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September 16, 2020 12:10 am

Microsoft Submits Linux Kernel Patches For a 'Complete Virtualization Stack' With Linux and Hyper-V

Microsoft has submitted a series of patches to the Linux kernel with its aim being "to create a complete virtualization stack with Linux and Microsoft Hypervisor." The Register reports: The patches are designated "RFC" (Request for comments) and are a minimal implementation presented for discussion. The key change is that with the patched kernel, Linux will run as the Hyper-V root partition. In the Hyper-V architecture, the root partition has direct access to hardware and creates child partitions for the VMs it hosts. "Just think of it like Xen's Dom0," said Microsoft principal software engineer Wei Liu. Hyper-V's architecture is more similar to Xen than it is to KVM or to VMware's ESXi, and Liu acknowledged that "we drew inspiration from the Xen code in Linux," specifically for code handing interrupts. Until now, the Hyper-V root partition had to run Windows. Microsoft has also ported Intel's open-source Cloud Hypervisor, a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) written in Rust that normally runs on KVM, the hypervisor that is built into the Linux kernel. Cloud Hypervisor itself is currently in "very early pre-alpha stage." Even when Linux is the root partition, it will still run on top of Microsoft's hypervisor, a thin layer running with ring -1 privileges. It will no longer be necessary to run Windows on that hypervisor, though, enabling Microsoft to call the new arrangement "a complete virtualization stack with Linux."

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