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Hypervisor supports Atom, 64-bit guest OSes

Mar 4, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

LynuxWorks announced a new version of its Linux-compatible separation kernel and hypervisor. LynxSecure 5.0 now offers increased performance, support for 64-bit and symmetric multi-processing (SMP) guest OS virtualization, plus compatibility with Intel's Atom E6xx processors and “second generation” Core CPUs, the company says.

Embedded and security software specialist LynuxWorks says version 5.0 of its LynxSecure separation kernel and hypervisor has increased performance for fully virtualized guest operating systems by "utilizing new hardware technologies." It now also offers 64-bit and symmetric multi-processing (SMP) guest OS virtualization support, the company adds.

LynxSecure 5.0
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LynuxWorks says LynxSecure 5.0 has gained a device-sharing facility for systems with limited physical devices, complementing the existing direct device assignment mechanism that has been available in previous versions of LynxSecure. It's said a new secure device virtualization mechanism, managed from a secure partition on LynxSecure, permits some physical devices to be virtualized and shared between guest OSes.

Using LynxSecure's policy-driven, inter-partition communication mechanism, the performance and security of the shared devices such as network, USB, HDD and graphics are optimized, the company claims. This can bring the benefits of security and virtualization to resource-limited client systems, such as laptop PCs or embedded devices, LynuxWorks says.

According to LynuxWorks, a fully virtualized OS runs in a secure enclave on LynxSecure without any changes required to either the OS or the applications. By utilizing new processor technologies like the second-generation Intel Core processors, along with Intel hardware functions such as Extended Page Tables (EPT), Page Attribute Table (PAT) and Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), the hypervisor allows applications to execute within a few percentage points of running natively.

Another feature added to LynxSecure 5.0 is the ability to run 64-bit fully virtualized guest OSes with SMP enabled. This now means that 64-bit OSes such as Linux, Windows 7, and Solaris OSes can run across multiple cores, says LynuxWorks.

LynuxWorks further says that LynxSecure 5.0 is the first version of its hypervisor to have been ported to Intel's Atom processors. Both single- and dual-core versions of the E6xx are supported, according to the company.

LynxSecure architecture
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Arun Subbarao, vice president of engineering at LynuxWorks, stated, "The Intel Core processors provide a perfect blend of performance and security features that have allowed us to do some exciting things with LynxSecure 5.0 that were not possible before. For example, LynxSecure 5.0 can now fully virtualize Windows 7 (64 bit) SMP, Windows XP (32 bit) SMP, and Solaris 10 TX (64 bit) SMP OSes in secure and isolated partitions."

Subbarao said this further blurs the line between embedded and enterprise computing and makes combinations from both worlds entirely possible. "For instance, a virtual appliance could be embedded into a desktop computer to provide maximum security with a minimum overhead," he added. "We are just beginning to imagine the possibilities of utilizing virtualization in a secure manner."

LynxSecure 5.0 comes with the latest version of the Luminosity integrated development environment (IDE). The Luminosity 4.7 IDE for LynxSecure 5.0 offers development, debug and analysis tools integrated into an Eclipse-based framework. Luminosity can then download and boot LynxSecure 5.0 and its guest operating systems and then debug applications running on the subjects.

Further information

According to LynuxWorks, LynxSecure 5.0 is available now, though pricing was not provided. Further information may be found on the LynxSecure 5.0 product page.

Nathan Eddy is a writer for eWEEK.

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