NetLogic announces open–source Xen hypervisor for multi-core MIPS64 processors

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - January 31, 2012

Xen virtualization hypervisor for the XLP and XLP II multi-core processors enhances flexibility for next-generation networking, communications, storage, security and server solutions

NetLogic Microsystems, into intelligent semiconductor solutions for next-generation Internet networks, has announced the industry’s first open–source Xen hypervisor for high-performance multi-core MIPS64 processors.  The new XEN hypervisor enables highly efficient virtualization for next-generation communications, networking and server platforms using the industry’s XLP and XLP II multi-core, multi-threaded processors. 

The Xen hypervisor is a fast and secure infrastructure virtualization solution that enables multiple instances of the same or different operating systems (OS) on a single processor.  Each OS will not only run completely independently, but also securely so that the software running on one operating system is protected from that on another operating system. So, multiple applications can run on a single processor, but operate completely independently from each other.

This enables developers  create compact, multi-function systems solutions that take full advantage of multi-core processors while minimizing power consumption. For example, a base station can be designed to provide both 3G and LTE services with a single processor, ultimately reducing the cost and complexity of the hardware, while enhancing the flexibility and capability of the system solution.

NetLogic's XLP and XLP II multi-core, multi-threaded processors are the industry’s  highest performance communications processors that feature an innovative quad-issue, quad-threaded and superscalar architecture with out-of-order execution capabilities.  This architecture makes the XLP and XLP II processor families  suited for the virtualization of multiple applications and multiple operating systems on each of the high-performance cores.  The flagship XLP processor family in 40nm operates at up to 2GHz and delivers cache-coherent scalability of up to 128 NXCPUs, while the next-generation XLP II processor family is designed for up to 2.5GHz and scalability up to 640 NXCPUs in the state-of-the-art 28nm process.

The Xen hypervisor is a thin software layer that resides between the operating system and the processor, thus providing an abstraction layer that allows each processor to run as multiple virtualized processors.  As a unique open-source technology, the Xen hypervisor is developed collaboratively by a broad community comprising leading system original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), software and application providers, and semiconductor vendors. The Xen hypervisor from NetLogic Microsystems is freely accessible through the Xen open-source community.  

“Our embedded multi-core processors are designed to deliver the highest performance per core, they lend themselves particularly well to virtualization techniques by our leading customer base,” said Chris O’Reilly, vice president of marketing at NetLogic Microsystems. NetLogic Microsystems’ Xen hypervisor will be submitted to the open source community in the first quarter of 2012.  

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