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VxWorks RTOS Gets Revamped for IoT

03 March 2014

Intel's software subsidiary Wind River Systems Inc. has announced an update of its VxWorks real-time operating system for the Internet of Things (IoT) labelling it as VxWorks 7.

The key has been an emphasis on modularity allowing a secure microkernel as small as 20-kbytes to run leaf-nodes in the IoT while support for communications protocols such as USB, CAN, Bluetooth, FireWire, and Continua can be added incrementally.

The combination of a microkernel and a standard kernel both built on the same VxWorks 7 platform is designed to create a single RTOS that can scale across different classes of devices, which sounds like support for the big-little approach advocated by ARM. It should be noted that Intel's 22nm FinFET "Edison" chip comprises two quark cores, one configured as a microcontroller and one intended as a more capable microprocessor as a means of minimizing power consumption. The microcontroller manages I/O and other baseline functions while the x86 processor brings the ability to run Linux and other operating systems and run high-level applications.

Wind River claims VxWorks 7 can scale from small-footprint consumer wearables up to networking equipment.

The OS also has improved security and safety features including: secure data storage, tamper proof design, secure upgrade, root of trust, and user and policy management. Safety features have been added to address needs in medical, industrial, transportation, aerospace and defense applications.

To accompany improvements in the operating system Wind River has updated the Workbench suite of developer tools

The company has also enhanced its Wind River Workbench suite of developer tools for VxWorks, which now include a system analysis package that provides access to code and system behavior allowing developers to optimize code, detect bugs, memory leaks and interlocks.

"The IoT has significantly changed the embedded landscape," said Dinyar Dastoor, vice president of product management at Wind River. "An RTOS must deliver not only the expected core real-time, deterministic performance and reliability, but an entirely new level of value that is demanded by the highly connected, security conscious, remotely-managed IoT world."

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