On-chip message passing sub-system for embedded inter-domain communication

By Garcia, P.; Gomes, T.; Monteiro, J.; Tavares, A.; Ekpanyapong, M.

IEEE Computer Architecture Letters

2016

Abstract

This letter describes the architecture of an inter-domain message passing hardware sub-system targeting the embedded virtualization field. Embedded virtualization is characterized by application-specific solutions, where functionality is partitioned into a small, fixed number of Virtual Machines, typically under real-time constraints, which must communicate for synchronization and status signaling. In light of the growing use of custom hardware, especially supported by (re)configurable platforms, we show how our hardware sub-system can provide virtualization-safe data transfers, without the need for Hypervisor (software) mediation, through the use of translate-once and virtual-interface hardware mechanisms, allowing direct memory-to-memory copies between different partitions' input/output buffers, in both direct-transfer and publishsubscribe modes. Our experiments show our architecture is especially suited for the real time domain, outperforming an equivalent software solution in latencies, throughput and jitter, and outperforming state of the art hardware solutions for small message sizes ( < 512 B).

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