I just got back from the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley (ESC SV), and I saw an impressive array of new products and services from members of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Here are my favorites:
On the hardware side, my top pick from the show is Emerson’s new RapiDex Service quick-turn custom board service (Figure 1). Prototype boards are delivered within eight weeks—a remarkably short timeframe—and the volume commitment is only 100 pieces. The service is available for select platforms, starting with the Intel® Atom™ E6xx processor series. If you have a project that can use the platform, I highly recommend investigating the service.
Figure 1. The RapidEx Service produces prototypes in just eight weeks.
I was also intrigued by Eurotech’s new Eurotech Everyware Device Cloud (EDC), an end-to-end cloud-based platform that connects distributed devices to business applications (Figure 2). I was thoroughly impressed by how much the EDC simplifies the creation of machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions that connect embedded devices to a network. The EDC incorporates:
- Eurotech’s Intel® Atom™ processor-based rugged industrial hardware.
- The Everyware Software Framework (ESF), a middleware platform that provides standard connectivity and communications capabilities. This platform incorporates Wind River Linux, Java, OSGi, and a variety of market-specific middleware bundles.
- The Everyware Device Cloud Client, which connects field devices to the cloud.
- The Isidorey Device Cloud, which uses commercial cloud services to provide standards-base connectivity between field devices and business processes, dashboards, and reports.
Figure 2. Eurotech’s Everywhere Device Cloud simplifies design of M2M applications.
In addition to simplifying the design process, the Eurotech EDC can greatly reduce costs. For example, the architecture allows data to be gathered on cloud servers, reducing the burden on the end customer’s data center. If you are working on an M2M application, you should take a look at Eurotech—it could make your job easier and save your customer money.
Finally, I give high marks to Super Micro’s compact, high-reliability industrial PCs. SuperMicro’s new SuperCompact Power Modules are remarkably small, enabling redundancy where space and thermal limitations are a challenge. For example, the new SYS-5017C-MTRF server combines a X9SCL-F ATX motherboard with two of the new supplies for a redundant hot-swappable solution in a 1U Rack mount enclosure (Figure 3). It’s worth noting that Super Micro is also ahead of the pack on processor technology. Its SYS-5017C-MTRF is one of the first products to use the new Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1200 family.
Figure 3. SuperMicro’s latest solution provides redundancy in a compact 1U form factor.
There was plenty to like on the software side, too. My top pick there is the new INtime Distributed RTOS from TenAsys. With this RTOS, programmers can treat a distributed multi-platform system as if it was a single local platform. As shown in Figure 4, the RTOS can run multiple kernels simultaneously. These kernels can run within a single system—for example, a kernel can run on each core in a multi-core system—or across separate platforms. A unique Inter Process Communication (IPC) technology called GOBsnet ensures deterministic communication between kernels regardless of their physical location, and programming is done with standard Microsoft Visual Studio software. It’s quite an impressive solution.
Figure 4. The GOBSnet IPC enables distributed multi-core processing across networked devices.
I was also impressed by Wind River Linux Secure, a new EAL 4+ and FIPS 140-2 certified platform (Figure 5). As far as I know, this is the first embedded Linux distribution to be so certified. This is a great new option for developers building security- and safety-critical defense systems. The certification also benefits medical, industrial, and telecom applications where security and safety are critical.
Figure 5. Wind River Linux Secure is certified for use in defense, medical, and other mission-critical applications.
Continuing the security theme, Green Hills Software announced the launch of its INTEGRITY* Security Services (ISS). Among other things, this business unit is offering a High Assurance Embedded Cryptographic Toolkit (HA-ECT) that leverages the new Intel® AES-NI instructions for accelerated cryptography. This toolkit is FIPS 140-2 level 1 validated and is NSA Suite B-enabled.
Green Hills Software also previewed an upcoming upgrade for its INTEGRITY* Multivisor that will add support for OpenGl and sharing of graphics drivers. A beta of this new feature was shown at the show in an in-vehicle infotainment application. The demo showed remarkable responsiveness—switching from a MeeGo navigation application to an INTEGRITY-based rear-camera view took less than a second (Figure 6).
Figure 6. The Green Hills Software demo showed highly responsive virtualization on the Intel® Atom procesor.
Finally, LynuxWorks had its first demo of its LynxSecure 5.0 secure separation kernel. This platform has been upgraded to provide higher-performance virtualization, which now includes virtualization of 64-bit and SMP operating systems. Among other benefits, this means developers can now run Windows 7 64-bit in a high-performance, secure environment.
LynxSecure 5.0 also gains the capacity to share peripherals among virtual machines through a secure device server, lowering system costs (Figure 7). LynxSecure 5.0 is the first version to be ported to Intel Atom processors, offering the benefits of secure virtualization to low-cost and low-power devices.
Figure 7. LynxSecure 5.0 supports 64-bit and SMP OSs, and gains the capacity to share peripherals.
All in all it was a great show. If you attended, I’d love to hear about the products and services you saw. What impressed you?
Emerson Network Power is a Premier member of the Intel® Embedded Alliance. Eurotech and Wind River Systems are Associate members of the Alliance. Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks, Super Micro Computing, and TenAsys are Affiliate members of the Alliance.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Embedded Alliance
Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine