Hardware Investigate

Reconstructing I/O

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Executive Summary

The authors present a next-generation architecture that addresses problems of dependability, maintainability, and manageability of I/O devices and their software drivers on the PC platform. The architecture resolves both hardware and software issues, exploiting emerging hardware features to improve device safety. The high-performance implementation, based on the Xen virtual machine monitor, provides an immediate transition opportunity for today's systems. Device drivers are one of the most troublesome aspects of commodity operating systems — a weakness that has received scant attention as the PC platform has evolved, driven by the overriding goal of affordable performance.

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