Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Xen on ARM

Virtualization for the Automotive industry

During the last few months of 2011 the Xen Community started an effort to port Xen to ARMv7 with virtualization extensions, using the Cortex A15 processor as reference platform.

The new Xen port is exploiting this set of hardware capabilities to run guest VMs in the most efficient way possible while keeping the ARM specific changes to the hypervisor and the Linux kernel to a minimum. Developing the new port we took the chance to remove legacy concepts like PV or HVM guests and only support a single kind of guests that is comparable to "PVH" in the Xen X86 world.

Linux 3.7 was the first kernel release to run Xen on ARM as Dom0 and DomU. Xen 4.3, out in July 2013, is the first hypervisor release to support ARMv7 with virtualization extensions and ARMv8.

This talk will explain why ARM virtualization is set to be increasingly relevant for the automotive industry in the coming years. We will go on to describe how Xen exploits the strengths of the hardware to meet the requirements of the industry. We will illustrate the early design choices and we will evaluate whether they were proven successful or a failure.

The goals of the talk are to:

  • describe the Xen architecture
  • explain how Xen on ARM is different from Xen on x86
  • provide a status update of the project

  • explain what are the benefits of virtualization for the automotive industry

  • explain what Xen provides for this use case that other hypervisors do not


Stefano Stabellini