Embedded Hypervisor

Definition of Embedded Hypervisor

An Embedded Hypervisor, also known as a Type-1 Hypervisor, is a virtualization layer that runs directly on the hardware of a system, creating multiple isolated virtual machine environments. These environments share the underlying hardware resources, such as computing power, storage, and memory. The primary focus of an Embedded Hypervisor is to improve resource allocation, simplify system management, and increase overall efficiency within the virtualized infrastructure.


ɛmˈbɛdɪd haɪˈpərvɪzər

Key Takeaways

  1. Embedded Hypervisors are specialized virtualization software specifically designed for embedded systems, allowing for efficient and secure isolation of system components, improving their stability and reliability.
  2. They enable the concurrent running of multiple operating systems, creating virtual environments for independent applications, thereby providing better resource utilization, easier software updates, and improved system configuration flexibility.
  3. Embedded Hypervisors enhance overall system security by protecting each virtual application’s environment, reducing the risks of unauthorized access and ensuring smooth system operation, even if one application or operating system encounters issues or crashes.

Importance of Embedded Hypervisor

The term Embedded Hypervisor is important because it highlights a crucial aspect of modern computing technology that optimizes the performance and security of various digital systems.

An embedded hypervisor is a lightweight, compact software layer that oversees the allocation and management of hardware resources among multiple operating systems or applications running on a single physical machine.

This virtualization technology enables a more efficient use of computational power and system resources, improving overall system reliability and flexibility.

Additionally, with the increased utilization of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and edge computing, embedded hypervisors play a pivotal role in providing efficient system performance and advanced security measures to protect against potential cyber threats.


The Embedded Hypervisor serves a crucial purpose in the world of virtualization by providing a stable and secure environment for running multiple operating systems, or virtual machines (VMs), concurrently on a single piece of hardware. Its primary function is to enable the efficient management and allocation of hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, among the different VMs.

This allows organizations to consolidate their hardware infrastructure, reduce operational costs, and achieve better resource utilization. Furthermore, this virtualization technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing system security, enabling workload isolation, and facilitating system migration and recovery.

Another significant aspect of the Embedded Hypervisor is its ability to facilitate the development of complex embedded systems across various industry verticals, including automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT). As the demand for smart and connected devices grows exponentially, the need for a robust virtualization layer that can streamline development and deployment processes becomes increasingly essential. In this context, the Embedded Hypervisor simplifies system integration by allowing multiple, independent operating systems with heterogeneous workloads to operate securely and concurrently on a single hardware platform.

This seamless integration leads to accelerated time-to-market, enhanced performance and efficiency, and improved system reliability, making the Embedded Hypervisor a vital component in modern-day technology applications.

Examples of Embedded Hypervisor

Automotive Systems: Embedded hypervisors play a key role in modern automotive systems, ensuring that various electronic control units (ECUs) operate independently and securely. For example, the Green Hills Software INTEGRITY Multivisor uses an embedded hypervisor to securely isolate critical systems, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicle control systems, from infotainment and other non-critical systems. This improves both safety and system performance in modern vehicles.

Medical Devices: Medical devices, such as patient monitoring systems and medical imaging equipment, often require highly reliable and secure environments. The use of embedded hypervisors in these devices allows multiple applications and operating systems to run concurrently and securely on a single hardware platform, enabling reduced development time and better system performance. For example, the LynxSecure separation kernel hypervisor is used in medical devices for secure separation of critical and non-critical application components.

Industrial Automation: In industrial automation systems, embedded hypervisors are used to manage multiple real-time operating systems (RTOS) and applications on the same hardware platform securely and efficiently. For example, Siemens’ SIMATIC WinCC Runtime Advanced software uses the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system and an embedded hypervisor to allow users to run both Windows-based applications and real-time automation tasks simultaneously. This enables optimized system performance, increased efficiency and reduced downtime in industrial automation processes.

Embedded Hypervisor FAQ

What is an Embedded Hypervisor?

An Embedded Hypervisor is a type of virtualization software that is integrated into the firmware or operating system of a device. It allows for efficient management and control of virtual machines running on the same physical hardware, providing various advantages like improved performance, security, and resource allocation.

What are the key features of an Embedded Hypervisor?

The key features of an Embedded Hypervisor include: minimal resource usage, hardware-assisted virtualization, real-time capabilities, fault-tolerance, support for heterogeneous systems and platforms, and customizable functionality.

What are the benefits of using an Embedded Hypervisor?

Benefits of using an Embedded Hypervisor include: reduced hardware costs, efficient resource utilization, better security, simplified management, faster time-to-market, support for multiple operating systems, and flexibility in application deployment.

How does an Embedded Hypervisor improve system performance?

An Embedded Hypervisor improves system performance by optimizing resource usage and implementing advanced virtualization techniques. This allows multiple virtual machines to operate simultaneously without any significant impact on performance or stability.

What are some common use cases for Embedded Hypervisors?

Embedded Hypervisors are commonly used in industries like automotive, aerospace, industrial automation, telecommunication, and medical devices. Some typical use cases include: in-vehicle infotainment systems, engine control units, aircraft system management, robotic process automation, network function virtualization, and medical imaging devices.

Related Technology Terms

  • Virtual Machine Monitors (VMM)
  • Firmware Virtualization
  • Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM)
  • Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) Integration
  • Hardware-Assisted Virtualization

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