A Virtualization Approach for MIPS-based MPSoCs

Alexandra Aguiar,  Carlos Moratelli,  Marcos Sartori,  Fabiano Hessel


Recently, virtualization techniques has been investigated as an interesting approach for complex embedded systems designs since they allow more secure systems, improve software design quality and reduce costs. However, the need to meet design constraints, mainly the real-time constraints, constitutes one of the biggest challenges that may prevent the wide adoption of virtualization in embedded systems. Industry designers and researchers believe that the use of hardware support to virtualization is a possible way of improving the system's performance and meeting its real-time constraints. In this paper we present our virtualization-aware architecture intended for MIPS processors with support to real-time applications. In our proposed approach no changes are needed in the Guest OS since we implement a full virtualization scheme. Real-time constraints are achieved by mixing the full virtualization technique with hardware support along with bare-metal application usage. Details of our virtualization platform

are presented and discussed in the paper. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach considering the hardware impact in terms of area, the software performance overhead, and the operating system port to allow its execution in a virtualized environment.