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Challenges in Virtualizing Real-Time Systems Using KVM/QEMU Solution

Manikandan Ramachandran, Infosys Technologies Limited

Real-time systems used in media space have to be highly reliable. Historically, product manufacturers provide high reliability solution by providing backup device that covers a primary device. The issue with this solution is that the end customers are forced to invest heavily on both installation and maintenance of backup devices that essentially doesn’t provide quantifiable value to their service. With the advent of hardware-assisted virtualization, and proprietary and open source hypervisor solution, many embedded communication devices started providing high availability solution on a single physical device. This concept saved precious resource for the end customers. KVM/QEMU is one such para-virtualization solution that exploits hardware virtualization feature.

Over past few years KVM/QEMU Virtualization solution is growing at a fast rate in enterprise server industry; however, on embedded space the penetration is low. This paper looks at various challenges an embedded architect would face in adapting KVM/QEMU solution.

The paper starts by providing various reasons for embedded system architects to look for virtualization solution. Then it lists how KVM/QEMU solution can address architects’ requirement. Further the paper provides a detailed description about various modules that are involved in KVM/QEMU virtualization solution and gives a brief overview about the interaction among these modules. The paper concludes by providing various efforts that were made to implement a high availability concept using KVM/QEMU virtualization solution.