Virtualization

Safe Hardware Access With the Xen Virtual Machine Monitor

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Executive Summary

The Xen virtual machine monitor allows multiple operating systems to execute concurrently on commodity x86 hardware, providing a solution for server consolidation and utility computing. In the initial design, Xen itself contained device-driver code and provided safe shared virtual device access. In this paper the authors present the new Safe Hardware Interface, an isolation architecture used within the latest release of Xen which allows unmodified device drivers to be shared across isolated operating system instances, while protecting individual OSs, and the system as a whole, from driver failure.

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