The first year of the Confidential Computing Consortium is coming to a close and it is an important time to reflect on what we’ve done and where we’re going as we look ahead to our next year.
I want to start from the perspective of ‘why’ the Consortium. Companies create non-profits like the Consortium in the broad open source space because our businesses benefit from that membership. We launched the Consortium with 15 premier and general members and have since grown to 27 company members and 2 non-profit members.
|Oasis Labs||Oracle||R3||Red Hat||Swisscom|
Bold indicates a premier member. Our non-profit members are: iotex.io, MIT
For all of our corporate members:
- Confidential computing directly (or indirectly) benefits our company stories to customers.
- Directly supporting/servicing the growth of well-formed OSI-licensed projects that create hardware TEE based solutions can provide building blocks for products and services to customers as part of our product portfolios.
- Directly funding/participating in collateral development that educates the marketplace and creates a community within the industry provides a consistent baseline in the market on which to build our individual customer-facing messages.
- Directly engaging in the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) discussions provides a collaborative space to debate and test engineering-focused discussions relating to confidential computing and accelerates innovation in the domain.
- The Consortium provides a shared cost structure and participation structure for the members supporting projects and building educational collateral.
- Being a member creates a direct association of the company brand with the technology space through the Consortium brand.
- ‘Hallway discussions’ around the main business of the Consortium create and strengthen business relationships and opportunities.
The primary working committees of the Consortium are the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) and the Outreach Committee. They have each (and together) accomplished a lot in these first ten months getting to know each other as members and working towards those common objectives. (Some of this has been particularly challenging as the last five months have been in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The TAC has:
- Accepted the first three open source projects under the Consortium umbrella in Oct 2019 (enarx, the Open Enclave SDK, and the SGX SDK for Linux).
- Agreed on a confidential computing definition, the scoping of the consortium mission, and scoping of TEE to the definition.
- Continued to improve and evolve the project acceptance criteria and services work.
- Accepted three new projects through the Spring 2020 (Graphene, the Trusted Compute Framework, and Keystone… ).
- Developed an introductory whitepaper on Confidential Computing with the Outreach Committee.
- Developed content then participated in analyst and press briefings (e.g., Gartner, Forrester, IEEE, Fortune)
- Developed and evolved work processes and templates (e.g., project submission) to accomplish the mission.
- The TAC chair has engaged and coordinated with outside organizations (e.g., homomorphicencryption.org, IETF).
The Outreach Committee has:
- Developed the confidential computing messaging framework in coordination with TAC.
- Organized and ran the press and analyst briefings (e.g., Gartner, Forrester, IEEE, Fortune)
- Developed the current white paper with TAC.
- Begun the long process of web site improvements.
- Organized and ran our booth presence at the Linux Foundation Open Source Summit in Lyon (October 2019), and at the Linux Foundation Open Source Summit North America virtual event.
- Begun planning for a conference for Spring 2021 for 300-500 participants, (and a test virtual event this Fall).
- Begun tracking interest in the Consortium with the launch of the Confidential Computing whitepaper.
I would very much like to thank all of the participating members. A truism about successful open source project communities is the need for people in the community to be willing to chop wood and carry water. The ‘community’ isn’t some magic workforce, but rather a group of individuals doing the work together towards shared goals. This is just as true when you build a non-profit as an umbrella organization for such OSI-licensed projects.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our Linux Foundation program manager, Stephano Cetola, who helps us navigate the Linux Foundation services we use, and keeps clearing the to-do lists we collectively put in front of him, as well as Scott Nicolas from the Linux Foundation who helped us with the initial heavy lift of starting the Consortium and continues to get dragged into the occasional discussion about all things charter related. A special thanks also to Omkhar Arasaratnam and Morgan Akers from JP Morgan Chase who have been active participants in TAC discussions and have shown us the need to build an end user advisory committee this coming year.
We have a number of exciting projects to begin our second year with the TAC working on an in-depth technical report, the Outreach Committee exploring a Fall virtual event, and beginning work on the End User Advisory Committee. All this along with our regular work supporting the open source projects under our umbrella. I’m looking forward to it, and hope the membership is as excited as I am.