LTZVisor: TrustZone is the Key

Authors Sandro Pinto, Jorge Pereira, Tiago Gomes, Adriano Tavares, Jorge Cabral

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Sandro Pinto
Jorge Pereira
Tiago Gomes
Adriano Tavares
Jorge Cabral

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Sandro Pinto, Jorge Pereira, Tiago Gomes, Adriano Tavares, and Jorge Cabral. LTZVisor: TrustZone is the Key. In 29th Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 76, pp. 4:1-4:22, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


Virtualization technology starts becoming more and more widespread in the embedded systems arena, driven by the upward trend for integrating multiple environments into the same hardware platform. The penalties incurred by standard software-based virtualization, altogether with the strict timing requirements imposed by real-time virtualization are pushing research towards hardware-assisted solutions. Among existing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies, ARM TrustZone promises to be a game-changer for virtualization, despite of this technology still being seen with a lot of obscurity and scepticism. In this paper we present a Lightweight TrustZone-assisted Hypervisor (LTZVisor) as a tool to understand, evaluate and discuss the benefits and limitations of using TrustZone hardware to assist virtualization. We demonstrate how TrustZone can be adequately exploited for meeting the real-time needs, while presenting a low performance cost on running unmodified rich operating systems. While ARM continues to spread TrustZone technology from the applications processors to the smallest of microcontrollers, it is undeniable that this technology is gaining an increasing relevance. Our intent is to encourage research and drive the next generation of TrustZone-assisted virtualization solutions.
  • hypervisor
  • virtualization
  • TrustZone
  • space and time partitioning
  • real-time
  • embedded systems


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