Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Virtualization in Android based and embedded systems

Can you run Xen on your phone or car?

Embedded systems are becoming powerful enough that virtualization is now both possible and interesting. Xen, as a very tiny microkernel based hypervisor looks like a very good fit for the embedded environment, not to mention that it has been ported to ARM with the number of supported boards in constant increase.

This talk will outline the major strengths of the Xen architecture, when it comes to use Xen on embedded systems. It will also identify and discuss the areas where there is still room for improvement. It will go through preliminary experimental results on assessing some of the typical real-time requirements (such as responsiveness and predictability), for the benefit of everyone out there that would like to build its embedded product on top of Xen.

On the concrete side, we will show how to setup an 'Andorid on Xen' environment, which results from a fruitful collaboration between the Xen community and other interested parties from the Android community. We think this could be very useful as an example for anyone interested in working with us, with the aim of being successful in the embedded virtualization product space.

Full description: The goal of this talk is twofold: - provide a general enough view of the Xen architecture, focusing on

why it could be particularly well suited for the embedded
virtualization usecases
  • show how the Xen community is tackling this new challenge, trying to involve all the (potentially) interesting parties and reaching the highest possible levels of cross-project collaboration

Outline: * Embedded virtualization: some typical usecases * The xen architecture, and why it fits so well there

 * it's tiny: small memory footprint, easier to certify
 * it's extensible: pluggable scheduling architecture
 * it's flexible: different Dom0s, driver domains
  • Areas of further improvements:
    • new hard real-time schedulers
    • more determinism within the driver model
  • Some benchmarks on how Xen behaves in low latency workloads
  • Already ongoing projects/effort:
    • Xen on tablets, cars, industrial CNCs, ...
  • Bootstrapping a (sub)community
    • getting in touch with all the interested parties
    • keeping in touch with them
    • handling feedback, coordinate collaboration
    • concrete example: setup a Android on Xen environment


Dario Faggioli