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KVM for ARM

Christoffer Dall (cdall@cs.columbia.edu)

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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