Xen Project’s MirageOS Expands its Ecosystem in Latest Release

Innovative unikernel open source project increases commercial use cases and improves ease of use with contributions from Docker, IBM, Citrix and more

SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, 2016 – The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the release of MirageOS v3.0. The new version includes support and tooling that allows MirageOS unikernels to target additional hypervisors such as KVM and FreeBSD’s bhyve. MirageOS 3.0 also provides building blocks that can be used within traditional applications for advanced features and capabilities like out-of-the-box VPN support in native applications.

The current generation of cloud computing requires workloads that are efficient, fast and secure. Unikernels allow developers to include only the bare minimum of traditional operating system components to create lean, efficient, and fast-to-boot applications, whether they are working with microservices, embedded devices, or IoT. The open source MirageOS ecosystem now consists of hundreds of these systems building blocks that can be combined with application code into single-purpose unikernels or be used as components.

"Interest in unikernels continues to grow, and with the release of MirageOS v3.0, including the contribution of KVM support from IBM research, developers can enjoy an expanded set of target platforms. With MirageOS in widespread usage as a key component of Docker for Mac and Windows, and Docker Inc’s ongoing support of the project, the MirageOS ecosystem looks well placed for a strong future." – Fintan Ryan, industry analyst at RedMonk

New Targets for MirageOS: Expanding its Ecosystem

MirageOS v3.0 adds new targets for virtio and ukvm via the Solo5 unikernel base contributed by IBM. The virtio target allows deployment of unikernels onto KVM/QEMU and FreeBSD’s bhyve. The new ukvm target extends the unikernel philosophy of modularity and “only what is required” to the next layer down, creating a monitor with thinner interfaces that are specialised to the guest unikernel.

"Unikernels are emerging in response to needs for an ever-more responsive and secure cloud. This technology has the potential to influence cloud applications, serverless computing, network function virtualization, and Internet of Things, making these platforms more efficient and secure. IBM Research is excited to be part of the MirageOS 3.0 release. Through contributions like the Solo5 unikernel base and 'ukvm', we are helping lay the foundation for new ways of using the cloud in the cognitive era." – Giovanni Pacifici, Vice President of Cloud and Cognitive Platform at IBM Research

Real world deployments of MirageOS

A number of use cases that illustrate the versatility and the high-growth potential of MirageOS have emerged since its inception in December 2013, including:

  • Docker for Mac and Windows used MirageOS to provide the filesystem and networking translation layers between OSX, Windows and Linux, allowing for a more seamless user experience on the most popular operating systems.

  • "Using MirageOS libraries as building blocks helped us accelerate development on Docker for Mac and Windows. By using the MirageOS TCP/IP stack, we enabled a critical feature for customers on enterprise networks — that Docker for Mac can be used even when connected to restrictive corporate VPNs. We're excited that users now have an integrated environment for building, assembling and shipping applications from Mac or Windows.” - Patrick Chanezon, Chief Developer Advocate at Docker

  • Ericsson Research in Silicon Valley have demonstrated a new standalone software platform concept to unify automation, orchestration and the compilation of a designated set of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platforms. These platforms do not rely on current cloud orchestration or software-defined network technologies, but instead introduce the concept of ‘nanoservices’ that are orchestrated by MirageOS unikernels and Xen.

  • By applying unikernel technology to the NFV space, Ericsson Research demonstrated a set of specialized highly secure and stable ‘nano-NFVs’ that can easily be streamed into its next-gen cloud with better performance and security than existing NFVs.

    “Applying Unikernel technology and MirageOS offered Ericsson Research a new way of innovating, designing and implementing a new event-driven framework that we used for a technical PoC. We are looking forward to applying the new features of MirageOS 3.0 to further explore possibilities for optimizing our prototype.” – Per Karlsson, Head of Ericsson Research Silicon Valley

Improvement to User Experience and General Growth

Contributions to the project have vastly grown creating a more stable base of libraries and tooling. User experience has improved in many different areas including the build, packaging and release process, debugging and logging, workflow to simplify the development phase, and documentation. A full list of user experience improvements is recorded in the MirageOS blog.

Since its last major release in June 2014, the project has received an uptick in interest and contributions from research groups and now has over 350 contributors across hundreds of repositories. This includes Mindy Preston, the current release manager, who first came to the project as a Xen Project Outreachy intern. Outreachy is an organization that helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open source software get involved.

