Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (4-23-12): Sorting through your embedded virtualization options - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (4-23-12): Sorting through your embedded virtualization options


Embedded Newsletter for 04-23-2012

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April 23, 2012

Tech Focus: Sorting through your embedded virtualization options


Managing the coming explosion of embedded multicore virtualization

Pick the right multicore virtualization use case for your design

Is virtualization right for your application?

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

In the past few years hypervisor-based virtualization techniques have become especially important as embedded systems designs have become more connected and open to outside intrusion, involving the use of more than one processor and often requiring the use of more than one operating system.

In many consumer and mobile, networking and automotive applications, such techniques allow developers to easily partition their code based between two operating systems, one handling the low level real-time deterministic operations, the other the higher level human interface and Internet access functions. This separation also affords them some degree of security, allowing separation of company proprietary code from other company or open source code, as well as make it more difficult for malicious hackers to compromise the application. In multicore designs, virtualization allows developers to continue to write code using traditional sequential procedural methods rather than shift to new and more difficult programming paradigms based on concurrency and parallelism.

As a result, the number and variety of both hardware and software-based hypervisor-based VMMs have multiplied, as have the articles, white papers and webinars to help you use them – some of which are included here. Of these my Editor's Top Picks are:

Pick the right multicore virtualization use case“, by Rob Oshana and Stuart Yoder
Virtualization Technology Under the Hood
Bringing Together Real-time and Virtualization

As helpful as such information may be, much more is needed says Markus Levy, president of the Multicore Association in “Managing the coming explosion of embedded multicore virtualization “. In this article he argues for an industry-wide effort to come up with a more coherent and flexible set of standardized mechanisms for deploying virtualization in embedded designs.

He is asking for participation in a newly formed working group chaired by Rajan Goyal of Cavium Networks and Surender Kumar of Nokia Siemens Networks. Its aim is to develop a framework for managing the varied virtualization options. This is important work, so contact him at or if you want to participate

Design How-Tos

Managing the coming explosion of embedded multicore virtualization

To help developers sort through the plethora of multicore processor virtualization choices now available, Markus Levy describes the problems caused by this overabundance of solutions, and ask for participation in a working group to work on a framework for managing the varied virtualization options.

Pick the right multicore virtualization use case for your design

According to Rob Oshana and Stuart Yoder of Freescale, while virtualization enables the sharing of hardware resources on a single computer system, allowing multiple OSes to simultaneously share the system, the trick is picking the use case that best matches your application.

Manage multiple processes and processors in a deterministic multicore design

How should processes running on different RTOSes communicate in systems with more than one operating system? The author suggests you can manage inter-process communications with global-object networking.

Is virtualization right for your application?

A brief “no-bull” tutorial on how virtualization actually works and where it is most useful.

Wanted: industry standards for benchmarking embedded VMM hypervisors

What the embedded systems industry needs is a standard way to compare hypervisors to see which one works best on a particular system. Here's an example of EEMBC's benchmarks.

Using virtualization to consolidate data traffic on a single network appliance

How Napatech used VMWare's virtualization software to consolidate multiple network appliances and their traffic flows onto a single physical platform

Virtualization paves the way for the next billion devices

Users should have just one platform to serve all their needs. Virtualization makes that a reality.

Dealing with the design challenges of multicore embedded systems

The president of the Multicore Association provides details on how new standards under development by the newly formed industry group, including resource and communications APIs and a common debug framework, can help embedded designers.

PRODUCT HOW-TO: Improve the efficiency of embedded multi-core hypervisor designs

A comparison of Green Hill's RTOS-specific Padded Cell “hybrid-visor” approach versus alternative more traditional virtual machine management “hypervisors” in embedded designs.

Challenges of safety-critical multi-core systems

In this article, the challenges involved in migration to multi-core processor architectures are reviewed in the context of the particular ones related to their use in safety-critical systems.

