware bundles S30 and S31b are needed. To use a Crypto Express 8S adapter in EP11 mode the minimal EP11 firmware version loaded must be version 5.8.30.

IBM is working with Linux distribution partners to include the required Linux support for this function for both the KVM Hypervisor and the Secure Execution guests in future distribution releases. Linux support for this function is already available today with Ubuntu 24.04 (Noble Numbat).

This new capability showcases IBM’s commitment and previously stated direction to foster the use of confidential computing and expand the security value proposition of existing security and crypto solutions as the business needs of our customers and technical possibilities evolve.

For detailed information on how to use Crypto Express support see the Introducing IBM Secure Execution for Linux publication.


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