Partitioning technology for secure embedded systems

By Control Engineering Staff March 10, 2006

QNX Software Systems , a provider of embedded operating systems and design tools, recently announced a new operating system extension that allows developers to build hardened, secure compartments around their software applications yet provide flexibility to maximize CPU resources. Announced at the recent Embedded World 2006 show in Germany, new QNX Neutrino Adaptive Partitioning technology claims “an industry first” by offering embedded designers the best of both worlds—that is, resource guarantees for greater security and full CPU use for maximum performance, according to QNX.

Adaptive Partitioning technology from QNX is said to be ideal for embedded designs that demand secure operation and guaranteed response times—such as security applications, industrial control systems, high-speed telecommunications, and in-car computing devices.

Key to QNX’s new Adaptive Partitioning (AP) technology is a patent-pending scheduler that guarantees CPU time for heavily loaded applications by dynamically reassigning resources from partitions not under full load to those that need additional processing time. Increasing CPU utilization results in a higher overall level of performance, says the company, and contrasts with older, rigid fixed-partitioning system offerings.”Software complexity is escalating so rapidly that without means to cleanly and efficiently partition system resources, embedded designers face an insurmountable challenge,” says Dan Dodge, CEO of QNX Software Systems. “Our adaptive partitioning technology takes the current restrictive concepts of software partitioning and dramatically improves upon them, giving customers secure, real-time guarantees they need, with intelligent and flexible hardware maximization that embedded designs demand.”Neutrino Adaptive partitioning technology is an extension of QNX Neutrino RTOS. To maximize ease of use and application portability, AP technology uses industry-standard POSIX application programming interfaces (APIs) and allows embedded developers to work with the same task-prioritization methods they now use. Existing POSIX/QNX Neutrino applications also can benefit from AP technology without the need to recode or redesign.Available in beta version, Neutrino Adaptive Partitioning Technology Development Kit (TDK) will be commercially available in 2Q06.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering

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