CubicleOS: A Library OS with Software Componentisation for Practical Isolation
Library OSs have been proposed to deploy applications isolated inside containers, VMs, or trusted execution environments. They often follow a highly modular design in which third-party components are combined to offer the OS functionality needed by an application, and they are customised at compilation and deployment time to fit application requirements. Yet their monolithic design lacks isolation across components: when applications and OS components contain security-sensitive data (e.g., cryptographic keys or user data), the lack of isolation renders library OSs open to security breaches via malicious or vulnerable third-party components. We describe CubicleOS, a library OS that isolates components in the system while maintaining the simple, monolithic development approach of library composition. CubicleOS allows isolated components, called cubicles, to share data dynamically with other components. It provides spatial memory isolation at the granularity of function calls by using Intel MPK at user-level to isolate components. At the same time, it supports zero-copy data access across cubicles with feature-rich OS functionality. Our evaluation shows that CubicleOS introduces moderate end-to-end performance overheads in complex applications: 2x for the I/O-intensive NGINX web server with 8~partitions, and 1.7--8x for the SQLite database engine with 7 partitions.
International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS)
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