Mill Computing, Inc. Forums The Mill Architecture Grab bag of questions Reply To: Grab bag of questions

Ivan Godard
Keymaster
Post count: 656

Yes, we’ve thought about hardware valgrind. So far we have nothing that is convincingly useful, cheap, and safe. Most runtime analysis opens exfiltration attack surfaces – what should happen if the app being monitored calls a function to check a password? The cache history can be revealing!

On a legacy ISA you can hide things with security implications behind a process barrier, and monitor per-process. Of course that means you have a process switch, a trip through the OS, and a reschedule just to verify a password. On a Mill you can change protection environment (turf) without a process switch and no more cost than an ordinary call.

We looked at having monitoring be per-turf. However, that causes a ton of state switch at turf change, when we want it to be cheap and quick. And you rarely want to monitor everything done by a turf in all contexts: probably only while in this thread and that function and after the other counter has exhausted. That kind of thing means software in the monitoring predicate, which implies trap/predicate/update sequences, which is difficult in a wide machine and will almost certainly screw up some of the data to be collected (the predicate code will alter the cache contents, for example).

Bottom line: yes, there is some potential for such a thing, and we have looked at it, and our looking has shown that it is a more complex problem than it might appear. So we have punted it to later.