Confidential VMs by Google Cloud: the Next Level of Cloud Computing

What is the future of cloud computing? According to Google, the future of this technology lies within “private, encrypted services that give users confidence that they are always in control over the confidentiality of their data”. That is why Google is launching Confidential VMs (Virtual Machines), currently in beta, which is the first product in Google Cloud’s Confidential Computing portfolio.

Confidential VMs by Google

The tech company is already utilizing various isolation and sandboxing techniques as part of their cloud infrastructure. Confidential VMs take this to the next level by offering memory encryption so that you can further isolate your workloads in the cloud.

Confidential VMs is based on the N2D family of VMs for Google Compute Engine. The technology provides processing for computational tasks, while enabling encryption for sensitive data in the could while this data is being processed.

The new technology is meant to help all customers protect sensitive data. However, it seems regulated industries will benefit more than any other, Google’s announcement says.

What are the benefits of Confidential Computing?

Confidential Computing is described as a breakthrough technology that allows you to encrypt data in use, while being processed, without compromising performance. Shortly said, the service enables confidential collaborations.

With the beta launch of Confidential VMs, Google becomes “the first major cloud provider to offer this level of security and isolation while giving customers a simple, easy-to-use option for newly built as well as “lift and shift” applications,” Google says.

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What does the approach of confidential computing bring to the table?

1.The promise of “breakthrough confidentiality”:

Confidential VMs leverage the Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) feature of 2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ CPUs. Your data will stay encrypted while it is used, indexed, queried, or trained on. Encryption keys are generated in hardware, per VM, and not exportable.

2.The promise of enhanced innovation:

Confidential Computing can unlock computing scenarios that have previously not been possible. Organizations will now be able to share confidential data sets and collaborate on research in the cloud, all while preserving confidentiality.

3.The promise of “Confidentiality for lift-and-shift workloads”:

Our goal is to make Confidential Computing easy. The transition to Confidential VMs is seamless—all GCP workloads you run in VMs today can run as a Confidential VM. One checkbox—it’s that simple, Google explains.

The innovative technology also promises protection against advanced threats. “Confidential Computing builds on the protections Shielded VMs offer against rootkit and bootkits, helping to ensure the integrity of the operating system you choose to run in your Confidential VM,” the announcement says.

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