Hypervisor technology supports Windows XP on Intel multicore execution platforms
Ravensburg, Germany – Real-Time Systems GmbH released the latest version of Real-Time Hypervisor software, which enables simultaneous running of multiple operating systems on multicore processors and 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. However, it is known that physical and economic factors would one day set a limit to the promise of constantly increasing CPU performance while maintaining customary price levels. Therefore, the semiconductor industry has turned to multicore CPU designs, which have permitted Moore’s Law to continue to be valid. While the potential for exploiting the power of multiple CPU cores is not completely realized, manufacturers of standard operating systems are developing programs that allow operating systems to take advantage of such platforms.
The situation for embedded system designs is different. To take advantage of multicore CPU’s, real-time software manufacturers have developed custom solutions. A few years ago, Real-Time Systems GmbH developed software to permit embedded application engineers to run real-time and conventional standard operating systems on Intel multicore platforms.
Conventional virtualization solutions (‘hypervisors’) are generally implemented by interposing an additional software layer between an operating system and the CPU core, which may influence deterministic behavior of the real-time system. RTS Real-time Hypervisor makes it possible to simultaneously, independently, and robustly runa number of standard operating systems on a single x-86 multicore execution platform. The software technology does not interfere with the supported operating systems’ timing behavior.
Via the RTS Hypervisor configuration file, users exclusively assign each operating system to at least one CPU core. They can assign other resources, such as PCI devices or memory regions, to specific operating systems. To secure and protect real-time system behavior, RTS Hypervisor gives each real-time operating system direct control of assigned peripheral devices. Devices are neither virtualized nor simulated; standard off-the-shelf device drivers can be used. For additional flexibility, a user may specify booting sequences of operating systems. Even in a fully-running system, an individual operating system can be re-booted. Despite separation of operating system environments, provision for inter-system communication is possible through shared memory and a virtual network.
By enabling support of Microsoft Windows XP in the RTH Hypervisor environment, RTS has opened up possibilities for innovative embedded systems. Many time-critical applications would benefit from simultaneously running real-time software and Windows-based man-machine interfaces on the same PC. Using a single host platform for real-time and conventional processing can reduce system costs and complexity.
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. Version 1.5 is available; Version 2.0 is scheduled for release this fall.
Also read: Real-time systems: Time to set embedded hypervisor benchmarks.