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Virtio: An I/O virtualization framework for Linux

Feb 10, 2010, 12:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by M. Tim Jones)


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"In a nutshell, virtio is an abstraction layer over devices in a paravirtualized hypervisor. virtio was developed by Rusty Russell in support of his own virtualization solution called lguest. This article begins with an introduction to paravirtualization and emulated devices, and then explores the details of virtio. The focus is on the virtio framework from the 2.6.30 kernel release.

"Linux is the hypervisor playground. As my article on Linux as a hypervisor showed, Linux offers a variety of hypervisor solutions with different attributes and advantages. Examples include the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), lguest, and User-mode Linux. Having these different hypervisor solutions on Linux can tax the operating system based on their independent needs. One of the taxes is virtualization of devices. Rather than have a variety of device emulation mechanisms (for network, block, and other drivers), virtio provides a common front end for these device emulations to standardize the interface and increase the reuse of code across the platforms."

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