Quest-V: A Virtualized Multikernel for Safety-Critical Real-Time Systems

10/23/2013
by   Richard West, et al.
0

Modern processors are increasingly featuring multiple cores, as well as support for hardware virtualization. While these processors are common in desktop and server-class computing, they are less prevalent in embedded and real-time systems. However, smartphones and tablet PCs are starting to feature multicore processors with hardware virtualization. If the trend continues, it is possible that future real-time systems will feature more sophisticated processor architectures. Future automotive or avionics systems, for example, could replace complex networks of uniprocessors with consolidated services on a smaller number of multicore processors. Likewise, virtualization could be used to isolate services and increase the availability of a system even when failures occur. This paper investigates whether advances in modern processor technologies offer new opportunities to rethink the design of real-time operating systems. We describe some of the design principles behind Quest-V, which is being used as an exploratory vehicle for real-time system design on multicore processors with hardware virtualization capabilities. While not all embedded systems should assume such features, a case can be made that more robust, safety-critical systems can be built to use hardware virtualization without incurring significant overheads.

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