There is another Xen-based project in the field, called the Xen ARM Project, led by Samsung with newly added help from the Xen.org community. The stated goals of this group are to ensure that Xen ARM can support future ARM-based clients and servers, to merge ARM support into mainline Xen by 2012, and to incubate a diverse and sustainable community around ARM support for Xen.
The Xen ARM Project, led by Sang-bum Suh from Samsung, differs from the Citrix project in that it expands support beyond ARMv7 chips by including support for earlier chip versions (ARMv5 and ARMv6) without virtualization extensions. The project uses Xen Paravirtualization (PV) so that it can support a wider range of chips. The project is also working on other problems such as solving real-time guarantees in a virtualized environment as well as multiprocessor support.
Xen isn't the lone open source hypervisor technology being used in these ARM projects. There's also a group trying to port the open source kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) to the ARM architecture. The KVM for ARM implementation project is currently focused on KVM support for the virtualization extensions of the ARM Cortex-A15. However, the group has already made progress with a slightly modified Linux 2.6.27 and 2.6.29 kernel running KVM compiled for ARMv6 and ARMv7 chips. It is also working on additional performance optimizations, as well as adding support for multicore ARM chips.
While most of the ARM-based chips that enter the market are currently used in smartphones, tablets, and other low-powered, low-performance computing devices, ARM Holdings has other plans for growth. The company is ready to build out its ecosystem and to start expanding into the desktop, server, and HPC markets. In order to do that, virtualization is going to be a key requirement -- making projects like these all the more important.
This article, "Xen virtualization being ported to ARM chips," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.