Virtualization on ARM Processors

I’ve been using virtualization on my notebook and in the cloud for many years now on a daily basis and as all of it has so far been on x86 based platforms so I was a bit surprised when I read about Virtualization on ARM last year in this Ericsson research paper. On second thought I should not have been, though, as virtualization is obviously a generic concept not tied to a specific processor architecture.

It’s taken a while but I finally had a bit of time to follow up on the topic recently. So far, ARM is mostly perceived as a power efficient processor architecture for mobile devices. Over the years, ARM processing power has steadily developed and while in the past, ARM based sub-notebooks and other non-classic mobile devices did not have the power to really compete with x86 based notebooks this might change in the not too distant future. I’d quite like that as some competition for x86 would surely be a healthy. To find out more how the Linux kernel and KVM have been extended to support virtualization (both as a host and a guest OS) on ARM, have a look at this interesting article on lwn.net from back in 2016. And for some more background information in how virtualization ties into the telco domain, a.k.a. Network Function Virtualization, have a look at my NFV primer post from back in 2014.

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