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Embedded virtualization with KVM: Yes, it does make sense! - Hollis Blanchard


Hollis Blanchard has hacked on PowerPC, Linux, and virtualization for about a decade, on both servers and embedded systems. He works in IBM's Linux Technology Center, where he currently maintains KVM for embedded PowerPC. He loves Mercurial and Python, dislikes x86 architecture, hates Git, and runs penguinppc.org.


The KVM virtualization project is often considered only for desktop and server usage, but these are not its only strengths. Virtualization is the subject of intense interest from embedded system designers for a wide variety of reasons, including improvements in reliability and security, but also to reduce power consumption and even improve performance where processor time would otherwise go to waste. No software meets the disparate requirements of all embedded systems, but KVM in particular has many attributes that make it well-suited for deployment in the embedded industry.

I'll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of a "heavyweight" virtualization solution like KVM in embedded systems, including examples from my experience implementing KVM for embedded PowerPC processors.