Virtualization

TwinDrivers: Semi-Automatic Derivation of Fast and Safe Hypervisor Network Drivers From Guest OS Drivers

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Executive Summary

In a virtualized environment, device drivers are often run inside a Virtual Machine (VM) rather than in the hypervisor, for reasons of safety and reduction in software engineering effort. Unfortunately, this approach results in poor performance for I/O-intensive devices such as network cards. The alternative approach of running device drivers directly in the hypervisor yields better performance, but results in the loss of safety guarantees for the hypervisor and incurs additional software engineering costs. In this paper, the authors present TwinDrivers, a framework which allows one to semi-automatically create safe and efficient hypervisor drivers from guest OS drivers. The hypervisor driver runs directly in the hypervisor, but its data resides completely in the driver VM address space.

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