Several Xen developers who currently work for Citrix recently announced they are porting the Xen hypervisor to the ARM processor architecture. The group's work began less than three months ago, but the port is said to already be capable of booting a Linux 3.0-based virtual machine.
The Xen port announcement was made on the Linux Kernel Mailing List by Stefano Stabellini, a senior software engineer on the XenServer team at Citrix, who has been working on Xen technology since 2007. He's joined on the project by several other developers, including fellow Citrix employees Ian Campbell and Tim Deegan, whose history goes back to the early days of Xen with the University of Cambridge and XenSource.
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The development team said they wanted to find out how to best support ARM v7+ on Xen, and a few weeks ago they started hacking together a proof-of-concept hypervisor port to ARM's Cortex-A15 reference chip, which uses and requires the ARMv7 virtualization extensions.
In his announcement Stabellini wrote, "The port is based on xen-unstable (HG CS 8d6edc3d26d2) and written from scratch exploiting the latest virtualization, LPAE, GIC and generic timer support in hardware."
While still early in the process, Stabellini said the port is "capable of booting a Linux 3.0-based virtual machine (dom0) up to a shell prompt on an ARM Architecture Envelope Model, configured to emulate an A15-based Versatile Express."
Currently limited to the Cortex-A15, Stabellini says the plan is to support other machines and other chips that are compliant with the ARMv7 architecture and its virtualization extensions. The group is also looking ahead to 64-bit ARM chips, as well as adding support for the ARMv8 architecture, whose specifications were only recently announced a month ago. The group is also working on porting tools and being able to run multiple guests.
But this isn't the only project working on bringing open source virtualization to the ARM architecture.