Multiprocessing RTOS coming for multicore CPUs

At Embedded Systems Conference-San Francisco in March, Enea Embedded Technology announced that it would offer later in 2005 an “enhanced” Asymmetric Multiprocessing (AMP) solution with integrated load balancing for its OSE real-time operating system (RTOS).


Enea’s AMP solution reportedly will give designers full control over how tasks are distributed, along with real-time response and control. Initial devices to be targeted include Freescale's 8641D and Broadcom's BCM 12xx and 14xx processors.

At Embedded Systems Conference-San Francisco in March, Enea Embedded Technology announced that it would offer later in 2005 an “enhanced” Asymmetric Multiprocessing (AMP) solution with integrated load balancing for its OSE real-time operating system (RTOS). So-called OSE AMP promises a real-time alternative to traditional SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) solutions for multicore and other multiprocessor systems. OSE is the company’s memory-protected RTOS optimized for high-availability/reliability distributed communications systems.

AMP solution expects to build on OSE's Link Handler technology, a message-passing framework for interprocess communications, enabling applications running on multiple processors to interact as if they were running on one processor. “This framework, together with innovative load-balancing technology, will ensure optimal distribution of processes across multiple processors. At the same time, real-time scheduling and interrupt processing facilities will ensure critical tasks have timely access to needed CPU and memory resources,” says Michael Christofferson, Enea’s director of product marketing. This contrasts with SMP systems, where the OS distributes tasks automatically to CPUs without regard to an application’s real-time (RT) needs, he explains.

OSE's AMP framework will support heterogeneous systems via multiple operating systems and processors, each optimized for specific tasks, in further contrast to SMP’s use of one operating system and homogenous processing network. “With OSE, designers will be able to configure their system with a broad range of CPUs, DSPs, and hybrid controllers….[and] also be able to combine OSE with other operating systems such as Linux,” adds Christofferson.

OSE AMP will also apply load-balancing technology that enables applications to be reassigned to processing nodes while the system is running to optimize use of available processing resources. This is beyond the capability of the conventional RTOS and its applications, which must be compiled and linked as a single program so that individual applications cannot be dynamically moved to new processors “on the fly.” In OSE, the RTOS and its applications are compiled and implemented as separate programs. Applications are not bound to particular OSE nodes, and they’re reassignable while the system runs.

Enea also offers a DSP-optimized version of OSE known as OSEck (OSE Compact Kernel). OSEck is fully pre-emptive, event driven, and shares the same API and message-passing framework with OSE. Development support for OSE and OSEck includes simulator and system-level analysis and profiling tools. Enea Embedded Technology—a subsidiary of Enea AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden—is a provider of real-time operating systems, development tools, and services for fault-tolerant, high-availability and safety-critical applications.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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