, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 34-43
Date: 17 Nov 2012

Design and verification of a lightweight reliable virtual machine monitor for a many-core architecture

Abstract

Virtual machine monitors (VMMs) play a central role in cloud computing. Their reliability and availability are critical for cloud computing. Virtualization and device emulation make the VMM code base large and the interface between OS and VMM complex. This results in a code base that is very hard to verify the security of the VMM. For example, a misuse of a VMM hyper-call by a malicious guest OS can corrupt the whole VMM. The complexity of the VMM also makes it hard to formally verify the correctness of the system’s behavior. In this paper a new VMM, operating system virtualization (OSV), is proposed. The multiprocessor boot interface and memory configuration interface are virtualized in OSV at boot time in the Linux kernel. After booting, only inter-processor interrupt operations are intercepted by OSV, which makes the interface between OSV and OS simple. The interface is verified using formal model checking, which ensures a malicious OS cannot attack OSV through the interface. Currently, OSV is implemented based on the AMD Opteron multi-core server architecture. Evaluation results show that Linux running on OSV has a similar performance to native Linux. OSV has a performance improvement of 4%–13% over Xen.

Yuehua Dai received his BS in computer software and theory from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2004. He is currently a PhD candidate in computer science at Xi’an Jiaotong University. His research interests include operating systems, VMM, cloud computing and system security.
Yi Shi received her PhD in computer software and theory from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2008. She is a lecturer in the School of Electronic and Information Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University. Her research interests include operating systems, network security, cloud computing, and VMM.
Yong Qi received his PhD in computer software and theory from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2001. He is currently a professor in the School of Electronic and Information Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University and the director of the Institute of Computer Software and Theory. His research interests include operating systems, distributed systems, pervasive computing, software aging and VMM. He has published more than 80 papers in international conferences and journals, including ACM SenSys, IEEE PerCom, ICNP, ICDCS, ICPP, IEEE TMC, and IEEE TPDS.
Jianbao Ren received his BS in computer software and theory from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2009. He is currently a PhD candidate in computer science at Xi’an Jiaotong University. His research interests include operating systems, VMM, cloud computing, and system security.
Peijian Wang received the BS in computer software and theory from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2004. He is currently a PhD candidate in computer science at the same university. His research interests include power management, cloud computing, and Internet data center.