OKL4 Microvisor

Open Kernel Labs

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OKL4 is a microkernel-based embedded hypervisor - called a microvisor, supporting mobile virtualization, componentization, and security.
OKL4 Microvisor


  • Virtualization: Using unique Secure HyperCell Technology, OKL4 can host VMs consisting of complete OSes and software stacks, down to stand-alone device drivers or other bare metal code in individual, isolated cells. Code inside a cell executes in unprivileged mode, with hardware memory protection isolating cells from one another. Fine grained control over resource allocation, communication, and security makes development easier, software more reliable, and systems more secure
  • Microkernel-based: By building on a microkernel architecture, the OKL4 Microvisor offers mobile OEMs not just high performance mobile virtualization, but opportunities to segment applications into smaller, more secure, and more manageable software components
  • This results in software that is easier to develop, more reliable, and more secure
  • Resource management: OKL4 manages cell resources independently, allocating system resources to single cells or shared among cells
  • The ability to closely match resources to the specific requirements of each cell allows more optimal implementation, which allows the software to make the greatest possible use of the underlying hardware
  • Lightweight components: OKL4 components and device drivers are not tied to a specific mobile phone OS. This independent approach allows independent development and reuse of key system software, reducing the size of the development effort and the time required
  • Customizable APIs: OKL4 lightweight execution environments feature customizable APIs, allowing software-targeting legacy operating systems or industry standard APIs like POSIX to be reused without being ported.
  • Real-time capability and low performance overhead: OKL4 performance optimizations target context switching, IPCs, and other characteristics with significant impact on real-time response and throughput. OKL4 performance enables a single processor to simultaneously meet the needs of real-time services and rich applications, which in turn enables the use of a lower cost SoC.
  • Small memory footprint: OKL4's modest memory requirements make OKL4 easy to include even within the resource constraints of mobile phones and other embedded systems.
  • Minimal Trusted Computing Base (TCB): The OKL4 Microvisor architecture presents a small TCB for subsystems or services with higher security requirements. A smaller TCB means a higher level of security.
  • Extensible and maintainable: OKL4 is written in C and built from a modular common code base, allowing OK Labs to deliver enhancements and extensions over time.
  • Guest OS support: OK Labs systematic and efficient approach to paravirtualizing guest OSes for use with OKL4 has resulted in support for a wide range of OSes and application environments, including RTOSes, multiple Linux distributions, Android, and Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile. Whatever the Guest OS requirements, an OK solution can be provided.
  • Licensing: OK Labs provides the OKL4 Microvisor under an open-source license for non-commercial use and commercial licensing for product deployment. The open-source license allows for no-fuss, hands-on evaluation of OKL4 by downloading the software from the OK Labs developer Wiki. Open-source OKL4 is user-friendly and has enabled broad adoption for research and education.

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