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I'm trying to wrap my head around the Azure confidential computing offering.

It appears that that AWS does not offer encryption at the application level (see diagram for what I mean by this:)

enter image description here

My question is: Is Azure's confidential computing essentially encrypted RAM?

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The article you are referencing mentions encrypted RAM but that was only a reference to possibilities of enhancing the technology more in the future, not about the current state of confidential computing.

Confidential computing means, that when data is in use these things are prevented:

  • Malicious insiders with administrative privilege or direct access to hardware on which it is being processed

  • Hackers and malware that exploit bugs in the operating system, application, or hypervisor

  • Third parties accessing it without their consent

according to Microsoft own announcement

So in other words, it is kind of equivalent to encryption and firewall that are seen in communication but this time applied to running programs in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), which the term for the area which is protected when server runs a program.

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  • When you say ‘container’ I take it you don’t mean docker container right?
    – hawkeye
    Oct 8 '17 at 12:11
  • You are right, container only meaning a thing that contains sth inside. Microsoft speaks about Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). I'll edit my answer.
    – mico
    Oct 8 '17 at 12:32
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Azure's Confidential Computing leverages Intel® SGX to enable applications run code inside secure enclaves. Intel Software Gaurd Extensions (SGX) use a Memory Encryption Engine that encrypts any enclave data that leaves the CPU cache to the RAM using a key that is only accessible to the processor, preventing attacks such as cold-boot, tapping on the memory bus, etc. It also provides isolation of the enclave's address space from any other entity (including the OS kernel and sudo users).

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