VM32: A CPU simulator for demonstrational purposes of virtualization technologies

Andreas Galauner

Playlists: 'sigint13' videos starting here / audio / related events

Virtualization techniques are prevalent nowadays. They power our cloud services, they allow us to implement and debug whole operating systems or fight the bad guys by analyzing malware automatically. But how do these techniques actually work at the system- and hardware-level? How are we able to execute two or more complete operating systems at the same time?

To demonstrate how these techniques work and how they are implemented, the author developed a stripped-down CPU for exactly this purpose: The VM32. It is a completely artificial platform for the sole purpose of demonstrating how modern virtualization techniques work and how they are implemented. The platform consists of a simulator, an assembler, a linker and a command line debugger.

The talk will introduce the audience to different virtualization techniques and explain briefly the developed architecture. A small hypervisor for the platform has been developed and will be demonstrated.