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2 Posts authored by: lxiao_radisys

After a recent customer visit with a market-leading OEM specializing in automation equipment for high-end printing operations, I’m more excited than ever about the potential of multi-core in embedded applications. This OEM specializes in designing Finishing Control Systems (FCS), which are installed on state-of-the-art equipment found in printing centers, such as binders, saddle stitchers, multi-mailers, poly-wrappers, envelope inserters, and presses.


Historically, the FCS has consisted of two distinct computers. One computer is dedicated to hard real-time automation applications—machine tracking, I/O control, record file handling and data collection-- that must be carried out in strictly deterministic fashion, only achievable within a hard real-time operating system framework. The second is a separate general purpose system which handles all non-deterministic applications in the enterprise domain---such as the user interface--built on commercial general-purpose operating framework. Currently, each of these two computers runs on an entirely separate board.


For their next generation of industrial automation platforms, the customer’s systems architects reached to the latest multi-core processors—the Intel Core 2 Duo. Beside the obvious cost/performance/power advantages of multi-core, they were attracted to the possibility of consolidating both—the real-time operating environment and the general-purpose applications—onto a single board/chassis. And although the processing power was there to make such evolutionary leap, there were formidable challenges. How to efficiently marry the two different operating environments to run side-by-side on a single chip, while at the same time:


  • Guaranteeing hard real-time performance of their automation applications?
  • Enabling communication between the two systems without impacting safety, security and performance of either?
  • Efficiently migrating the thousands of man-hours invested into their proprietary code for industrial applications to the new multi-core system?


As it happens, a solution meeting these requirements is already available. The RadiSys Procelerant IS 1000 application-ready platform is based on Microware Hypervisor virtualization technology. This “embedded” hypervisor enables multiple operating systems to simultaneously run either multiple instances of a real-time operating system, or a heterogeneous mixture of operating systems on a single execution platform. Unlike hypervisor architectures common in the enterprise domain, the real-time operating system runs unmodified in assigned protected partitions that provide direct hardware access. Each operating system runs independently and at full speed, accessing assigned I/O devices without interference from the other OS, while sharing data and coordinating processes through shared memory and efficient virtual networks.




The virtualized environment of the Procelerant IS 1000 platform delivers on all fronts, as it:


  • Guarantees real-time performance of industrial automation applications,
  • Partitions real-time and general-purpose environments for enhanced safety, security and system peformance,
  • Provides an easy migration path of proprietary application code to a multi-core platform.


Starting with a COTS application-ready platform like the Procelerant IS 1000 gives the OEM developers access to open, industry-standard technologies, including processors, boards, chassis, and software stacks such as industrial Ethernet and TCP/IP. Hardened for industrial applications, the Procelerant IS 1000 is already certified for reliable operations within the extreme conditionns of the industrial setting, such as extended temperature range of -25C to +70C. This complete framework allows application developers to focus on their value-ad – bringing innovative automation solutions to the market faster, with less risk and at lower cost.


And their customers will now benefit from the full potential of multi-core. With fewer computers in the virtualized system, their printing facilities will realize improved level of productivity, while achieving increased reliability (MTBF) of the system, diving better economics of the total cost of ownership.


What is your multicore story?


Linda Xiao
Director, Software & Integrated Systems

Doing More with Less

Posted by lxiao_radisys Mar 17, 2009
No matter what you’re building these days, everyone is marching to the same tune; must do more with less. Less people and less money. Now more than ever multi-core technology has the potential to help equipment manufacturers optimize budgets and meet demanding product development schedules. This is true in many market segments including industrial automation.

Multi-core technology has really changed computing by delivering energy-efficient performance thanks to advanced parallel processing and 45nm technology. And the technology allows full execution of multiple software threads in a single package. Holy cow! This means you can assign different function to each execution core, splitting the compute power and energy consumption among several cores, which leads to increased productivity and lower power consumption – both big benefits in an era of doing more with less.

For companies developing complex embedded systems that power demanding, real-time industrial automation equipment, multi-core technology can help cut development time and maximize resources. Music to anyone’s ears – right?  . Well, imagine combining the power of multi-core technology with virtualization technology like Microware Real-time Hypervisor. This would allow multiple operating systems to run concurrently, at full speed, without interruption. The combination means equipment manufacturers could consolidate legacy hardware, real-time control software and general purpose applications into a single embedded compute module, meaning companies can reuse their existing system software, which is less taxing on their engineering resources. And… they can pass this cost savings along to end user by delivering one compute system that can manage several industrial automation functions like computer numeric control and programmable logic control.
In an environment where budgets are highly scrutinized and pressure to deliver next generation products is monumental, equipment manufacturers need to look to vendors who can provide fully-integrated, performance ready, works out-of-the-box embedded systems to help them reduce development cycles and lower costs. For more information on how RadiSys is helping developers achieve these goals, visit:

Message Edited by lxiao_radisys on 03-18-2009 10:27 AM

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