Microsoft has been providing confidential computing capabilities for Azure for several years. The main benefit: To encrypt data while it's in use, which is especially important to customers in the finance, government, health care and communications verticals. To date, most, if not all of Microsoft's confidential computing work has centered around Intel hardware. But that's about to change.
On March 15, Microsoft announced it would be extending its confidential computing options in partnership with AMD -- the same day AMD took the wraps off its newest Epyc chip.
Microsoft announced today it would become the first major cloud maker to offer confidential virtual machines on the newly announced AMD Epyc 7003 series processors. Key to that work is the security feature called Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (SEV-SNP), which enables protection of VMs by creating a trusted execution environment and which will be "substantially enhanced" in the third-generation AMD Epyc processor, Microsoft's blog post says.
In other AMD Epyc news today, Microsoft also announced availability plans for AMD Epyc 7003-powered Azure virtual machines, which will be optimized for high-performance-computing (HPC) workloads.