Industry News Desk
Real-Time Systems Presents New Hypervisor Virtualization Technology
Hypervisor Technology Now Supports Microsoft Windows XP on Intel Multi-Core Execution Platform
Jul. 16, 2008 10:00 AM
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.
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
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.