Lightweight virtual machines for distributed and networked systems

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
The University of Washington


The Denali project seeks to enable an array of new networking and distributed middleware applications by designing and implementing lightweight protection domains, focusing in particular on the use of lightweight virtual machines and monitors. A virtual machine monitor (VMM) is a thin virtualization layer between hardware and ``guest'' operating systems, enabling hosts to safely execute untrusted applications and guest OS's inside a VM. We are exploring techniques for building lightweight VMMs, virtual machines, and guest operating systems, so that 100s or 1000s of VMs can concurrently execute on a single physical host. We will use this to enable the injection of untrusted dynamic content generation code into content delivery networks or web caching systems, and to enable untrusted software authors to upload new Internet services into a virtual hosting platform. We are also exploring the role of virtual machines as a resource container in cluster-of-workstations to build "virtual clusters".

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0132817, and by a gift from Intel Corporation.