Microkernel for scalable routing system

Ottawa, ON, Canada—QNX Software Systems reports that Cisco Systems is using an optimized version of QNX’s Neutrino microkernel in Cisco’s recently announced IOS XR software.


Ottawa, ON, Canada— QNX Software Systems reports that Cisco Systems is using an optimized version of QNX’s Neutrino microkernel in Cisco’s recently announced IOS XR software. As the newest member of Cisco’s IOS software family, IOS XR is designed to deliver continuous system operation and advanced routing features on the multi-terabit distributed architecture of Cisco’s CRS-1 carrier routing system.

Known for its reliability in mission- and life-critical applications, QNX Neutrino provides a modular architecture optimized for carrier-class availability, scalability, and dynamic service upgrades. Cisco engineers used QNX Neutrino as a foundation for their CRS-1's self-healing capabilities and network scalability. With millions of installations worldwide and 24 years of proven performance in the field, QNX adds that its microkernel technology supports users running continuous applications in which failure is not an option, such as medical instruments, 911 call centers, control systems for nuclear reactors, high-speed trains, and semiconductor manufacturing.

'We’re delighted to contribute to Cisco's breakthrough routing innovation through the development of the Cisco CRS-1,' says Dan Dodge, QNX’s CEO. 'By leveraging the QNX Neutrino microkernel as a key building block of Cisco IOS XR Software, Cisco is delivering a next-generation routing system that raises the bar in terms of reliability and service flexibility.'

QNX Neutrino microkernel’s features include:

  • Modular architecture. QNX Neutrino cleanly separates components such as drivers, protocol stacks, file systems, and applications from each other and from the microkernel itself, enabling system upgrades and software hotswaps on the fly, without costly downtime or service interruptions. Full memory protection enables fault isolation and maximum reliability.

  • Transparent distributed processing. In the QNX Neutrino microkernel, applications and system services become network distributed without any special code, simplifying the design of fault-tolerant multiprocessor applications and enabling large, highly distributed systems.

  • Symmetric mulitprocessing (SMP). QNX says Neutrino is the only real-time microkernel capable of symmetric multiprocessing, which allows carriers to use the massive compute power of multi-core and multi-processor platforms based on x86, MIPS, and PowerPC architectures.

  • Critical process monitoring. QNX Neutrino offers a fine-grained approach to fault isolation and recovery, increasing MTBF and reducing MTTR. Critical process monitoring allows automatic recovery from even low-level faults, enabling self-healing networks.

  • POSIX conformance. QNX Neutrino was the first microkernel to conform to POSIX and is in certification testing for the 2003 edition. By adhering to POSIX API specifications, QNX Neutrino ensures maximum interoperability and portability, accelerating time to market and reducing risk.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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