“Having a healthy open source community is essential in the growth and vitality of incubation projects that the Xen Project fosters. MirageOS has done a great job of activating its community to create more tooling and use cases for this project and unikernels in general. We look forward to seeing this project continue to mature and expand as we believe that unikernels are the next wave of instrumenting applications for the current and future needs of cloud computing.” – Lars Kurth, Chairperson of the Xen Project Advisory Board

For more information about MirageOS and to participate, please visit mirage.io. In addition, please find the following links for:

About MirageOS

MirageOS is an open source project led by Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy of the Systems Research Group at the University of Cambridge. Additional contributors include developers from Citrix, Docker, IBM, the FreeBSD Core Team, Galois, Jane Street, OCamlPro, and a growing number of individual contributors. Institutional and grant support for MirageOS comes from OCaml Labs, Horizon Digital Economy Research, the User Centric Networking, Networks as a Service, Contrive, and Databox projects, as well as Jane Street. MirageOS is an incubation project of the Xen Project, which provides basic infrastructure and marketing support to help a project to progress. For more information about MirageOS and to participate, please visit mirage.io.

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Rackspace. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project
208-290-4853
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Xen Project Welcomes Qualcomm to its Advisory Board

A world leader in next-generation wireless technologies joins open source project to accelerate ARM-server and hyperscale cloud development

SAN FRANCISCO, December 19, 2016 - The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced that Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is a new Advisory Board member. Qualcomm Technologies actively contributes to the Xen Project hypervisor and is increasing its support for the foundational open source technologies that enable hyperscale cloud computing.

The Xen Project hypervisor is often first-to-market in offering support for the latest features in ARM and is heavily committed to pushing its technology forward with ARM-based servers. Xen Project virtualization has a lean architecture that is perfectly suited to ARM architecture-based solutions for data center applications, energy-efficient cloud operations as well as embedded applications.

"Qualcomm Technologies is committed to supporting many open source communities that power the foundation of hyperscale cloud computing, including Xen Project," said Elsie Wahlig, director of product management, Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies. "As an advisory board member and through our code contributions, we are working to continue to make the Xen Project hypervisor a first-class hypervisor for the ARM architecture."

Qualcomm Technologies is one of the top 10 contributors to the Xen Project’s latest release 4.8, which was released in early December. Qualcomm Technologies’ contributions include ARM enablement and bug fixes. The Xen Project continues to focus on improving performance, enhancing security and management, and fine-tuning the hypervisor for better ARM support to capitalize on new developments with mobile, cloud and web-scale computing.

"Xen Project virtualization has continually helped advance the server space and supports some of the largest clouds in production today," said Lars Kurth, advisory chairperson for the Xen Project. "We're excited to welcome Qualcomm Technologies as a new advisory board member. By stepping up their commitment to the Xen Project, Qualcomm Technologies is making a commitment to advance Xen Project virtualization now and into the future."

Qualcomm Technologies joins 15 advisory board members who are committed to the segment and technical success of the Xen Project hypervisor. Member involvement includes, financial support, technical contributions and high-level policy guidance.

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, and Rackspace. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project 
208-290-4853 
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Xen Project Hypervisor Continues to Expand into Embedded Use Cases in Latest Release

Updates focus on ARM server enhancements, security hardening and quality code

SAN FRANCISCO, December 7, 2016 – The Xen Project, hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the release of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.8. The latest release focuses on advanced embedded use cases, features to support security-first environments and continued advancement in support of ARMv8-A® based servers. Xen Project technology continues to see growth in these environments due to its flexibility, extensibility and customizability.

As the demand for 64-bit ARMv8-A data centers builds, Xen Project continues to lead by delivering advanced ARM server feature support. Xen Project Hypervisor 4.8 provides initial support for ARM server Live Patching. This allows users to apply security fixes to the Xen Project hypervisor without rebooting, providing five-to-nine reliability for ARM servers. The new feature, available as a preview, also supports the needs of security-first embedded uses cases, such as automotive and avionics.

Over the last year, contributors with strong security and embedded backgrounds have joined the Xen Project. Furthering its stronghold in embedded and security, the project now supports GICv2m (an interrupt controller with MSI capabilities), mmio-sram and IO memory regions with special caching requirements.

