vkernel & GSoC, some questions

Igor Shmukler shmukler at mail.ru
Sun Mar 16 17:55:24 UTC 2008

What's vkernel's or modern UML multithreaded performance compared to native?

I have not been reading hackers in a long time and have no idea what's going on... Please excuse my butting in...

Given the fact that there are not as many developers as needed, what would be a practical purpose of vkernel?

UML is typically used to debug drivers and/or for hosting. Now that Linux about to have or already has container technology, hosting on UML makes little sense.

KVM and other hypervisors are valuable testing tools and can sometimes make sense in a hosting environment. If someone was to work on an open source hypervisor, perhaps they should consider Innotek's product. KVM and Xen use VT extensions to run guests in a protected mode. It's a little slow. Innotek has a fast binary translator.

The big questions is whether there is a practical reason to run FreeBSD as a host, or this more about the "Freedom of choice?"

I couple of years ago, we implemented a fairly complete container functionality in FreeBSD 5.x. It even supported live-migration of virtual environments. I showed it A. Perlstein while he was working in New York. We tried to see if anyone was interested at the time, but we have found none.

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Watson <rwatson at FreeBSD.org>
To: "Andrey V. Elsukov" <bu7cher at yandex.ru>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 12:56:21 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: vkernel & GSoC, some questions

> On Sun, 16 Mar 2008, Andrey V. Elsukov wrote:
> > 16.03.08, 09:30, "David O'Brien" <obrien at freebsd.org>:
> >
> >>> Add virtual kernel (vkernel) support to FreeBSD for the i386 and amd64 
> >>> architectures.
> >>>
> >>> The vkernel support in question is the one found in DragonFlyBSD.
> >>
> >> Not being up on DragonFlyBSD, can you better describe what "vkernel" is?
> >
> > vkernel is similar to User Mode Linux technology. You can boot vkernel as a 
> > user mode process. I think it will be good to have similar in FreeBSD. There 
> > are several links: 
> > http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/users/2007-01/msg00237.html 
> > http://www.dragonflybsd.org/docs/articles/vkernel/vkernel.shtml
> Another avenue to consider is the Linux KVM virtualization technology, which 
> is seeing a high level of interest in the Linux community and sounds 
> increasingly mature and well-exercised.  It would also offer interesting 
> migration benefits for Linux users wanting to try FreeBSD, allowing them to 
> trivially create new FreeBSD installs under their existing Linux install.  We 
> had an SoC project last year but I'm not sure what the outcome was; it would 
> be useful to give Fabio a ping and see how things are going.  Obviously, 
> anyone doing this project would need to manage the license issues involved 
> carefully.
> Robert N M Watson
> Computer Laboratory
> University of Cambridge
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