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Linux-friendly hypervisor targets multicore ARM

Oct 4, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Trango is demonstrating its virtual processor technology running on multicore ARM11 processors, this week at ARM's developer conference in Santa Clara. The Trango Hypervisor will ship for ARM11 MPCore multiprocessors early next year, followed in Q2 2008 by support for ARM's new multiprocessor-enabled Cortex A9… processors, Trango says.

According to Trango, hypervisor technology can be used by semiconductor vendors as well as device manufacturers. Suggested target markets include wireless, networking, and entertainment. The company's hypervisor is provided with an Eclipse-based SDK (software development kit).

Trango says its hypervisor will support up to 256 virtual processors per core, when run on ARM11 processors. Just imagine the possibilities, if Trango were to port the technology to Tile-64 64-core SoCs (system-on-chip processors).

Touted benefits include improved load balancing, “OS fallback redundancy” for high availability, power reductions, more efficient resource utilization, reduced parts costs, improved security, and “cleanly separated” proprietary code and GPL code (see paper). The diagram below illustrates a use case where Linux runs in SMP mode atop a virtualized multicore system on which unneeded cores can be powered down to conserve energy.


“Dynamic scaling” of virtual machines and core power
(Click to enlarge)

Trango has committed to adding support for ARM's new multicore extensions to the ARMv7 instruction set, which should enable the use of the technology with ARM's newly announced Cortex-A9. In a statement released by Trango, John Goodacre, program manager of multiprocessing at ARM, commented, “The Cortex-A9 MPCore multicore processor is our first processor to implement support for enhanced paravirtualization that is coupled with ARM TrustZone security technology and embodied in the recently announced ARMv7 architecture extensions. We are pleased to work closely with embedded virtualization leaders such as Trango.”

Trango CTO Fabrice Devaux added, “With the Trango Hypervisor, it is possible to use a single-core device as a programming platform that functions as a multi-core, but does so by using virtual processors. Consequently, the migration to a true multi-core device and associated programming model is very straightforward.”

Availability

The Trango Hypervisor is available now for ARMv5- and ARMv6-based single-core implementations. A version for ARM11 MPCore processors will ship in Q1 of 2008, followed in Q2 by a version supporting the Cortex A9, Trango said.


 
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