This page provides an overview of the interface Hafnium provides to VMs. Hafnium makes a distinction between the ‘primary VM’, which controls scheduling and has more direct access to some hardware, and ‘secondary VMs’ which exist mostly to provide services to the primary VM, and have a more paravirtualised interface. The intention is that the primary VM can run a mostly unmodified operating system (such as Linux) with the addition of a Hafnium driver which fulfils certain expectations, while secondary VMs will run more specialised trusted OSes or bare-metal code which is designed with Hafnium in mind.
The interface documented here is what is planned for the first release of Hafnium, not necessarily what is currently implemented.
The primary VM will have one vCPU for each physical CPU, and control the scheduling.
Secondary VMs will have a configurable number of vCPUs, scheduled on arbitrary physical CPUs at the whims of the primary VM scheduler.
All VMs will start with a single active vCPU. Subsequent vCPUs can be started through PSCI.
The primary VM will be able to control the physical CPUs through the following PSCI 1.1 calls, which will be forwarded to the underlying implementation in EL3:
All other PSCI calls are unsupported.
Secondary VMs will be able to control their vCPUs through the following PSCI 1.1 calls, which will be implemented by Hafnium:
All other PSCI calls are unsupported.
The primary VM will have access to both the physical and virtual EL1 timers through the usual control registers (
Secondary VMs will have access to the virtual timer only, which will be emulated with help from the kernel driver in the primary VM.
The primary VM will have direct access to control the physical GIC, and receive all interrupts (other than anything already trapped by TrustZone). It will be responsible for forwarding any necessary interrupts to secondary VMs. The Interrupt Translation Service (ITS) will be disabled by Hafnium so that it cannot be used to circumvent access controls.
Secondary VMs will have access to a simple paravirtualized interrupt controller through two hypercalls: one to enable or disable a given virtual interrupt ID, and one to get and acknowledge the next pending interrupt. There is no concept of interrupt priorities or a distinction between edge and level triggered interrupts. Secondary VMs may also inject interrupts into their own vCPUs.
VMs will be blocked from accessing performance counter registers (for the performance monitor extensions described in chapter D5 of the Armv8-A reference manual) in production, to prevent them from being used as a side channel to leak data between VMs.
Hafnium may allow VMs to use them in debug builds.
VMs will be blocked from accessing debug registers in production builds, to prevent them from being used to circumvent access controls.
Hafnium may allow VMs to use these registers in debug builds.
Secondary VMs will be blocked from using registers associated with the RAS Extension.
VMs will be able to send messages of up to 4 KiB to each other asynchronously, with no queueing, as specified by SPCI.
VMs will statically be given access to mutually-exclusive regions of the physical address space at boot. This includes MMIO space for controlling devices, plus a fixed amount of RAM for secondaries, and all remaining address space to the primary. Note that this means that only one VM can control any given page of MMIO registers for a device.
VMs may choose to donate or share their memory with other VMs at runtime. Any given page may be shared with at most 2 VMs at once (including the original owning VM). Memory which has been donated or shared may not be forcefully reclaimed, but the VM with which it was shared may choose to return it.
VMs will be blocked from using cache maintenance instructions that operate by set/way. These operations are difficult to virtualize, and could expose the system to side-channel attacks.
VMs may send a character to a shared log by means of a hypercall or SMC call. These log messages will be buffered per VM to make complete lines, then output to a Hafnium-owned UART and saved in a shared ring buffer which may be extracted from RAM dumps. VM IDs will be prepended to these logs.
This log API is intended for use in early bringup and low-level debugging. No sensitive data should be logged through it. Higher level logs can be sent to the primary VM through the asynchronous message passing mechanism described above, or through shared memory.
Hafnium will read configuration from a flattened device tree blob (FDT). This may either be the same device tree used for the other details of the system or a separate minimal one just for Hafnium. This will include at least:
If a secondary VM tries to do something it shouldn't, Hafnium will either inject a fault or kill it and inform the primary VM. The primary VM may choose to restart the system or to continue without the secondary VM.
If the primary VM tries to do something it shouldn't, Hafnium will either inject a fault or restart the system.
The primary VM will be able to communicate with a TEE running in TrustZone either through SPCI messages or through whitelisted SMC calls, and through shared memory.
Other than the PSCI calls described above and those used to communicate with Hafnium, all other SMC calls will be blocked by default. Hafnium will allow SMC calls to be whitelisted on a per-VM, per-function ID basis, as part of the static configuration described above. These whitelisted SMC calls will be forwarded to the EL3 handler with the client ID (as described by the SMCCC) set to the calling VM's ID.