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Microkernels meet recursive virtual machines

Microkernels meet recursive virtual machines,10.1145/248155.238769,Operating Systems Review,Bryan Ford,Mike Hibler,Jay Lepreau,Patrick Tullmann,Godmar

Microkernels meet recursive virtual machines   (Citations: 143)
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This paper describes a novel approach to providing mod- ular and extensible operating system functionality, and en- capsulated environments, based on a synthesis of micro- kernel and virtual machine concepts. We have developed a virtualizable architecturethat allows recursive virtual ma- chines (virtual machines running on other virtual machines) to be efficiently implemented, in software, by a microkernel running on generic hardware. A complete virtual machine interface is provided at each level; efficiency derives from needing to implement only new functionality at each level. This infrastructure allows common OS functionality, such as process management, demand paging, fault toler- ance, and debugging support, to be provided by cleanly modularized, independent, stackable virtual machine mon- itors, implemented as ordinary user processes. It can also provide uncommon or unique OS features, including the above features specialized for particular applications' needs, or virtual machines transparently distributed cross- node, or security monitors that allow arbitrary untrusted bi- naries to be safely executed. Our prototype implementation of this model indicates that it is practical to modularize op- erating systems this way: some types of virtual machine layers impose almost no overhead at all, while others im- pose some overhead (typically 10-20%), but only on cer- tain classes of applications.
Journal: Operating Systems Review - SIGOPS , vol. 30, no. SI, pp. 137-151, 1996
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