The Xen on ARM effort has had a short, but impressive, history. In late 2011, Citrix seeded a Xen.org community project to port Xen to ARMv7 with virtualization extensions targeting the Cortex A15 as the reference platform. In 2012, the project scope was expanded to include the ARMv8 architecture. Linux 3.7 was the first kernel release to run on Xen on ARM as Dom0 and DomU. Very soon now (Q2 2013), Xen 4.3 will fully support several different ARM platforms, including Samsung Chromebooks, Versatile Express Cortex A15 and Arndale development boards.
In this talk, we will outline how virtualization enabled server consolidation and cloud computing, as well as innovative and secure solutions for both desktops and mobile devices. We will explain why Citrix saw the need for the project, and why it is highly relevant in today’s cloud-centric virtualization landscape. We will discuss the opportunities this has brought to the Xen ecosystem, and then peek into the future possibilities which Xen on ARM will enable. While Xen is best known as technology powering some of the biggest clouds in the industry, but could also be powering virtual machines on devices that fit in your pocket.
The talk will also include a brief overview of the Xen on ARM architecture, including the key design principles employed. The techniques pioneered during the ARM port will allow the Xen community to remove many legacy components from the Xen code base, streamlining both the ARM and x86 implementations. We will share some data on the challenges in porting Xen to new ARM boards. Due to full reliance on Device Tree and to the minimal hardware requirements of the hypervisor, ports to new boards require surprisingly little effort.
Finally, the talk will conclude by outlining the immediate roadmap for Xen on ARM.