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[Xen-devel] Re: [RFC, PATCH 0/24] VMI i386 Linux virtualization interface proposal

Arjan van de Ven wrote:
Two final notes.  This is not an attempt to force a proprietary interface
into the Linux kernel.  This is an attempt to find a common interface
that can be used by many hypervisors by isolating hypervisor specific
idioms into a neutral layer.  This new layer is just what is claims to
be - a virtual machine interface, which allows hypervisor dependent code
to be abstracted in a way that benefits both Linux and hypervisor

such an interface should be defined with source visibility of both sides
though. At least of one user. Can XEN or any of the other open
hypervisors use this? What does it look like? And if not, why not,
wouldn't that make VMA a VMwareInterface instead ? ;)

Yes, Xen can use this interface, even without modification to Xen. The interface was used successfully to run a VMI kernel on Xen 2.0. As it stands now, the interface does need to change a bit to accomodate Xen 3.0 - but it is possible to do. Rather than wait until we have a working prototype of that, we thought the interface itself warrants discussion now.

Why can't vmware use the Xen interface instead?

We could. But it is our opinion that the Xen interface is unnecessarily complicated, without a clean separation between the layer of interaction with the hypervisor and the kernel proper. The interface we propose we believe is more powerful, and more conducive to performance optimizations while providing significant advantages - most specifically, a single binary image that is properly virtualizable on multiple hypervisors and capable of running on native hardware.


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