Analysis of the ARM Architecture's Ability to Support a Virtual Machine Monitor through a Simple Implementation

Akihiro Suzuki, Shuichi Oikawa


Since embedded systems are used for various purposes at a variety of places, their security, reliability, and availability are important concerns. Virtualization technology has been used for a long time in order to improve the security of systems, and the other advanced features recently become available also to improve the reliability and/or availability. In order to apply virtualization technology to systems, the detailed analysis of target processor architectures is required. Although such analysis was performed for x86 architecture, it is not available for the ARM architecture, which is the most widely used processor architecture for embedded systems. This paper focuses on such analysis of the ARM processor architecture. We also present the implementation details of a virtual machine monitor (VMM) based on the analysis. We implemented a VMM, called SIVARM, for the ARM architecture to perform and verify the analysis of its ability to support a VMM. We successfully booted Linux on SIVARM and performed the evaluation by executing several benchmark programs on the ARM 1136JF-S processor. It verifies the analysis of the sensitive instructions and also enables the analysis of the performance impact of the virtualization.


Virtual Machine Monitor; ARM Processor Architecture

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