10 questions to ask when choosing a virtualization solution

The adoption of virtualization technology is rising, thanks to hardware cost savings, isolation, and footprint reduction. But choosing a virtualization solution can be intimidating, given the variety of architectures and products available. This article attempts to ease the process of selecting a virtualization solution by posing 10 important questions that any embedded engineer or manager should weigh when considering virtualization.

Virtualization makes better use of open-source OSes and apps

The increased use of software virtualization in embedded systems is allowing additional use of open-source operating systems and applications.

Virtualization options for embedded multicore systems

There are a number of paths to virtualization for embedded systems. After a tour of those options, Freescale Semiconductor's Syed Shah makes the case for the bare metal hypervisor-based approach — coupled with hardware virtualization assists in the core, the memory subsystem and the I/O — as the best-performing option.

Embedded systems virtualization: Consider a Hypervisor

Virtualization–Are we likely to see a version of Xen, KVM or the VMware hypervisor on embedded devices, or should embedded-systems developers even try to port one of the open source solutions themselves? See why the answer should be 'no.'

Virtualization for the embedded market

The key differences between virtualization for enterprise versus embedded.

2012 Embedded Market Survey webinar

UBM Electronics' 17th annual survey of embedded systems designers worldwide shows trends in software and hardware usage. The 2012 Embedded Market Survey also looks at languages, productivity, and the challenges design teams rank as most important. A webinar on Friday April 20 will examine the results from over 1,700 respondents from across the embedded industry, the dataset enables a deep analysis to track key changes in this important electronics industry segment. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions online. To register click here .


Startup offers ARM quad-core A9 hypervisor

B Labs Ltd. is a startup company developing embedded virtualization solutions. B Labs consists of a team of software engineers specializing in embedded kernel design, open-source software and the ARM architecture.

SOFTWARE TOOLS: New release of Wind River Hypervisor extends virtualization support

Wind River Hypervisor 1.1 streamlines device software development with on-chip debugging and support for latest processor technologies.

SOFTWARE TOOLS – RTS Hypervisor V2.2 enables MSI support for all operating systems

With Version 2.2 of Real-Time Systems Hypervisor, it is now possible to automatically analyze the CPU and cache topology of the Intel Atom, Core, Xeon or Nehalem processor architectures and intelligently assign CPUs to individual Operating Systems like Windows or an RTOS.

Hypervisor software scales from embedded devices to enterprise servers

At its annual technology summit, Green Hills Software announced what it's Padded Cell Secure Hypervisor, which supports a wide range of computing platforms, from embedded devices to enterprise desktop and server systems.

Hypervisor upgrade supports multicore processors

Lynuxworks Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) has provided some details on version 2.0 of its LynxSecure separation kernel and embedded hypervisor. A hypervisor is a system of virtual machines that allows multiple operating systems to run on the same host computer.

What's Different About System Design at 28 nm?
Explore system design challenges with Altera editor-in-chief Ron Wilson. Learn more about system performance tradeoffs, lowering system power consumption and cost, and improving design-team productivity. Dive into the details with our technical resources.
Read our latest articles today.


ARM's new brain

The best new feature in ARM's Cortex A15 is the hardware hypervisor mode for virtualizing multiple guest operating systems.

Virtualization extends down to mobile devices

The BOM on a virtualized handset can be reduced significantly over a more traditional design.

Finding a better way to manage multicore resources

Chris Main of TenAsys suggests that a better way to manage inter-process communications (IPC) in multiprocessor designs is by the use of global object networking, so that an application can be dynamically distributed across one or several CPUs at load time.

COMMENTARY: The once and future evolution of the Hypervisor

Using hypervisors to innovate existing designs provides the embedded designer with new ways to add features and security, both through open source and their own in-house developments.

Sponsored White Papers

Scheduling Virtual Machines in Real-time Embedded Systems

Virtualization Technology Under the Hood

Bringing Together Real-time and Virtualization

Safe and Secure Virtualization in a Separation Microkernel

Combining Partitioning and Virtualization for Safety-Critical Systems

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