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MagiXen: Combining Binary Translation and Virtualization

Chapman, Matthew; Magenheimer, Daniel J.; Ranganathan, Parthasarathy


Keyword(s): virtualization; dynamic binary translation; hypervisor; Xen Itanium; virtual appliances; virtual machine monitors

Abstract: Virtualization is emerging as an important technology in future systems, providing an extra layer of abstraction between the hardware and operating system. Previous work on virtualization has focused on the partitioning, isolation, and encapsulation features of virtual machines and their use for different applications, but mainly in the context of a specific processor architecture. In this paper, we argue for integrating an interface transformation layer to virtualization, specifically combining virtualization with a dynamic binary translator. This feature significantly increases the benefits from current applications of virtualization (e.g., for server consolidation and resource provisioning) while potentially enabling additional new uses of virtualization matched with emerging trends (e.g., virtual appliances and heterogeneous hardware). We have built MagiXen - pronounced “magician” - a prototype implementation of a Xen virtual machine monitor with integrated binary translation that can run IA-32 virtual machines on Itanium platforms. We present performance results for several typical benchmarks and discuss insights from our experiences with building the prototype.

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