Secure, Fault-Tolerance in Xen for Partitioned, Mixed-Criticality Applications

Period of Performance: 06/03/2008 - 12/03/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barron Assoc., Inc.
Principal Investigator


There is a need for a computing infrastructure that supports the power, weight, security, and certification requirements of the growing UAV community. To address this need, Barron Associates will develop a fault-tolerant platform, suitable for eventual certification, providing security and time/space/resource partitioning for mixed-criticality applications developed for multiple, different operating systems. Xen, a Virtual Machine Monitor, will provide the base for the proposed architecture. To Xen, Barron Associates will add real-time scheduling, hypervisor fault tolerance, and application fault tolerance. As real-time scheduling and hypervisor fault tolerance are expected to pose little technical risk, this proposal focuses on application fault tolerance, which represents a complex space of trade offs between: reliability; availability; response time after failure; application modification cost; guest OS modification cost; hardware cost; and security. Barron Associates will explore this space and develop a framework with which system designers can reason consistently about the trade offs that must be made, allowing a better fit between application requirements, fault tolerance, and system resource utilization. To show that the design space is valid and applicable, Barron Associates will sample the design space, proposing candidate designs and will demonstrate candidate safety-critical applications, showing that the designs support the requirements of realistic applications.