Your submission was sent successfully! Close

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter!
In these regular emails you will find the latest updates from Canonical and upcoming events where you can meet our team.Close

Thank you for contacting our team. We will be in touch shortly.Close

  1. Blog
  2. Article

on 28 July 2022

Let’s get confidential! Canonical Ubuntu Confidential VMs are now generally available on Microsoft Azure

On behalf of all Canonical teams, I am happy to announce the general availability of Ubuntu Confidential VMs (CVMs) on Microsoft Azure! They  are part of the Microsoft Azure DCasv5/ECasv5 series, and only take a few clicks to enable and use. Ubuntu 20.04 is the first and only Linux distribution to support Confidential VMs on Azure.

What are Ubuntu CVMs?

Ubuntu CVMs use the latest security extensions of the third generation of AMD CPUs, Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP). As such, they bring about a fundamental shift in the traditional threat model of public clouds. Traditionally,  any vulnerability within the millions of lines of code in the cloud’s privileged system software (OS, hypervisor, firmware) would systematically compromise the confidentiality and integrity of your running code and data. The same could be said for any undue access to your VM and/or its platform by a malicious cloud administrator. 

Ubuntu CVMs are here to give you back control over the security guarantees of your VMs. They do this by allowing you to run your workload within a logically isolated hardware-rooted execution environment.  Your trusted computing base is dramatically reduced to your application and the platform’s underlying hardware CPU, and nothing else. In other words, a compromised host OS or an angry cloud administrator can no longer access your data nor alter your code’s execution. 

How do Ubuntu confidential VMs work?

Ubuntu CVMs achieve such strong security guarantees by securing your VMs throughout their entire lifecycle:

1.At run-time
Using AMD SEV-SNP, your VM’s code and data are encrypted when they are being operated on in the system memory. The encryption leverages the newest AES-128 hardware encryption engine embedded in the CPU’s memory controller. The encryption key is further protected and managed by the AMD Secure Processor.

2. At rest
Your entire workload is encrypted using Ubuntu-enhanced full disk encryption capabilities. The encryption key is itself stored encrypted in your VM’s virtual disk. It’s then  bound to the virtual TPM (vTPM) associated with your instance. Finally, the vTPM is itself part of the guest VM address space, and enjoys the same run-time security guarantees provided by the AMD SEV-SNP extensions to the entire VM instance.

3. At boot time
Before booting the VM, the platform provides a hardware-rooted signed attestation which can be used to verify the OS, firmware and platform boot measurements.

Part of Canonical’s security commitment

With Ubuntu CVMs, Canonical continues its strong commitment to security. This is yet another reason for which developers, end-users and enterprises across the world continue to choose Ubuntu on all major public clouds. With Azure CVM, Ubuntu customers can continue using its extended security maintenance of 10 years,  certified and hardened images and kernel livepatch capabilities,  while enjoying the Ubuntu user experience they have come to love and expect.

Stay tuned for more news on confidential computing 

Azure Confidential VMs only mark the beginning of Ubuntu’s confidential computing capabilities across various public clouds and compute classes. We look forward to sharing more news about our expanding portfolio and learning about the novel ways you are leveraging confidential computing.  

More resources

Related posts

7 April 2023

Build the foundation for your zero trust strategy with Ubuntu confidential computing

Confidential computing Confidential computing

Why do we want to eliminate trust? Isn’t trust a good thing that we should foster and grow? And shouldn’t computing platforms trust their end-users, and vice versa? The short answer is no. And I would argue that the very goal of system security has always been to reduce trust.  For instance, because you do ...

21 March 2023

Canonical joins the confidential computing consortium

Confidential computing Confidential computing

We are happy to announce we have joined the confidential computing consortium, a project community at the Linux Foundation that is focused on accelerating the adoption of confidential computing and driving cross-industry collaboration around relevant open source software, standards and tools. ...

13 December 2022

What’s confidential, generally available, and open source? It’s Canonical Ubuntu 22.04 on Microsoft Azure!

Confidential computing Confidential computing

On behalf of all Canonical teams, I am happy to announce the general availability of Ubuntu 22.04 Confidential VMs (CVMs) on Microsoft Azure! They are part of the Microsoft Azure DCasv5/ECasv5 series that leverage the latest security extensions of the third generation of AMD CPUs, Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV- ...