Project Guest VM: A Java Platform implemented in Java and hosted on the Xen Hypervisor

Posted in Conferences, Companies, Development on March 21, 2009

Many server-side applications are hosted on the Java platform, for example application servers such as Glassfish, JBoss or the Hadoop distributed computing framework. For most of these applications the Java platform subsumes the underlying operating system APIs, leaving these for the implementation of the Java platform itself. However, the operating system API is not a ideal match for the needs of the Java platform. Unfortunately, specializing or replacing the operating system is a daunting prospect. The increasing ubiquity of hypervisors, particularly the para-virtualization interface provided by Xen, changes this situation and makes it practical to consider replacing the operating system layer.

Project Guest VM at Sun Microsystem Laboratories is developing an implementation of the Java platform that runs directly on the Xen hypervisor, without the traditional operating system layer. Guest VM differs from related work such as BEA Liquid VM and IBM Libra by adopting an all-Java approach. GuestVM is based on the Maxine meta-circular VM from Sun Labs and replaces the traditional JVM native code for network and file system access with Java implementations.

The goals of Guest VM are to provide a high-performance, open-source, platform for server-side Java applications, with simplified administration, while allowing the platform to be developed with a modern integrated development environment.

The talk will describe the design and implementation of Guest VM, including the use of Xen and the Maxine VM, discuss status and availability and plans for future work.

Speaker: Mick Jordan
Mick Jordan is a Senior Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems Laboratories. His interests include programming languages, programming environments, persistent object systems and systems software. He has a Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, UK. He was a member of the team that designed and implemented the Modula-3 programming language, and led the effort to develop the PJama virtual machine for Java that provided orthogonal persistence. More recently he was a member of the Barcelona project at Sun Labs applying the Multi-tasking Java virtual machine (MVM) to the management of application servers, and is currently leading the Guest VM project that is developing an all-Java platform hosted on the Xen hypervisor.

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