Getting started

Not many know what goes behind the scene when we press the power button on our computer. Fewer people know that the time it takes to fully boot a computer is affected by legacy code in the BIOS, making our brand new machines to go through through the very same steps that early computers in the 70s went through. Regardless, our personal computers boot fast enough – perhaps a minute or two at the maximum. However, the story becomes different when we’re talking about huge server racks in data centers. Bringing down the boot time of the servers has a range of applications, one of them being a potential reduction in the power consumption of large data centers.

This summer I will be conducting a research to prove that it is possible to bring down the boot time through virtualization. More specifically, by replacing the BIOS firmware with a kernel that is small enough to fit in the ROM where the BIOS usually resides but capable enough to launch a virtual machine monitor, which will run the server OS as its hosts.

I anticipate this blog’s posts to be little more technical/jargonish than what most people are used to, so I will try to not only post the progress of my research but also background information on the topic from time to time.