RT-CASEs: Container-Based Virtualization for Temporally Separated Mixed-Criticality Task Sets

Authors Marcello Cinque , Raffaele Della Corte, Antonio Eliso, Antonio Pecchia

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Author Details

Marcello Cinque
  • Federico II University of Naples, Italy
Raffaele Della Corte
  • Federico II University of Naples, Italy
Antonio Eliso
  • Federico II University of Naples, Italy
Antonio Pecchia
  • Federico II University of Naples, Italy


We are thankful to the anonymous reviewers of the ECRTS program committee for the valuable comments, which allowed us to improve the paper and provided useful guidance to better target our future research efforts on rt-cases.

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Marcello Cinque, Raffaele Della Corte, Antonio Eliso, and Antonio Pecchia. RT-CASEs: Container-Based Virtualization for Temporally Separated Mixed-Criticality Task Sets. In 31st Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS 2019). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 133, pp. 5:1-5:22, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


This paper presents the notion of real-time containers, or rt-cases, conceived as the convergence of container-based virtualization technologies, such as Docker, and hard real-time operating systems. The idea is to allow critical containers, characterized by stringent timeliness and reliability requirements, to cohabit with traditional non real-time containers on the same hardware. The approach allows to keep the advantages of real-time virtualization, largely adopted in the industry, while reducing its inherent scalability limitation when to be applied to large-scale mixed-criticality systems or severely constrained hardware environments. The paper provides a reference architecture scheme for implementing the real-time container concept on top of a Linux kernel patched with a hard real-time co-kernel, and it discusses a possible solution, based on execution time monitoring, to achieve temporal separation of fixed-priority hard real-time periodic tasks running within containers with different criticality levels. The solution has been implemented using Docker over a Linux kernel patched with RTAI. Experimental results on real machinery show how the implemented solution is able to achieve temporal separation on a variety of random task sets, despite the presence of faulty tasks within a container that systematically exceed their worst case execution time.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Real-time systems software
  • Containers
  • mixed-criticality
  • temporal separation
  • monitoring


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