Formal virtualization requirements for the ARM architecture

Niels Penneman, Danielius Kudinskas, Alasdair Rawsthorne, Bjorn De Sutter, Koen De Bosschere

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present an analysis of the virtualizability of the ARMv7-A architecture carried out in the context of the seminal paper published by Popek and Goldberg 38 years ago. Because their definitions are dated, we first extend their machine model to modern architectures with paged virtual memory, IO and interrupts. We then use our new model to show that ARMv7-A is not classically virtualizable. Insights such as binary translation enable efficient virtualization beyond the original criteria. Companies are also making their architectures virtualizable through extensions. We analyse both approaches for ARM and conclude that both have their use in future systems. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-154
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Systems Architecture
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Binary translation
    • Hypervisor
    • Instruction set architecture
    • Virtual machine monitor
    • Virtualization


    Dive into the research topics of 'Formal virtualization requirements for the ARM architecture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this