Billions of connected devices—in cars and aircraft, consumer electronics, industrial process systems, medical devices, next-generation network technology, and beyond—are revolutionizing embedded and mobile computing. These intelligent systems give consumers and businesses the power to access information from nearly any device at any time, opening a world of incredible possibilities. Software developers need new techniques and technologies to manage their migration to these next-generation platforms.
Future systems, such as the federated connected car, will benefit from Intel and Wind River efforts to standardize connected platform development.
Virtualization will play a critical role. In other markets such as networking, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM, an open-source component of Linux supported in Intel processors’ silicon through Intel® Virtualization Technology) will be key.
THE MULTI-CORE DEVICE REVOLUTION
Devices are getting more complex—phones double as cameras, MP3 players, game systems, movie players, GPS-based navigation systems, and email clients. Intel® multi-core processors are helping enable these capabilities. But while multi-core processors are ubiquitous in the IT and enterprise space, they’re new to embedded device developers. Key to growth of multi-core in embedded devices is the use of virtualization technology.
“Virtualization lets you better leverage multi-core architectures to isolate critical safe and secure system partitions, and to build in necessary redundancy,” said Jim Douglas, Wind River senior vice president. “Virtualization also helps extract the full performance potential of multi-core. But to get the most out of multi-core, in addition to virtualization technology, you need operating systems that can be configured in different ways, for example, SMP, AMP, and so on.”
It wasn’t long ago that embedded devices were relatively simple—they typically performed a single task and were powered by 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers with memory footprints that were measured in kilobytes. Developing software for them required highly efficient code that ran atop an RTOS such as Wind River VxWorks.
In the past five years, open-source development models and the emergence of Linux* with real-time attributes gave developers the ability to deploy small-footprint Embedded Linux, which lends itself to embedded Internet devices thanks to its microprocessor support and scalability. In addition, modern silicon such as multi-core Intel® Atom™ processors and the Intel® Core™ processor family opened a new world of possibilities. “We’re seeing greater intelligence—systems can perform more than a single task,” Douglas said. “In a lot of cases, they’re performing those tasks autonomously.”
ENABLING STANDARDIZED CONNECTED-PLATFORM DEVELOPMENT
Such new developments also require new tools, because as Douglas explained, “Ultimately, people are custom building their operating environments for these kinds of devices, and they’re building applications on top of them.” Through close collaboration with Intel, Wind River provides a robust set of developer tools that span multiple parts of the product lifecycle.
For example, Wind River Performance Studio, which plugs into Wind River Workbench, an integrated development environment, provides tools for optimizing performance on Intel architecture platforms and includes three powerful Intel software development tools:
- Intel® C/C++ Compiler boosts performance on Intel architectures.
- Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives provide platform-optimized algorithms, code samples, and APIs for high-bandwidth applications.
- Intel® VTune™ Amplifier XE delivers actionable analysis of code behavior and performance without having to instrument the source code.
All three tools are in a single-build system layer, allowing Wind River Linux users to easily install and use them. Integration with Wind River Workbench offers enhanced visibility into software at all stages of development.