NUL - The NOVA UserLand


The NOVA OS Virtualization Architecture is a research project aimed at constructing a secure virtualization environment with a small trusted computing base. NOVA consists of a microhypervisor and an unprivileged multi-server user environment - NOVA User Land - running on top of it.

NOVA architecture

NUL is the multi-server user environment designed for NOVA. It is componentized into host-drivers, device models and virtual executors. From these components applications are build. The most prominent apps are the Partition Manager, called sigma0, and the x86 VMM (Virtual-Machine Monitor) called Vancouver.

The Partition Manager statically partitions the platform resources such as memory or CPU. Device drivers, for example for the disk and the graphics card, are linked to it. Moving them out to their own tasks is currently work in progress.

The VMM allows to run unmodified guest operating systems ontop of the microhypervisor. It contains the virtual device models to give an OS the illusion of running on bare hardware. Furthermore it emulates realmode and MMIO instructions and provides a virtual BIOS.

Nightly generated NUL material:


11 May 2012
NUL available via github
The latest development versions of the NOVA microhypervisor and the NOVA user land are available via github:
28 July 2011
NUL 0.4 prereleased.
17 February 2011
NUL 0.3 prereleased.
6 August 2010
NUL 0.2 prereleased.
27 April 2010
Clarified license plates.
24 December 2009
NUL prereleased.
24 December 2009
NOVA Xmas Alpha Demo CD available.
23 December 2009
NOVA microhypervisor prereleased.

Bernhard Kauer Julian Stecklina Alexander Boettcher Michal Sojka
Last modified: Thu May 11 10:01:03 CEST 2012