Trustworthy Systems

The role of virtualization in embedded systems


Gernot Heiser



Open Kernel Labs


System virtualization, which enjoys immense popularity in the enterprise and personal computing spaces, is recently gaining significant interest in the embedded domain. Starting from a comparison of key characteristics of enterprise systems and embedded systems, we will examine the differences in motivation for the use of system virtual machines, and the resulting differences in the requirements on the technology. We find that these differences are quite substantial, and that virtualization is unable to special requirements of embedded systems.

Instead, more general operating-systems technologies are required, which support virtualization as a special case.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Glasgow, UK},
    author           = {Heiser, Gernot},
    booktitle        = {Workshop on Isolation and Integration in Embedded Systems},
    editor           = {{Michael Engel, Olaf Spinczyk}},
    keywords         = {virtual machines, embedded systems, operating systems, microkernels},
    month            = apr,
    pages            = {11--16},
    paperurl         = {},
    title            = {The Role of Virtualization in Embedded Systems},
    year             = {2008}