Linux Foundation announces open source reference hypervisor project designed for IoT device development

March 15, 2018 ECD Staff

The Linux Foundation today announced a new embedded reference hypervisor project called ACRN (pronounced "acorn"). With engineering and code contributions from Intel Corporation, the hypervisor was built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, and optimized to streamline embedded development. This project will provide a framework for industry leaders to build an open source embedded hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).

ACRN is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with rich I/O mediators. Intel's experience and leadership in virtualization technology was key to the initial development of this hypervisor solution.

"With project ACRN, embedded developers have a new, immediately available hypervisor option," said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. "ACRN's optimization for resource-constrained devices and focus on isolating safety-critical workloads and giving them priority make the project applicable across many IoT use cases. We're pleased to welcome project ACRN and invite embedded developers to get involved in the new community."

Developers benefit from ACRN's small, real-time footprint, which is flexible enough to accommodate different uses and provides consideration for safety-critical workloads. Consolidating a diverse set of IoT workloads with mixed-criticality on to a single platform helps reduce both development and deployment costs allowing for a more streamlined system architecture. An example of this is the electronic control unit (ECU) consolidation in automotive applications. While open source hypervisor options are available today, none share ACRN's vision of an open source hypervisor solution optimized for embedded and IoT products.

"ACRN will have a Linux-based service OS and the ability to simultaneously run multiple types of guest operating systems, providing a powerful solution for workload consolidation," said Imad Sousou, corporate vice president and general manager of the Open Source Technology Center, at Intel Corporation. "This new project delivers a flexible, lightweight hypervisor, designed to take real-time and safety-critical concerns into consideration and drive meaningful innovation for the IoT space."

ACRN will incorporate input from the open source, embedded, and IoT developer communities and encourages collaboration and code contributions to the project. Early ACRN project members include ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LGE, and Neusoft Corporation. To learn more about the project, visit https://www.projectacrn.org.

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