Self Diagnostics and Isolation Mechanisms for Mixed Criticality Systems

Asmaa Tellabi, Christoph Ruland, Karl Waedt, Abdelbast Sabri


Virtualization is a technology that is frequently employed in computers and servers to provide isolation for execution environments, and to support the execution of multiple Operating Systems (OS) on the same hardware platform. In the embedded systems´ world, virtualization has been a rising trend, essentially because it offers an isolation mechanism that provides hardware manufacturer´ independence and it avoids obsolescence issues. The isolation mechanism supports safety and security measures, and assists in the certification of safety-critical systems. Virtualization offers improved performances, better transparency, portability and interoperability by integrating hardware and software resources, and also networking services into one computing entity. It makes the integration process of Mixed Criticality Systems (MCS) easier. For industries, FieldProgrammable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) hardware solutions provide the needed level of flexibility and performance. In this paper, a Self-test application is integrated in the hardware and also in the software level. The importance of self-test applications for Instrumentation and Control (I&C) systems will be discussed in the context of virtualization. For this implementation a type 1 hypervisor called Xtratum is used. An analysis of inter-partition communication channels´ performance will be provided including the implications multicore approaches will have on communication. The novelty of this work is to study the isolation impact multicore approaches can have on inter-partitions communications in Xtratum. Another novel aspect is the implementation of a self-test application in the hypervisor and the board as well. 


Virtualization; MCS; Xtratum; Self-test; Cortex A9; FPGA; multi-core

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