operate one’s own computer! • But the world has bifurcated: ﬁt-for-purpose infrastructure for hyperscalers; rack-mounted personal computers for everyone else • Worse, the commercial server world is split between software-agnostic hardware and putatively hardware-agnostic software • Result is a cobbled-together system that the end-user is left to design, integrate, operate -- and support • Problems are up and down the stack; we need a new approach
root-of-trust, offering ﬁrmware attestation • We need a ﬁt-to-purpose BMC, with much less surface area • We need host ﬁrmware conﬁned to booting a host operating system • We need a true rack-scale design in which a top-of-rack switch is co-designed with compute and storage • We need this in a dense form factor that allows for efﬁcient operation!
hypervisor, control plane, storage, ToR + API endpoints for both operator and developer • But the era of proprietary infrastructure software is over: it must be fully open and attested! • Much of what needs to be built is software, albeit at very low levels (hardware root-of-trust, service processor, boot software, etc.)
is an outrageous amount to be done, with many different problems that need to be solved concurrently... • But on the other, the solution can be tightly tailored: co-designing hardware with software allows for elimination of false generalities • And there are several interesting hardware and software trends that make a solution more attainable than it has been historically…
to collaborate on a hardware root-of-trust, e.g. Microsoft Cerberus, Google/lowRISC OpenTitan • The open EDA movement has made FPGA design and implementation easier than ever, e.g. Yosys, Chisel, SpinalHDL, Bluespec • RISC-V has allowed for free soft cores -- and the end of Moore’s Law has meant that these cores are viable for sophisticated software • Open ﬁrmware is arriving (at long last!) and being encouraged by the Open Compute Project
source: many interesting production-grade components new in just the past few years! • And -- perhaps surprisingly -- there’s been a very important development in programming languages... • Rust may be the most important system software development in four decades: if C was portable assembly, Rust is safe C! • Small Rust-based systems like Tock show particular promise...
a computer company in Emeryville, California • Raised seed capital end of 2019, ramping team now (Feb. 2020) • Aiming for functional prototypes in 2021, customer systems in 2022 • We are looking for like minds and kindred spirits! • Learn more about Oxide at https://oxide.computer • Check out our podcast, On the Metal!