EmbeddedXEN is a particularly efficient virtualization framework tailored to ARM-based core embedded systems.
While security and OS isolation are key features of conventional virtualizuation frameworks, the main concerns for EmbeddedXEN are device heterogeneity and realtime aspects, which are particularly important in the embedded world.
EmbeddedXEN mainly relies on the original XEN architecture but with major differences in the way guest OS are handled: the hypervisor has been simplified, and only two guest OS (dom0 and domU) can run simultaneously; while dom0 is used to manage the native OS with drivers (original and backend splitted drivers), a paravirtualized OS (domU) can be cross-compiled on a different ARM device, and user applications can run seamlessly on the (virtualized) host device. Another important difference is that no user space tools are required to manage the VMs; the framework produces a compact single binary image containing both dom0 and domU guests, which can be easily deployed. The Xenbus architecture has been adapted to that context.
EmbeddedXEN therefore allows the porting of an OS and its applications from an ARM embedded device to last generation ARM hardware, such as HTC Smartphone for example.
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