Embracing Change: How Wind River Solves the Software End-of-Life Dilemma for Siemens Customers at the Intelligent Edge

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, change is the only constant. As companies strive to innovate to meet market demand, product life cycles inevitably come to an end. For their customers, the end-of-life announcement of a product, or suite of products can be both daunting and an opportunity for growth.

Such is the case with the announcement by Siemens in November 2023, which shared that they were discontinuing the embedded systems software development products: Nucleus™ RTOS, Nucleus™ Hypervisor, Nucleus™ ReadyStart, Sokol™ Flex Linux, Sokol™ Omni Linux, and Sourcery™ CodeBench™ products (including associated add-ons).

Although Siemens has stated that existing support contracts for these products are being honored, now clearly is the time for customers to plan an alternative strategy – to avail themselves of continued innovation in intelligent edge software development tooling, thus maintaining their competitive ability.

Wind River has the pedigree to meet these customers’ needs. From VxWorks – the world’s most trusted RTOS, to Helix Virtualization Platform for hypervisor capability, to our innovative Linux-based solutions for the intelligent edge. Here we’ll briefly summarize what customers should look for when assessing the alternatives. We’ll also look at how our portfolio maps to the end-of-life products and the value we bring to Siemens customers, as they navigate the inevitable changes ahead.


Assessing Alternatives

When faced with the end-of-life of a vendor’s products, businesses should conduct a thorough assessment of available alternatives. This evaluation should consider factors such as performance, scalability, functionality, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and long-term support. Additionally, businesses should look beyond immediate replacements and consider solutions that align with their future growth strategies and technological advancements.


Wind River – Addressing the needs of affected Siemens embedded systems customers – now and in the future

VxWorks brings a high-performance, future-proof foundation to development teams currently using Nucleus™ RTOS

Nucleus RTOS customers have come to expect hard real-time deterministic performance, scaling to multicore, and across a wide range of architectures and Board Support Packages. Appropriate safety certification, a rich development environment and efficient time-to-market are also ‘must-haves’.

VxWorks address all these needs and more:

  • On-going innovation in highly sought capabilities such as ease of AI/ML integration, and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) – backed by single nanosecond latency, achieved with our highly optimized kernel design.
  • Industry leadership in functional safety certification with more than 600 programs, with VxWorks Cert Edition.
  • Enablement of ‘shift left’ testing using the Amazon Graviton EC2 system enables – allowing developers to test their final binaries without needing a costly or difficult-to-procure board on their desk. Additionally, out-of-the box QEMU hardware emulation is supported across all processor architectures.
  • OCI containerization and Kubernetes orchestration – for secure, efficient deployment and updates, thus helping to remove manual errors, standardize tools, and accelerate the rate of product iterations.​ A first in the industry.
  • DevSecOps with Wind River Studio Developer – for the creation and provisioning of VxWorks-based systems – maximizing developer efficiency and enabling faster time-to-market. Another first in the industry, this meets the needs of modern embedded systems development teams who demand ‘IT-like’ tooling.


Helix Virtualization Platform – addressing mixed criticality use cases, as a replacement for Nucleus™ Hypervisor

The cost reductions associated with running multiple functions on the same embedded system are clear. To this end, Siemens customers have deployed Nucleus Hypervisor, enabling multiple operating systems such as an RTOS for safety-critical real-time functions, and Linux for non-safety-critical functions – all safely isolated from each other via the virtual machine capability of the hypervisor. In doing so, customers have come to expect capabilities such as VirtIO for device sharing and multicore support.

Helix Virtualization Platform provides this kind of capability and, like Nucleus Hypervisor, is a small footprint, true type-1 (bare metal) hypervisor. Some key aspects include:

  • Being OS agnostic, it supports any unmodified OS – easing portability for legacy applications.
  • Designed for simplified certification of safety-critical applications – to the stringent requirements of DO-178C (aerospace), IEC 61508 (industrial) and ISO 26262 (automotive), with Helix Virtualization Platform Cert Edition.
  • Support for an open, standards-based device virtualization framework – efficiently enabling third-party OSs without the overhead of emulation.
  • High performance and determinism – as a type-1 hypervisor it provides full control over how the hardware is configured, enabling high performance compute and low-overhead I/O access, using the hardware virtualization accelerators available in today’s processors.
  • Wind River Studio Developer support.


Seamless transition to Wind River Linux (Yocto-based) from Sokol™ Flex OS

Sokol Linux is an embedded Linux distribution based on Yocto Project, aiming to provide a lightweight, efficient, and customizable solution for embedded applications. Wind River is a founding member and top contributor to the Yocto Project, and its Wind River Linux product line adds commercial-grade features and support to meet the needs of critical embedded systems. Having the common baseline of the Yocto Project, the technical transition from Sokol Flex Linux to Wind River Linux LTS should be seamless.

The expanded portfolio of Wind River Studio Linux Services (SLS) can make any transition happen with almost no disruption to ongoing projects under development or active maintenance and support.


Wind River Linux – a solid replacement for Sokol™ Omni OS at the edge and near-edge

Sokol Omni OS is based on Debian distribution, which is known for its stability, extensive package repositories, and community support. While offering enterprise-class features, Sokol Omni OS remains true to its embedded roots with focus on customizability and small footprint typical of embedded operating systems.

At Wind River, our extensive Linux-based portfolio includes a commercial offering based on Debian addressing use cases at the edge, as well as running enterprise-grade applications at near-edge in serverized and containerized cloud-native applications. Wind River is committed to active participation in full transparency, fostering collaboration and partnership with the single goal of enabling proliferation of Debian-based distribution at the intelligent edge. 


Diab Compiler as an effective alternative to Sourcery™ CodeBench

Sourcery™ CodeBench provides developers with powerful embedded C/C++ development tools to build, debug, and analyse sophisticated embedded systems – for efficient development and optimization of software for a variety of targets and various domains including automotive, industrial, medical, and aerospace and defence applications.

Diab Compiler is a suite of software development tools for device applications, including optimizing C and C++ compilers, an assembler, a linker, an archiver/librarian, an ANSI standard C library, a disassembler, and a block counter. The tools generate fast, compact code, and they are flexible, with many options to control code generation and assist with porting code developed with other tools. This will provide CodeBench users with an efficient alternative.


Workbench Integrated Development Environment – an efficient development solution for Nucleus™ ReadyStart™ users

Nucleus ReadyStart brings together integrated software IP, tools, and services into a single, “ready-to-use” solution ideal for applications where a small footprint, connectivity, power management, and deterministic performance are essential.

Workbench is an integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded software, that supports VxWorks, Helix Virtualization Platform, Wind River Linux, and Diab Compiler. It consists of various components, such as a full project facility, advanced source-code analysis, simultaneous management of multiple targets, and a debugger that can manage multiple processes or threads on a single target or on multiple targets. Users of ReadyStart will quickly appreciate the advanced capabilities of the Workbench IDE.


The way forward

As Siemens customers assess the embedded systems development landscape, a unique opportunity beckons. By adopting new solutions, they can leverage advanced features, improve development team efficiency, and ultimately improve time-to-market.

The Wind River portfolio – RTOS, Hypervisor, Linux and associated compiler and IDE, together, enable the performance, scalability, functionality, reliability, cost-effectiveness demanded by Siemens customers. Supported by our DevSecOps solution, backed by our extensive Professional Services; and trusted in deployments across the globe and even beyond.

Contact Wind River to learn more about how we can help with product migration.



About the author

Alan Stranaghan is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Wind River