“New functionality added to the Xen Project for market segments like automotive, aviation, embedded and security have turned out to be valuable building blocks for traditional server virtualization and hyperscale clouds,” said Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project. "Some of the innovations contributed by vendors from these segments have helped increase performance, scalability and reduced latency for general workloads, while others led to a more flexible and customizable software architecture that benefit all users of the Xen Project hypervisor and positions us well for future growth across all market segments.”

In the 4.8 release, the general purpose Credit2 scheduler is now supported for production use. Compared to the default Credit scheduler, the Credit2 scheduler is more scalable and is better at supporting latency sensitive workloads such as VDI, video and sound delivery, as well as unikernel applications. Credit2 is still based on a general purpose, weighted fair share, scheduling algorithm unlike some of the more specialized Xen Project schedulers such as RTDS and ARINC653.

Major contributions for this release come from ARM, BitDefender, Bosch, Citrix, Freescale, Intel, Linaro, Oracle, Qualcomm, SUSE, Star Lab, the US National Security Agency, Xilinx, Zentific, and a number of universities and individuals.

The following new features and capabilities are available in Xen Project Hypervisor 4.8:

  • Support for Xilinx® Zynq® UltraScale+™ MPSoC: In the embedded space, as multi-chip and multi-OS systems consolidate into virtualized Systems on Chips, Xen Project software’s ability to scale down and provide partitioning with low overhead is key to these environments. Xen Project Hypervisor 4.8 comes with support for the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, making it much easier for Xilinx customers to integrate Xen into their solution.

  • ARM Architecture Updates: Xen Project 4.8 ARM DomU ACPI support is now able to build ARM64 guests with ACPI support, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM Development Preview (available via Partner Early Access Program). It can also run unmodified Xen on ARM.

  • The new release supports alternative runtime patching for ARM64, a powerful technology to dynamically adapt the Xen Project hypervisor code at boot time. This enables the hypervisor to apply workarounds for erratas affecting the processor and to apply optimizations specific to a CPU.

  • Intel and x86 Feature Support: The latest version of Xen Project hypervisor adds support of Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512), which is a natural extension to AVX and AVX2. Intel AVX-512 instructions offer higher performance for the most demanding computational tasks. They represent a significant leap to 512-bit SIMD support. This enables processing of twice the number of data elements that AVX/AVX2 can process with a single instruction and four times that of SSE.

  • This Xen Project release also comes with PVCLOCK_TSC_STABLE_BIT support, which greatly improves user space performance for time related operations. Another x86 feature is CPUID faulting emulations making it possible to make CPUID fault in HVM userspace program without hardware support.

  • PVH v2 update: PVH v2 guest (without PCI passthrough support) ABI is also now stabilized. Guest operating system developers can start porting OSes to this mode, which is simpler and gives them all the goodies that hardware and software provide.

Comments from Xen Project Users and Contributors

"The Xen Project Hypervisor is continuing to grow with new contributors, technologies and use-cases and is increasingly being used in market segments like automotive, mobile and IoT, as well as in its traditional cloud, datacenter and VDI use-cases" said James Bulpin, senior director of technology and chief architect of XenServer, Citrix Systems. "It is exciting to see such a breadth of new development come from a very dedicated and talented group of developers and engineers that make up the Xen Project community."

"Xen Project hypervisor plays an important role in both the future of embedded systems and in the next generation of cloud computing, especially as these systems increase the use of field programmable gate arrays for acceleration," said Edgar Iglesias, principal engineer at Xilinx. "Xilinx is committed to creating new programmable technology for next generation systems, and we see Xen Project and its community as being instrumental in this process. We want to congratulate the Xen Project community at large for its work with Xen Project 4.8. Its solid software development practices have delivered yet another great Xen Project hypervisor release."

“Xen is an extremely important project as part of making the deployment of ARM-based servers a reality,” said Thomas Molgaard, director of product management, Business Segment Group, ARM. “Uninterrupted server availability will be critical for computing in safety-sensitive environments such as connected vehicles. Being able to apply a critical hypervisor patch to fix an issue without affecting operations is a significant step forward.”             

Additional Resources

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, Oracle, and Rackspace. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project 
208-290-4853 
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7 Brings Non-Disruptive Patching

Latest Xen Project release delivers security enhancements for embedded and automotive use cases with support for the latest hardware features

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2016 – The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the release of Xen Project 4.7. The release minimizes downtime and improves the user experience with non-disruptive security patching, and includes security enhancements for embedded, automotive, IoT and new security use cases. The new release also adds support for the latest hardware features from Intel and ARM.

Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7 comes equipped with Live Patching, a technology that enables re-boot free deployment of security patches to minimize disruption and downtime during security upgrades for system administrators and DevOps practitioners. Xen Project 4.7 implements version 1 of the Hypervisor Live Patching specification, which is designed to encode the vast majority of security patches (approximately 90%) as Live Patching payloads. This version ships with a Live Patching enabled hypervisor and payload deployment tools and is available as a technology preview.

For security, embedded automotive and IoT use cases, Xen Project introduced the ability to remove core Xen Hypervisor features at compile time via KCONFIG. This ability creates a more lightweight hypervisor and eliminates extra attack surfaces that are beneficial in security-first environments, microservice architectures and environments that have heavy compliance and certification needs, like automotive.

“The Xen Project hypervisor is innovating in all areas and continues to evolve to meet the new needs of cloud computing and compute infrastructures,” said Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project advisory board. “Xen Project 4.7 is a testament to the incredible collaboration that is happening within the community, and a continuation of our shorter release cycle.”

The Xen Project powers more than 10 million users across enterprise and cloud computing in addition to embedded and mobile devices. First to market with Intel and ARM features, many of the world’s largest companies and service providers use and invest in Xen Project software. Xen Project software is used in many commercial products, including Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection, which was developed in close collaboration with Citrix. This technology leverages Xen Project’s Virtual Machine Introspection feature to reveal malicious activity, however stealthy, which can remain invisible to traditional endpoint security.

Major contributions for this release come from AMD, ARM, Bitdefender, Bosch, Broadcom, Citrix, Fujitsu, GlobalLogic, Huawei, Intel, Linaro, Netflix, Novetta, NSA, Oracle, Red Hat, Star Lab, SUSE, Xilinx, and a number of universities and individuals. Xen Project’s functionality continues to evolve to serve new compute infrastructures such as mobile, hyper-scale computing, massive workloads, security-intensive applications, embedded computing, cloud computing, hosting providers, and hardware appliances.

The following new features and capabilities are available in Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7:

  • Usability Improvements: In Xen 4.7, a new XL command line interface to manage PVUSB devices has been introduced to manage PVUSB devices for PV guests. The new XL commands also enables hot-plugging of USB devices as well as QEMU disk backends, such as drbd, iscsi, and more in HVM guests. This new feature allows users to add and remove disk backends to virtual machines without the need to reboot the guest. In addition, the soft reset for HVM guests allows for a more graceful shutdown and restart of the HVM guest.

  • Support for a wider range of workloads and applications: The PV guest limit restriction of 512GB has been removed to allow the creation of huge PV domains in the TB range. TB sized VMs, coupled with Xen Project’s existing support for 512 vCPUs per VM, enable execution of memory and compute intensive workloads, like big data analytics workloads and in-memory databases.

  • Improved Live Migration support: CPU ID Levelling enables migration of VM’s between a larger range of non-identical hosts than previously supported.

  • Enhanced Development with ARM: Xen Project now supports booting on hosts that expose ACPI 6.0 (and later) information. The ARM Server Base Boot Requirements (SBBR) stipulate that compliant systems need to express hardware resources with ACPI; thus this support will come in useful for ARM Servers. This effort was carried out by Shannon Zhao of Linaro with minor patches from Julien Grall of ARM.

  • Additionally, PSCI 1.0 compatibility allows Xen Project software to operate on systems that expose PSCI 1.0 methods. Now, all 1.x versions of PSCI will be compatible with Xen Project software. More information on Power State Co-ordination Interface can be found here. This effort was also carried out by Julien Grall with a patch from Dirk Behme of Bosch.

  • New feature support for the Intel® Xeon® processor product family: Xen Project 4.7 supports VT-d Posted Interrupts, which provides hardware-level acceleration to increase interrupt virtualization efficiency. It reduces latency and improves user experience through performance improvements, especially for interrupt-intensive front- end workloads such as web servers.

  • Xen Project 4.7 is the first to include Code and Data Prioritization (CDP), part of the Intel® Resource Director Technology (RDT) Framework and an extension of Cache Allocation Technology (CAT), first introduced in Xen Project 4.6. The introduction of CDP allows isolation of code/data within the shared L3 cache of multi-tenant environments, reducing contention and improving performance.

