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NEW: Xen Introspection Project Launching…

A new community led project within Xen.org, the Xen Introspection Project, is being officially launched today.

The purpose of the Xen Introspection Project is to design an API for performing VM introspection and implement the necessary functionality into Xen. It is anticipated that the project will include the following activities (in loose order):

(1) Identification of specific services/functions that introspection should support
(2) Discussion of how that functionality could be achieved under the Xen architecture
(3) Prioritization of functionality and activities
(4) API definition
(5) Implementation.

Some potential applications of VM introspection include security, forensics, debugging, and systems management.

I will be setting up a new xen-introspect@lists.xensource.com email alias shortly (having problems with the system today) and will also be contacting interested community members to setup the first meeting; most likely next week. A Xen Wiki section is setup for the project with three new pages:

  1. Project Information: http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Project_Information
  2. Meeting Minutes: http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Meeting_Minutes
  3. Project Updates: http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/Project_Update

If you are interested in being on the first meeting, please email me with your contact information so I can make sure you are on the initial meeting setup mailing list. Please add a comment about Xen Introspection so I know that you are interested in this project from your email.


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2 Responses

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  1. james.song says

    what I concern is whether those api make xen too fat or not?

  2. Stephen Brueckner says

    This is a valid concern and one we will address in our discussions of which features to implement. Some introspection capabilities already exist because they are intrinsic to the hypervisor. There are a number of additional capabilities that can probably be implemented with minimal changes to the hypervisor. And as you say, other capabilities may indeed require more lines of code or incur performance penalties such that they are not deemed worthwhile.

    This is of course a question of fundamental tradeoffs. However, the benefits of introspection are too great to ignore. Also note that other hypervisors are working on introspection projects and Xen may have to follow suit if only to be competitive.

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