ACRN is an Open Source Hypervisor Built for IoT Device Development

ACRN – pronounced “acorn” – is an open source reference hypervisor with a small footprint, real-time capabilities, adaptability with support for Linux, Android, and RTOS guest operating systems, built for safety critical code in mind, and specifically designed for IoT and embedded devices.

The project is managed / supported by the Linux Foundation.

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A few more details about some of the key features of the solution:

  • Two main components: the hypervisor itself, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators managed by Linux-based Service OS (SOS).
  • Small footprint – Approx. 25K lines of code (LOC) for ACRN hypervisor against 156K LOC for datacenter-centric hypervisors.
  • Real Time – Low latency, enables faster boot time, improves overall responsiveness with hardware communication
  • Adaptability – Multi-OS support for guest operating systems like Linux, Android, RTOSes…
  • Safety Criticality – Safety critical workloads have priority, isolation of safety critical workloads
  • Built for Embedded IoT – Virtualization beyond CPU, I/O, Networking, etc with support for Graphics, Imaging, Audio, etc; rich set of I/O mediators to share devices across multiple VMs

The project is open source with a permissive BSD license, and with the code and documentation available on Github. Currently, the solutions seems especially suited for automotive solutions, as ACRN type-1 reference hypervisor is said to be suitable for building software defined cockpit (SDC) or In-Vehicle Experience (IVE) solutions running on Intel Architecture Apollo Lake platforms.

More details can also be read on the project page.

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