    Additional features specific to the Intel Xeon processor family in Xen Project 4.7 include: VMX TSC Scaling, which allows for easier migration between machines with different CPU frequencies and support for Memory Protection Keys, a new security feature for hardening the software stack.

Comments from Xen Project Users and Contributors

“Oracle is committed to designing and delivering best-in-class cloud services to help businesses transition from traditional systems to the cloud,” said Ajay Srivastava, senior vice president, Linux and Virtualization, Oracle. “The new live patching capabilities in Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7 can help reduce downtime for private, public and hybrid cloud environments, which is of vital importance to our customers.”

“Intel is focused on enabling widespread cloud adoption and works across the industry to deliver the best architecture for the current and future needs of compute, storage, and networking,” said Susie Li, Director of Virtualization, Intel Open Source Technology Center and Xen Project Advisory Board Member. “The work the Xen Project community has achieved underpins many of the world’s largest and most successful data centers in the world, setting the standard for performance, security, and capabilities. Xen Project 4.7 is developed with the latest Intel platform features to make it easier to deploy and scale clouds, so businesses can deliver services to their customers faster and more securely.”

“Organizations continually have to readjust their security strategy to mitigate deep threats to IT systems. Bitdefender Hypervisor Introspection (HVI), which is tightly integrated with XenServer Direct Inspect API from Citrix, runs memory introspection at the hypervisor-level,” said Harish Agastya, Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Bitdefender. “The Xen Project hypervisor provides critical virtualization and security building blocks, which enable us to partner with Citrix to create a new security layer that detects suspicious activities by working directly with raw memory – a level of insight from which malware cannot hide.”

Additional Resources

  • Xen Project Hypervisor technical blog
  • Xen Project Hypervisor version 4.7 download

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, NetApp, Oracle, Rackspace, and Verizon Terremark. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project 
208-290-4853 
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Xen Project Community Hosts Annual Developers Summit in August

Open Source Hypervisor Community Descends on Toronto to Discuss, Educate and Collaborate on the future of the Xen Project Virtualization

SAN FRANCISCO, June 8, 2016 – The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the program and speakers for theXen Project Developer Summit that brings together developers, integrators and power users for in-person collaboration and educational presentations. The event will take place in Toronto, Canada from August 25-26, 2016 co-located with LinuxCon North America.

The Xen Project hypervisor was built to be forward-looking and nimble like the cloud itself. It powers the new needs of computing and virtualization through a rich ecosystem of community members that focus on everything from security, embedded, and web-scale environments. The Summit is an opportunity for developers and software engineers to collaborate and discuss the latest advancements of Xen Project software. It is a neutral event focused on education and collaboration amongst those interested in Xen Project technology, virtualization and cloud computing.

“The Xen Project community is made up of an incredibly talented group of developers,” said Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project advisory board. “The Xen Project Developer Summit, is a great opportunity to learn more about how the Xen Project is growing with new computing infrastructures and how it is used in new market segments, such as the automotive industry, mobile as well as IoT.”

In addition to presentations, the Xen Project will be running a half-day hackathon alongside the Summit on the last day. Xen Project hackathons have evolved in format into a series of structured problem solving sessions that scale up to 50 people.

This flagship event features presentations on the latest developments, best practices, collaboration, product roadmap updates and future planning from developers and users who are leading the way in server density, hardware, automotive, cloud and enterprise security. The following are several confirmed speakers and presentations:

  • Christopher Clark, consultant at BAE Systems, will present on the OpenXT Project and how developers can assist in contributing to the project. OpenXT Project is a development toolkit for hardware-assisted security research and appliance integration; it stands on the shoulders of the Xen Project, OpenEmbedded Linux and XenClient XT.
  • Mihai Dontu, technical project manager at Bitdefender, will present on the technical hurdles he and his team had to overcome when building a commercial product on the introspection capabilities of the Xen Project hypervisor. This presentation is meant to provide guidelines to anyone interested in building a professional security product utilizing the latest Xen Project features.
  • George Dunlap, senior engineer at Citrix, will provide an overview on how developers can improve the code review process for maintainers before they review a patch.
  • Julien Grall, software virtualization engineer at ARM, will cover how to understand how page table should be compliant with the ARM specifications; he will also give an overview of how Xen ARM is handling page table.
  • Weidong Han, architect of virtualization at Huawei, will discuss his team’s analysis on Xen Project core scalability features and functions.
  • Jun Nakajima, senior principal engineer at Intel, will highlight what it takes to build HPC Cloud based on Xen Project software.
  • Konrad Wilk, software development manager at Oracle, will provide an overview about bringing hot-patching to the Xen Project hypervisor. This new feature will allow system administrators to update the hypervisor without the need to reboot.

