HyperBench™ is a forthcoming EEMBC benchmark suite that will measure the contribution of hypervisors, also known as virtual machine managers, to performance, code size, and energy consumption in a wide range of embedded systems.
A hypervisor is a program that allows multiple operating systems or execution environments to run simultaneously on a single embedded processor. A hypervisor guarantees complete isolation between the virtual machines (VMs) running above it, as well as between itself and those same VMs. In a multicore environment, a hypervisor can also distribute the operating systems and applications across multiple cores. The benefits of using a hypervisor as a virtualization platform include better load balancing and lower power consumption, by virtue of migrating processes dynamically to underutilized cores, and greater uptime through background firmware updates and redundant OS imaging.
Until fairly recently, hypervisors were common only in servers. In embedded systems, where they are coming to be used more and more widely, hypervisors allow the use of a high-level OS interface for application programming, such as Linux or Microsoft Windows, while at the same time maintaining traditional real-time OS (RTOS) APIs. Therefore, hypervisors for embedded use must be real-time capable, as well as resource-miserly. Hypervisors are also quickly gaining acceptance because they provide a mechanism for system developers to migrate their legacy applications onto multicore platforms. Furthermore, for enhanced performance, many processor vendors are integrating hardware features into their architectures that will help to increase the performance of hypervisor functions. These criteria make it important to establish industry-standard benchmarks that analyze these metrics.
Current EEMBC member companies that have participated in the EEMBC Hypervisor Subcommittee include AMD, ARM, Cavium Networks, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Intel, LynuxWorks, Marvell Semiconductor, MIPS Technologies, Nokia, Open Kernel Labs, and Trango Virtual Processors.
EEMBC welcomes inquiries from companies that are interested in contributing to the development of HyperBench by becoming a member of the EEMBC Board of Directors or its hypervisor subcommittee. For further information, contact us.
Block diagram of a typical hypervisor implementation: