Important

This is the latest documentation for the unstable development branch of Project ACRN (master).
Use the drop-down menu on the left to select documentation for a stable release such as v2.7.

Using GRUB to Boot ACRN

GRUB is a multiboot bootloader used by many popular Linux distributions. It also supports booting the ACRN hypervisor. See http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/grub-download.html to get the latest GRUB source code and https://www.gnu.org/software/grub/grub-documentation.html for detailed documentation.

The ACRN hypervisor can boot from the multiboot protocol or multiboot2 protocol. Compared with the multiboot protocol, the multiboot2 protocol adds UEFI support.

The multiboot protocol is supported by the ACRN hypervisor natively. The multiboot2 protocol is supported when hv.FEATURES.MULTIBOOT2 is enabled in the scenario configuration. The hv.FEATURES.MULTIBOOT2 is enabled by default. To load the hypervisor with the multiboot protocol, run the GRUB multiboot command. To load the hypervisor with the multiboot2 protocol, run the multiboot2 command. To load a VM kernel or ramdisk, run the GRUB module command for the multiboot protocol or the module2 command for the multiboot2 protocol.

The ACRN hypervisor binary is built with two formats: acrn.32.out in ELF format and acrn.bin in RAW format. The GRUB multiboot command supports ELF format only and does not support binary relocation, even if hv.FEATURES.RELOC is set. The GRUB multiboot2 command supports ELF format when hv.FEATURES.RELOC is not set, or RAW format when hv.FEATURES.RELOC is set.

Note

  • hv.FEATURES.RELOC is set by default, so use acrn.32.out in the multiboot protocol and acrn.bin in the multiboot2 protocol.

  • Per ACPI specification, the RSDP pointer is described in the EFI System Table instead of the legacy ACPI RSDP area on a UEFI-enabled platform. To make sure the ACRN hypervisor gets the correct ACPI RSDP information, we recommend using acrn.bin with the multiboot2 protocol to load the hypervisor on a UEFI platform.

Using Pre-Installed GRUB

Most Linux distributions use GRUB version 2 by default. For version 2.02 or higher, we can reuse the pre-installed GRUB to load the ACRN hypervisor.

Here’s an example using Ubuntu to load ACRN on a scenario with two pre-launched VMs:

  1. Copy the ACRN hypervisor binary acrn.32.out (or acrn.bin) and the pre-launched VM kernel images to /boot/;

  2. Modify the /etc/default/grub file as follows to make the GRUB menu visible when booting:

    # GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
    GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=false
    
  3. Append the following configuration in the /etc/grub.d/40_custom file:

    Configuration template for multiboot protocol:

    menuentry 'Boot ACRN hypervisor from multiboot' {
       insmod part_gpt
       insmod ext2
       echo 'Loading ACRN hypervisor ...'
       multiboot --quirk-modules-after-kernel /boot/acrn.32.out $(HV bootargs) $(Service VM bootargs)
       module /boot/kernel4vm0 xxxxxx $(VM0 bootargs)
       module /boot/kernel4vm1 yyyyyy $(VM1 bootargs)
    }
    

    Configuration template for multiboot2 protocol:

    menuentry 'Boot ACRN hypervisor from multiboot2' {
       insmod part_gpt
       insmod ext2
       echo 'Loading ACRN hypervisor ...'
       multiboot2 /boot/acrn.bin $(HV bootargs) $(Service VM bootargs)
       module2 /boot/kernel4vm0 xxxxxx $(VM0 bootargs)
       module2 /boot/kernel4vm1 yyyyyy $(VM1 bootargs)
    }
    

    Note

    The module /boot/kernel4vm0 is the VM0 kernel file. The param xxxxxx is VM0’s kernel file tag and must exactly match the kernel_mod_tag of VM0 configured in the misc/vm_configs/scenarios/$(SCENARIO)/vm_configurations.c file. The multiboot module /boot/kernel4vm1 is the VM1 kernel file and the param yyyyyy is its tag and must exactly match the kernel_mod_tag of VM1 in the misc/vm_configs/scenarios/$(SCENARIO)/vm_configurations.c file.

    The VM kernel command-line arguments are configured in the hypervisor source code by default if no $(VMx bootargs) is present. If $(VMx bootargs) is present, the default command-line arguments are overridden by the $(VMx bootargs) parameters.

    The $(Service VM bootargs) parameter in the multiboot command is appended to the end of the Service VM kernel command line. If a command-line configuration parameter is specified more than once, the last one wins and earlier ones are ignored. For example, adding root=/dev/sda3 will override the original root device for the Service VM kernel.

    All parameters after a # character are ignored since GRUB treats them as comments.

    \, $, # are special characters in GRUB. An escape character \ must be added before these special characters if they are included in $(HV bootargs) or $(VM bootargs). For example, memmap=0x200000$0xE00000 for the VM kernel command line must be written as memmap=0x200000\$0xE00000.

  4. Update GRUB:

    sudo update-grub
    
  5. Reboot the platform. On the platform’s console, select the Boot ACRN hypervisor xxx entry to boot the ACRN hypervisor. The GRUB loader will boot the hypervisor, and the hypervisor will start the VMs automatically.

Installing Self-Built GRUB

If the GRUB version on your platform is outdated or has issues booting the ACRN hypervisor, you can use a self-built GRUB binary. Get the latest GRUB code and follow the GRUB Manual to build and install your own GRUB, and then follow the steps described earlier in Using Pre-Installed GRUB.

Here we provide another simple method to build GRUB in EFI application format:

  1. Make a GRUB EFI application:

    git clone https://git.savannah.gnu.org/git/grub.git
    cd grub
    ./bootstrap
    ./configure --with-platform=efi --target=x86_64
    make
    ./grub-mkimage -p /EFI/BOOT -d ./grub-core/ -O x86_64-efi -o grub_x86_64.efi \
          boot efifwsetup efi_gop efinet efi_uga lsefimmap lsefi lsefisystab \
          exfat fat multiboot2 multiboot terminal part_msdos part_gpt normal \
          all_video aout configfile echo file fixvideo fshelp gfxterm gfxmenu \
          gfxterm_background gfxterm_menu legacycfg video_bochs video_cirrus \
          video_colors video_fb videoinfo video net tftp
    

    This will build a grub_x86_64.efi binary in the current directory and copy it to the /EFI/boot/ directory on the EFI partition (it is typically mounted under the /boot/efi/ directory on rootfs).

  2. Create /EFI/boot/grub.cfg file containing the following:

    set default=0
    set timeout=5
    # set correct root device which stores acrn binary and kernel images
    set root='hd0,gpt3'
    
    menuentry 'Boot ACRN hypervisor from multiboot' {
       insmod part_gpt
       insmod ext2
       echo 'Loading ACRN hypervisor ...'
       multiboot --quirk-modules-after-kernel /boot/acrn.32.out $(HV bootargs) $(Service VM bootargs)
       module /boot/kernel4vm0 xxxxxx $(VM0 bootargs)
       module /boot/kernel4vm1 yyyyyy $(VM1 bootargs)
    }
    
    menuentry 'Boot ACRN hypervisor from multiboot2' {
       insmod part_gpt
       insmod ext2
       echo 'Loading ACRN hypervisor ...'
       multiboot2 /boot/acrn.bin $(HV bootargs) $(Service VM bootargs)
       module2 /boot/kernel4vm0 xxxxxx $(VM0 bootargs)
       module2 /boot/kernel4vm1 yyyyyy $(VM1 bootargs)
    }
    
  3. Copy the ACRN binary and VM kernel images to the GRUB-configured directory, e.g., the /boot/ directory on /dev/sda3/.

  4. Run /EFI/boot/grub_x86_64.efi in the EFI shell.