To view the full schedule, please head here: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/xen-project-developer-summit/program/schedule

Citrix is a Diamond sponsor for the event, and Huawei and Intel are both Platinum sponsor. If you are interested in sponsoring, please contact Kara Foley, kfoley@linuxfoundation.org. In addition, follow updates on the event via Xen Project’s Twitter, Google+ or Facebook page. Hashtag for the event is #xendevsummit.

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, NetApp, Oracle, Rackspace, and Verizon Terremark. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project 
208-290-4853 
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Huawei Joins Xen Project’s Advisory Board

Global ICT leader looks to contribute and develop Xen Project software to advance its cloud computing growth

SAN FRANCISCO, May 11, 2016 – The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced Huawei, a global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, is a new Advisory Board member. The Xen Project Advisory Board consists of major cloud companies, virtualization providers, enterprise IR, silicon vendors, among others, that advise and support the development of Xen Project software for cloud computing, and embedded and IoT use-cases.

Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, and has consistently contributed to open source projects from The Linux Foundation. It became a platinum member of the Linux Foundation in 2015, the highest level of investment at The Linux Foundation. Huawei is also an active member of several of Linux Foundation projects, including OPNFV, Open Container Initiative, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, IO Visor, and Kinetic Open Storage Project.

Open source, especially in cloud computing, has grown tremendously in China over the last few years. As key technologies are increasingly built collaboratively, more and more Chinese companies are using open source to leapfrog competitors and are joining the Linux Foundation’s open source projects to help drive further growth and development. “Xen Project pushes the envelope with the next generation of technologies that support cloud computing, and we look forward to joining the board and community to help propel cloud computing even further,” said Guangniu Su, Director of Huawei UVP Team.

“Xen Project software is a perfect fit for hyper-scale clouds, and we look forward to continuing to use this technology in our cloud and business strategy to provide the best services to enterprise IT.” Xen Project software offers superior flexibility, performance, scalability and advanced security features for cloud computing. It supports multiple cloud platforms and powers some of the largest clouds in production today, including Alibaba’s Aliyun Cloud Services, Amazon Web Services, IBM Softlayer, Tencent, Rackspace and Oracle, to name a few. Member involvement includes, financial support, technical contributions and high-level policy guidance.

“There’s been a tremendous uptick in contributor growth coming from China for the Xen Project,” said Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project. “We are excited to have more companies based in China join the Advisory Board and look forward to working with Huawei on contributions and growth of the Xen Project technology.”

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Huawei, Intel, NetApp, Oracle, Rackspace, and Verizon Terremark. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project 
208-290-4853 
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org

Xen Project Virtualization Updated with Improved VMI and Security

The Release Marks The Best Quality and Quantity of Contribution

San Francisco, October 13, 2015 -- The Xen Project, Collaboration Project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the release of Xen Project 4.6. The new release comes equipped with greater security, improvements to network throughput as well as upgraded migration.

With this release, Xen Project’s Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) is natively supported on both Intel and ARM chips, making it an ideal API for developers building monitoring and security applications. Additional updates allow for increased stability, scalability and usability to create a stable baseline for third-party security applications, including malware detection, forensics, security auditing and more.

Updates to the VMI create the foundation for easier integration with IT monitoring tools for more centralized management, while the inclusion of Intel® Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) and Memory Bandwidth Monitoring (MBM) enable additional system resources monitoring.

Major contributions from Citrix, Suse, Oracle, Intel, Linaro, Fujitsu, Novetta, Red Hat, Zentific, BitDefender, NSA, Verizon, Xilinx, Cavium, Huawei, Broadcom, GlobalLogic, AMD and a number of universities and individuals are pushing Xen Project innovation forward in areas such as security, performance and quality. Xen’s functionality continues to evolve to better serve new compute infrastructures such as mobile, hyper-scale computing, massive workloads, security-intensive applications, embedded computing, cloud computing, hosting providers, and hardware appliances.  

“Stability, performance and security are critical when it comes to running software on the modern Internet and cloud systems,” said Lars Kurth, Xen Project Advisory Board Chairperson. “The new Xen Project release puts these capabilities front and center and allows system administrator to determine where system vulnerabilities might lie to proactively assess potential security risks and to centralize and monitor how instances in IT infrastructure are affecting the overall stability of the environment.”

