Pre-virtualization: soft layering for virtual machines

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LeVasseur, Joshua; Uhlig, Volkmar; Yang, Yaowei; Chapman, Matthew; Chubb, Peter; Leslie, Ben; Heiser, Gernot

LeVasseur, Joshua; Uhlig, Volkmar; Yang, Yaowei; Chapman, Matthew; Chubb, Peter; Leslie, Ben; Heiser, Gernot


2008-08-04


Conference Material


IEEE Asia-Pacific Computer Systems Architecture Conference


Hsinchu, Taiwan


1-9


Despite its current popularity, para-virtualization has an enormous cost. Its deviation from the platform architecture abandons many of the benefits of traditional virtualization: stable and well-defined platform interfaces, hypervisor neu- trality, operating system neutrality, and upgrade neutral- ity—in sum, modularity. Additionally, para-virtualization has a significant engineering cost. These limitations are accepted as inevitable for significantly better performance, and for the ability to provide virtualization-like behavior on non-virtualizable hardware such as x86. Virtualization and its modularity solve many systems problems, and when combined with the performance of para-virtualization become even more compelling. We show how to achieve both together. We still modify the guest operating system, but according to a set of design princi- ples that avoids lock-in, which we call soft layering. Ad- ditionally, our approach is highly automated and thus re- duces the implementation and maintenance burden of para- virtualization, which is especially useful for enabling obso- leted operating systems. We demonstrate soft layering on x86 and Itanium: we can load a single Linux binary on a variety of hypervisors (and thus substitute virtual machine environments and their enhancements), while achieving es- sentially the same performance as para-virtualization with less effort.


Springer


Virtual machines


English


nicta:1064


LeVasseur, Joshua; Uhlig, Volkmar; Yang, Yaowei; Chapman, Matthew; Chubb, Peter; Leslie, Ben; Heiser, Gernot. Pre-virtualization: soft layering for virtual machines. In: Yeh-Ching Chung, John Morris Editor, editor/s. IEEE Asia-Pacific Computer Systems Architecture Conference; Hsinchu, Taiwan. Springer; 2008-08-04. 1-9.



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