Managing the coming explosion of embedded multicore virtualization
Markus Levy, Multicore Association, Surender Kumar, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Rajan Goyal, Cavium Networks
EETimes (4/18/2012 10:29 PM EDT)
Virtualization has been a staple of the server world for years. The very promise of a general computing platform that can do many different things for many different users all at the same time creates the need for managing how thats done, and virtualization has taken on that role.
The embedded world, on the other hand, for the most part, hasnt required virtualization. This is largely because embedded devices are, almost by definition, not general-purpose platforms. Their tasks could be hand-crafted at the lowest levels. But as the complexity and range of embedded systems have grown, now including applications such as networking equipment and smart phones, the need for some form of virtualization technology is becoming more evident.
As with most technologies, the embedded embodiment of virtualization is more complex than its server cousin for the very reason that embedded technology tends to involve more work: the number of variations and combinations and permutations of features and functions can easily spin out of control, making it hard for architects and designers to find their way around the space.
Furthermore, the rapid proliferation of multicore devices has created an increased applicability of virtualization technology. For that reason, the Multicore Association has convened a Virtualization Working Group. Participation from a wide variety of embedded players will help establish standards that will address the gamut of needs from the diverse embedded community.
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