Google's Meltdown and Spectre patch isn't slowing cloud systems

An Update on AMD Processor Security | AMD

The second Variant, which again is part of Spectre, proved much more hard to patch, as Google was specifically trying to avoid a hit to performance. He concludes the update by remarking that AMD will continue to work with the rest of the technology industry to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre. The systems affected are running Broadwell and Haswell processors. And thanks to the efforts of hundreds of engineers, no one has apparently noticed because the fixes haven't slowed down or degraded popular services like Google search, Google Drive, and Gmail.

By December, the company was done rolling our protections against all three variants. It also maintained that Meltdown isn't applicable to AMD chips at all.

Intel notes that performance for "web applications that involve complex JavaScript operations may see a somewhat higher impact (up to 10 percent based on our initial measurements)" while "graphics-intensive [workloads] like gaming or compute-intensive like financial analysis see minimal impact".

That solution caused "no perceptible impact in our cloud and required no customer downtime", Google states.

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"With Retpoline, we could protect our infrastructure at compile-time, with no source-code modifications", reads an excerpt from a January 11th, 2018 Google blog post. "Furthermore, testing this feature, particularly when combined with optimisations such as software branch prediction hints, demonstrated that this protection came with nearly no performance loss".

Earlier today, Intel announced it discovered some performance hits after implementing its own mitigation solutions at the chip level. Google says that in testing Reptoline, it found that it was able to patch against Spectre Variant 2 with "almost no performance loss".

Given the difficulty of solving it, Google's Project Zero security team made a rare exception to its 90-day disclosure policy, which gives vendors and companies 90 days to solve the problem before it releases details of a vulnerability to the public. Intel's stock has taken a big hit since the announcement, in spite of the fact these issues affect nearly all modern chips.

However, the new statement released yesterday from AMD senior vice president and CTO Mark Papermaster admitted that both Spectre vulnerabilities affect its chips, including the branch target injection variant.

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