KVM for ARM

Proceedings of the 12th Annual Linux Symposium, Ottawa, Canada, July 13-16, 2010

Abstract

As ARM CPUs grow in performance and ubiquity across phones, netbooks, and embedded computers, providing virtualization support for ARM-based devices is increasingly important. We present KVM/ARM, a KVM-based virtualization solution for ARM-based devices that can run virtual machines with nearly unmodified operating systems. Because ARM is not virtualizable, KVM/ARM uses lightweight paravirtualization, a script-based method to automatically modify the source code of an operating system kernel to allow it to run in a virtual machine. Lightweight paravirtualization is architecture specific, but operating system independent. It is minimally intrusive, completely automated, and requires no knowledge or understanding of the guest operating system kernel code. By leveraging KVM, which is an intrinsic part of the Linux kernel, KVM/ARM’s code base can be always kept in line with new kernel releases without additional maintenance costs, and can be easily included in most Linux distributions. We have implemented a KVM/ARM prototype based on the Linux kernel used in Google Android, and demonstrated its ability to successfully run nearly unmodified Linux guest operating systems.

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ols2010:kvmarm

Columbia University Department of Computer Science