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Real-Time Systems Presents New Hypervisor Virtualization Technology
Hypervisor Technology Now Supports Microsoft Windows XP on Intel Multi-Core Execution Platform

Real-Time Systems introduced the latest version of its Real-Time Hypervisor software. This software product, which enables the simultaneous running of multiple operating systems on multi-core processors, also supports Microsoft Windows XP.

Moore's Law states that the number of transistors on an integrated computer chip doubles approximately every two years while all other measures of performance increase correspondingly. Although true in the past, it is known that physical and economical factors would one day set a limit to the promise of constantly increasing CPU performance while maintaining customary price levels. For that reason, and in order to maintain the upward trend, the semiconductor industry has turned to multi-core CPU designs, which have permitted Moore's Law to continue to be valid. While the potential for exploiting the power of multiple CPU cores has not yet been completely realized, manufacturers of standard operating systems are pressing on with development programs that will one day allow their operating systems to take greater advantage of such platforms.

The situation for embedded system designs is different, however. To take advantage of multi-core CPU's, more and more real-time software manufacturers have been forced to develop individual, i.e., custom, solutions. A few years ago, having recognized with foresight the problems inherent in custom solutions, Real-Time Systems GmbH developed a software product to make it possible for embedded application engineers to run standard operating systems, both real-time and conventional, on Intel multi-core platforms.

Conventional virtualization solutions (‘hypervisors') are generally implemented by interposing an additional software layer between an operating system and the CPU core that it uses. Unfortunately, this kind of solution often influences the deterministic behavior of the real-time system.

In contrast to that, the RTS Real-time Hypervisor makes it possible to run - simultaneously, independently and robustly - a number of standard (homogeneous or heterogeneous) operating systems on a single x-86 multi-core execution platform. Moreover, RTS software technology does not in the least interfere with any of the supported operating systems' timing behavior.

By means of the RTS Hypervisor's configuration file, users exclusively assign each operating system to (at least) one CPU core; in a comparable fashion, they assign other system resources, such as PCI devices or memory regions, to specific operating systems. To secure and protect real-time system behavior, the RTS Hypervisor gives each real-time operating system direct control of its own assigned peripheral devices. And because such devices are neither virtualized nor simulated, standard off-the-shelf device drivers can be used. To provide additional flexibility, a user may specify the booting sequence of the various operating systems; even in a fully-running system, any individual operating system can be re-booted, if desired. Despite the strict separation of the operating system environments, provision for inter-system communication has been made by means of Shared Memory and a Virtual Network.

By enabling the support of Microsoft Windows XP in the RTH Hypervisor environment, RTS has opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for innovative embedded systems. There are countless time-critical applications that would profit by simultaneously running both the real-time software and Windows-based man-machine interfaces on the same PC. Industrial Automation is just one of many disciplines for which this technology would be interesting. Finally, it is important to note that by using a single host platform for both real-time and conventional processing, overall system costs and complexity can be dramatically reduced.

Currently, the RTS Hypervisor supports Windows XP, Windows CE and Linux, as well as VxWorks, PharLab ETS and Microware  OS-9. Support for additional operating systems is in progress. RTS Hypervisor, ver. 1.5, is available now. Version 2.0 is scheduled to be released in the fall.

About Virtualization News
SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.

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