Microdrivers: A new architecture for device drivers

Vinod Ganapathy, Arini Balakrishnan, Michael M. Swift, Somesh Jha

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Commodity operating systems achieve good performance by running device drivers in-kernel. Unfortunately, this architecture offers poor fault isolation. This paper introduces microdrivers, which reduce the amount of driver code running in the kernel by splitting driver functionality between a small kernel-mode component and a larger user-mode component. This paper presents the microdriver architecture and techniques to refactor existing device drivers into microdrivers, achieving most of the benefits of user-mode drivers with the performance of kernel-mode drivers. Experiments on a network driver show that 75% of its code can be removed from the kernel without affecting common-case performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2007
Event11th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HotOS 2007 - San Diego, United States
Duration: May 7 2007May 9 2007


Conference11th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HotOS 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems


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