“Citrix has built the Xen Project Hypervisor 4.6 release into XenServer Dundee, which recently entered public beta. The alignment of the release cycle of Xen 4.6 and the production of the XenServer Dundee series of alpha and beta releases allowed us to improve the quality of both Xen and XenServer by continuously testing the XenServer Dundee and Xen 4.6 integration,” said James Bulpin, Senior Director of Technology and Chief Architect of XenServer, Citrix Systems. “The combination of early testing of Xen 4.6 makes us confident that the latest release will be one of the highest quality Xen Project releases so far, and will help us make XenServer Dundee one of the best XenServer releases as well.”

New features and capabilities of Xen Project 4.6:

  • Enables a new class of security applications: A number of significant improvements to Xen’s Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) subsystems make it the best hypervisor for security applications. Hardware support for VM Functions (VMFunc) available on Intel’s 4th generation Haswell CPUs and Atom Silvermont CPUs decreases overheads. Support for Virtualization Exceptions is now available on Intel’s 5th generation Broadwell CPUs and Atom Goldmont CPUs has significantly reduced latency. VMI support for ARM CPUs has also been added.
  • Major improvements to scalability: Finer-grained grant table locks lead to significant scalability improvements in the Xen Project. For example, aggregate intrahost network throughput has improved more than 100% in some cases. In addition, byte-range locks were replaced with ticket locks, which have better fairness properties than previously used locks for improved scalability.
  • Redesign of live migration components to better support high availability: The Xen Project Hypervisors Live Migration subsystem implemented its second version (Migration v2) to be more robust, extensible and able to handle next-generation infrastructures. It has been tested by several vendors to ensure it is enterprise-ready. The updates provide better performance for 64 bit systems and add support for cross-bitness migration between 32 and 64 bit hosts. Migration v2 is optimized for PVH and Coarse-grained Lock-stepping (COLO), which will be fully integrated with Xen in the next release. In addition, Page Modification Logging (PML) was implemented for Intel CPUs, improving SpecJBB performance by 7.6% in log dirty mode.
  • Better quality: During the Xen 4.6 release cycle, the Xen Project increased its integration test capability by creating CI loops for Xen Hypervisor and OpenStack testing. Besides running tests on more hardware configurations, the number of test cases nearly doubled during the 4.6 release cycle, contributing to the best quality release yet. This is also reflected in test results by 3rd party vendor test suites, which are regularly run on the Xen Project codebase.
  • ARM support: The new release increases the maximum number of supported VCPUs for 64-bit ARM CPUs from 8 to 128 and adds support for 32-bit userspace applications to 64-bit guests. Additionally, new IP blocks, firmware interfaces and platforms are supported, such as non-PCI passthrough support, OVMF for ARM and GICv2 on GICv3 support. During the hardening phase of Xen 4.6, members of the Xen Project community closely collaborated with the CentOS Virtualization SIG to build and test Xen 4.6 packages for CentOS 7’s 64-bit ARM variant and tested it against OpenStack using libvirt. The full release of the Xen 4.6 CentOS 7 packages is available here.
  • Updates for automotive and embedded systems: The new release added support for two platforms targeting the embedded and automotive market segments: Xilinx Zynq® UltraScale+™ MPSoC and support for the Renesas R-Car Gen2 SoCs.
  • Intel Platform QoS Technologies for improved scalability and performance: Intel® Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) and Memory Bandwidth Monitoring (MBM) are included, which build on the Cache Monitoring Technology (CMT) introduced in Xen 4.5. CAT allows system administrators to assign more L3 cache capacity to individual VMs, resulting in lower latency and higher performance for high-priority workloads such as NFV, real-time and video-on-demand applications. MBM allows system administrators to identify memory bandwidth saturation on a Xen host that may be caused by several memory-intensive VMs running on the same host. Taking corrective actions, such as migrating VMs to a different Xen host, increases scalability and performance in the data center.

Additional Resources

About Xen Project

Xen Project software is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the Project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. A Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project community is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Cavium, Citrix, Google, Intel, NetApp, Oracle, Rackspace, and Verizon Terremark. For more information about the Xen Project software and to participate, please visit XenProject.org.

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Media Contact
Zibby Keaton
Xen Project
208-290-4853
zkeaton@linuxfoundation.org