Open Kernel OKL4 Mobile Virtualization for ARM Cortex-A15 Processor Debuts

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2010-09-13
 
 
 

Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs), a provider of embedded virtualization software for mobile phones and broadband Internet devices, announced off-the-shelf support for the newly introduced ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore processor from ARM.

The OKL4 Microvisor is immediately available for the Cortex-A15 processor simulator and will support Cortex-A15 processors as they roll out over the next 18 to 24 months, the company stated in a release.

Together, OKL4 and the Cortex-A15 processor target high-end mobile/wireless devices, including smartphones, superphones, Web pads and even server blades. To meet requirements presented by these devices and applications, OK Labs is enabling the company's OKL4 Microvisor to accommodate ARM Cortex-A15 processor capabilities, including hardware-assisted virtualization, 40-bit addressing and the latest ARMv7-A instruction set.

OK Labs, its partners and customers are eyeing the Cortex-A15 processor for its hardware-assisted virtualization capability. The ARM Cortex-A15 processor extensions plug in to the OKL4 Microvisor, providing a fast path for operations critical to hosting guest OSes, especially virtualizing OSes available in binary-only. Running on the Cortex-A15 processor, OKL4 will continue to serve as the foundation for mobile systems software, performing resource management (memory, devices, energy and global scheduling) and facilitating secure communication and resource sharing among guest OSes.

By enabling one mobile device to run multiple OSes, virtualization delivers solutions ranging from security to improved utilization of multicore SoCs to mobile-to-enterprise communications to BYOD ("Bring Your Own Device") to work to the Nirvana phone. It also lets handset manufacturers consolidate mobile chip sets and other resources, holding down bills-of-material costs and ushering in an era of "mass-market" smartphones. Cortex-A15 CPUs also will enable wireless infrastructure, enterprise networking, Web 2.0 servers and digital home applications.

"ARM and OK Labs work closely together to serve the global ecosystem of OEMs, chip set suppliers and operators with technology leadership for device security and resource management," commented Steve Subar, president and CEO of OK Labs. "Our long-term investment in accompanying the ARM road map has brought substantial returns and will yield new opportunities as the Cortex-A15 processor and OKL4 go to market together, powering the next billion always-connected and power-efficient devices."

The partnership between ARM and OK Labs enables early access for OEMs, operators and other developers to mobile virtualization for ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore, as it has for ARM11 multicore symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9. OK Labs OKL4 Microvisor already supports a range of ARM silicon, including chip sets from Qualcomm, ST-Electronics, Texas Instruments and other suppliers.

"Virtualization is a key feature of the Cortex-A15 processor, so the work with OK Labs and its OKL4 Microvisor will enable the Cortex-A15 processor to serve real-world requirements for mobile virtualization," said Eric Schorn, vice president of marketing for ARM's processor division. "As the Cortex-A15 processor makes its way from simulation to silicon, our licensees and their OEM customers will benefit from the security and system management intelligence conferred by OKL4 on Cortex-A15 processor-based designs and the software that runs on them."


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