BlueVisor: Time-Predictable Hardware Hypervisor for Many-core Embedded Systems

Ian Gray, Neil Cameron Audsley, Ran Wei, Pan Dong, Zhe Jiang, Yan Zhuang

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Whilst virtualization was once restricted to large-scale computing platforms, and it is now widely deployed on modern embedded computing systems. This has been driven by the availability of hardware support which alleviates the performance penalties incurred by traditional software virtualization technologies. In the domain of hard real-time systems, specialist virtualization technology which respects restricted timing requirements and constraints can be deployed to allow sharing of processors. However, other aspects of the embedded system (I/O, memory, and communication) are harder to analyse. In this paper, we argue that in order to support real-time virtualization on modern embedded systems, additional system-wide hardware support is required. We propose BlueVisor, an analyzable and scalable hardware hypervisor for many-core embedded systems, which enables time-predictable CPU, memory, and I/O virtualization, as well as supporting a fast interrupt handler, and inter-VM communication. We describe the design and implementation of the real-time hypervisor and demonstrate how a BlueVisor-based virtualization system can be leveraged to meet real-time requirements with significant improvement in system performance, and with a low-performance cost when executing different types of software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2205-2218
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2021

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