Wind River Ushers in New Era of Embedded Computing with First Customer Shipment of Tornado AE Platform
Prior to Tornado AE, developers of highly-reliable applications had to develop their own in-house proprietary RTOSs or choose from one of several commercial offerings geared toward high reliability, with significant drawbacks to each of these alternatives. In-house proprietary solutions often come with a high cost of ownership and lengthy development time while other previous commercial solutions that focus on RAS functionality are overly rigid and bring unneeded complexity and performance overhead with them.
The VxWorks AE RTOS - derived from Wind River's market-share leading VxWorks RTOS - delivers a new approach to meet the needs of highly-reliable embedded devices. Employing a new memory management system, the VxWorks AE RTOS shifts the software execution paradigm from a single, flat physical address space into the realm of multiple, distinct virtual address spaces. System designers are able to leverage the memory management units of today's modern microprocessors to create protective boundaries, known as protection domains, which form the backbone of VxWorks AE technology. Protection domains provide application and kernel isolation without unnecessary complexity, increased overhead or rigid programming conventions.
"As embedded products continue to evolve from fixed-function, statically configured devices towards connected, multi-function devices, our customers require a protected environment to develop highly-reliable applications," said John Fogelin, vice president of Wind River's Platforms business unit. "VxWorks AE has been designed to be a true 'fault resilient RTOS,' meaning that the operating system will prevent certain faults from occurring altogether, while limiting the impact of other faults on the rest of the system. Positive feedback received from our beta customers affirmed that this capability, made possible through protection domain technology, is critical to creating a true RAS platform."
Tornado AE is designed for manufacturers building service-critical Internet infrastructure equipment and Internet appliances, mission-critical defense and aerospace systems, life-critical medical products and process-critical industrial measurement and control systems. The platform is a 'no compromises' solution, in that it delivers a reliable platform suitable for mission-critical applications without compromising key real-time embedded principles that have made VxWorks the most widely-used commercial RTOS in history. Key benefits of Tornado AE include:
- Reliability - Provides application isolation to ensure that entities intended to operate independently cannot corrupt each other. Supervisor mode protection ensures that applications cannot directly access kernel code and data. Overrun and underrun protection ensures that stack resource problems are trapped before corrupting the rest of the system.
- Performance - Minimizes overhead required for protection using an innovative method for system calls that is the fastest on the market. Function call interfaces are the most common and efficient programming methodology and privileged protection domains offer application isolation.
- Flexibility - Minimizes memory footprint (without impacting performance) in embedded designs by allowing users to include only those features required by their project. Scalability of protection is offered from a kernel-only design to a fully partitioned system.
- Serviceability - Offers the ability to add after-market, in-service upgrades and applications from independent third-party software vendors after the device has been deployed. Hot swapping of software components is available as a result of a powerful new loader, which allows unmatched links to remain in a pending state.
The Tornado Tools 3 IDE is the latest version of the award-winning Tornado IDE and is specifically designed to allow embedded developers to take advantage of the new protection domain model. The Tornado Tools 3 IDE includes a new C / C++ multi-tasking debugger optimized for object-oriented design, a new system object browser for increased visibility into target CPU behavior and an enhanced RTOS configuration tool for optimizing the configuration of both the VxWorks AE operating system and application code. In addition, Tornado AE is bundled with enhanced POSIX (portable operating system interface for UNIX) support and Wind River's message-passing runtime product.
The first commercial version of Tornado AE shipped in January 2001 and is available today. The platform currently supports the PowerPC™, Intel® Architecture - 32 (Pentium®, Celeron™, Pentium II, and Pentium III), MIPS®, and ARM® processor families. Host operating system support includes Sun Solaris®, Windows® NT, Windows 2000, and RedHat Linux. Wind River optional products including advanced networking protocols and embedded visualization development tools will be made available for Tornado AE throughout the year.
Customer/Partner Quote Addendum
"Just as in other areas of the embedded computer world, the software applications developed by defense/aerospace equipment suppliers continue to get more complex, more interconnected, and more critical to the success of the mission," said Anthony Siregar, vice president, marketing, for DY 4 Systems, Inc. "VxWorks AE's protected memory mode will allow DY 4 and Wind River's mutual customers to reduce the cost of developing robust, highly-reliable software, furthering the competitive advantage of basing defense/aerospace systems on off-the-shelf solutions such as those that Wind River and DY 4 provide."
"IBM's PowerPC microprocessors are being incorporated across a broad range of applications, including high-performance supercomputers and Internet servers; as a core in customized system-on-a-chip products for networking gear; embedded into communications products like switches and routers; and consumer and pervasive computing products like set-top boxes and game systems," said Steve Longoria, director, Networking Technology Marketing and Strategy for IBM. "IBM is collaborating with Wind River to extend the use of PowerPC chips and VxWorks AE technology by providing designers a comprehensive, flexible software solution that facilitates efficient development, modification and reuse of PowerPC-based applications."
"Intel is committed to providing developers in the applied computing market segment a wide array of options to aid them in meeting their customers' needs," said Joe Jensen, general manager of the Intel Embedded Architecture Division. "Wind River's support for the Intel Pentium and Celeron processors will help developers using the new VxWorks AE RTOS and Tornado Tools 3 IDE to take advantage of the flexibility and performance of the Intel Architecture to create competitive products."
"VxWorks is an important operating system to our licensees," said Brian Knowles, vice president of marketing at MIPS Technologies. "Memory protection, a feature of Wind River's VxWorks AE 1.0 release, leads to greater system reliability, which results in reduced system failure of end products once they're deployed in the field."
"Wind River's addition of virtual addressing capabilities will allow Motorola's customers to even more fully utilize the unique memory management capabilities offered by our high-performance PowerPC™ processors," said Robert France, director of software for Motorola's Networking and Computing Systems Group. "Our alliance with Wind River to offer the VxWorks AE, with its memory partitioning features, further expands the wealth of Smart Networks solutions that enable customers to speed time-to-market and focus on developing value-added applications."
"The VxWorks AE platform and Tornado Tools 3, when coupled with Motorola Computer Group's award-winning, carrier-grade and high-availability systems like the CPX8000, will help telecom equipment and solution suppliers get to market fast while achieving the high-availability requirements needed by today's increasingly complex applications," said Tom McKearney, vice president and director of marketing, telecommunications business, Motorola Computer Group. "Our long-term relationship with Wind River is key to providing developers with a solution for telecom and other market segments that place a premium on reliability. VxWorks AE provides a strong migration path for the large base of legacy telecom applications using VxWorks on Motorola's platforms."
"My team likes to work as independently as possible," said Charlie Jenkins, vice president of sales and marketing of Solidum Systems. "Protection domains allow our engineering team members to develop their own pieces of our final solution that are shielded from other members of the team. This is particularly important for the development engineers working on the kernel. Protection domains and the fault management system make the effort-intensive task of managing all elements of the final product.
About Wind River
Wind River is a worldwide leader in embedded software. Wind River provides software development tools, real-time operating systems, and advanced connectivity for use in products throughout the Internet, telecommunications and data communications, digital imaging, digital consumer electronics, networking, medical, computer peripherals, automotive, industrial automation and control, and aerospace/defense markets. Wind River is how smart things think. Founded in 1983, Wind River is headquartered in Alameda, California, with operations in sixteen countries worldwide.
Wind River Systems, the Wind River Systems logo, VxWorks, and Tornado are registered trademarks of Wind River Systems, Inc. Other names are registered trademarks or trademarks of the respective companies or organizations.
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