2019 OCP Global Summit:
Case Study: Alternatives for SMM usage in Intel Platforms
Sarathy Jayakumar, Principal Engineer – Firmware, Intel Corporation
The broadcast System Management Mode (SMM) model has been used for many years to manage priority system events but has a number of disadvantages. Overuse of System Management Interrupts (SMI) results in performance degradation, increases latency with higher core counts, and introduces potential race conditions. SMM is also difficult to debug and has access to system resources outside of the OS environment, which makes it target for firmware exploits. This session expands on Intel’s initiative to reduce SMM footprint and provide alternatives for handling runtime platform events. Intel described SMI reduction methods based on Protected Runtime Mechanism (PRM), UEFI Capsule, and the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) at the 2018 OCP Regional Summit. The presentation features a case study and demonstration using Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors with EDK II firmware.