Analysis and Improvement of Heterogeneous Hardware Support in Docker Images

05/06/2021 ∙ by Panagiotis Gkikopoulos, et al. ∙ 0

Docker images are used to distribute and deploy cloud-native applications in containerised form. A container engine runs them with separated privileges according to namespaces. Recent studies have investigated security vulnerabilities and runtime characteristics of Docker images. In contrast, little is known about the extent of hardware-dependent features in them such as processor-specific trusted execution environments, graphics acceleration or extension boards. This problem can be generalised to missing knowledge about the extent of any hardware-bound instructions within the images that may require elevated privileges. We first conduct a systematic one-year evolution analysis of a sample of Docker images concerning their use of hardware-specific features. To improve the state of technology, we contribute novel tools to manage such images. Our heuristic hardware dependency detector and a hardware-aware Docker executor give early warnings upon missing dependencies instead of leading to silent or untimely failures. Our dataset and tools are released to the research community.

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