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The Internet of Things and the Cloud

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

JUNE 2014

Virtualization Opens the Power of Multicore Small Modules Tackle Rugged Environments

The Yocto Project Speeds Platform Support

An RTC Group Publication

The Yocto Project Speeds Platform Support

42 Compact COM Express Type 6 with High Performance and Ultra Low Power

43 JTAG Controller Speeds Measurement Tasks

44 40G AdvancedTCA Switch Blade for BandwidthDemanding Applications



6 Editorial What Is Robust? What Is Secure? Can We Have Both? Insider 8 Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace

10 & Technology 40 Products Newest Embedded Technology Used by Industry Leaders Small Form Factor Forum Million Module Milestone

TECHNOLOGY IN CONTEXT Small Modules in Rugged Environments



The Internet of Things and the Cloud

Hypervisors and Virtualization


Devices in the Cloud: Driving Intelligence Where You Need It

Ido Sarig, Wind River

TECHNOLOGY IN SYSTEMS The Yocto Project Speeds Platform Support

Hypervisors and System Consolidation 28 Understanding Gerd Lammers, Real-Time Systems

Your Embedded Virtualization Solution Wisely 32 Choose Kim Hartman, TenAsys

Yocto Project: Challenges 20 The and Opportunities



HMI, Control and Communication Platform for 36 Integrated Industrial Automation

Christopher Hallinan, Mentor Graphics

The Yocto Project – Portability, Compatibility, Support Jon Aldama, Enea

Industrial Automation

Claudio Ambra, Exor International

Electronics Rapidly Adapt to New Applications 12 Rugged

Michael Plannerer, MEN Mikro Elektronik

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What Is Robust? What Is Secure? Can We Have Both?


e are constantly concerned with security. It has become an entire sub-industry throughout the enterprise, the personal Internet and the embedded spheres. We see security strategies being implemented at the device/hardware level, among platforms with intrusion and detection strategies, with encryption/decryption approaches, and all manner of different efforts. And at the same time hackers ranging from nerdy teenagers in their bedrooms to buildings full of PhD computer scientists in government-funded cyber warfare centers of nations around the world, are working on breaching those efforts. The battle over security is a never-ending struggle, which means you can never really be sure of security. And we also occasionally—and I believe this is the exception rather than the rule—hear about spectacular breaches such as the recent theft of vast amounts of credit card data from Target. More recently we were alerted to the Heartbleed security bug in OpenSSL, which was apparently introduced in March of 2012 and only discovered some two years later. The fix is proceeding, but as of this writing, thousands of public Web servers remain vulnerable. Those are just some of the things we’ve heard about that directly affected the public. There are large numbers of other incidents that we will never learn of due to corporate security, national security or public safety concerns—and not the least, due to fear of embarrassment and/or liability on the part of many operators. Can this rather discouraging situation be improved by also making robustness as big a concern as what we normally understand as security? What is robustness? Normally we think of it as akin to ruggedness—the ability to maintain operation in the face of harsh conditions, and the ability to sustain a certain amount of damage or compromise yet still maintain operation. Robust security would mean the ability to sustain some successful breaches while maintaining critical security and continuing operation. Robustness linked with security would mean not only different levels but also implementing strategic architectures that can detect and isolate breaches and restructure systems to protect vital functions and data. Admittedly, that is a tall order. We enthusiastically tout the growth of the Internet of Things as heading for some 50 billion connected devices. Can anyone assure us that there are not paths from some seemingly innocuous network, such as a building management system, which might lead



Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief

to a very vital system, such as the power grid, by means of some neglected links? Since everything is ultimately connected to the power grid, this means that there are millions of possible paths and that implementing security of the grid itself at all possible access points is utterly imperative. And then levels of security within the grid are needed to implement its own internal robustness. In fact, the emerging Smart Grid is perhaps the most securitycritical element in the modern world. Literally everything depends on it, and as we add intelligence, we also add vulnerability. The Catch-22 here is that we need the intelligence to make a 100-yearold technology more efficient and able to handle new sources of renewable energy. So we must therefore accept and deal with the new forms of vulnerability. And as that vulnerability grows, there is no absolute assurance of security. Robustness has to include not only the ability to continue some level of operation, but also the ability to quickly recover both cyber function as well as physical functionality. Ah, and therein lies yet another consideration that has actually always been with us, but which is now even more acute. The grid has, of course, always been vulnerable to physical attack. However, now some studies have shown, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, that a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) analysis revealed that an attack on nine key East Coast substations and on one transformer manufacturer could lead to an 18-month blackout. Physical considerations go parallel with cyber concerns. One of the issues may be centralization of our power system, which has been essential due to the need for large power generation plants. That might start to be relieved by the growth of rooftop solar, which would also be a boon to the embedded industry due to all the microcontrollers needed to track the to/from the grid flow of power. It is theoretically quite possible to cover all our future electricity needs with distributed rooftop solar power generation—over the long term, of course. Such a system would fill our needs and its inherent decentralization would make it virtually immune to an effective cyber attack due not so much to cyber security as to its inherent homogenous distribution. About the only thing that could bring such a pervasive solution down would be an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a nuclear weapon. But, as noted, that is a very long-term solution.


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INSIDER JUNE 2014 The Search Is on for the Successor to Flash Storage The search for a memory solution to replace flash storage is on, with U.S. memory provider Data Memory Systems tracking the updates and developments in the hope that they will be the first to deliver the new flash storage solution to their customers. With semiconductor manufacturers developing myriad solid-state technologies, the fight to see which solution will succeed conventional flash memory is on. NAND manufacturing process sizes are reaching their limits, which is why there has been a steep downward trend in the prices of flash memory. Recently, however, famed supplier Samsung announced that they would

Adlink and VadaTech Partner to Offer Enhanced AdvancedTCA Solutions

VadaTech and Adlink Technology have announced a partnership to offer AdvancedTCAbased embedded computing solutions. VadaTech will utilize Adlink’s line of processor boards to complement VadaTech’s switch, chassis, RTM and specialty products in the AdvancedTCA architecture. The boards will include Adlink’s line of 10G and 40G processor and packet processing blades based on the Intel Xeon E-series chipset. Adlink intends to capitalize on VadaTech’s integration capability and diverse ecosystem of chassis and switches to complement its core processor offering. Together the companies provide an unmatched array of AdvancedTCA solutions, from boards up to integrated computing systems.



start producing NAND flash chips with a 3D internal architecture. This sparked a new trend in flash memory, and other manufacturers set out to follow Samsung’s lead. But when 3D NAND flash reaches its limits, which will happen in around three or four years, what next? The first potential candidate to take the place of flash memory is Resistive RAM—also known as ReRAM or RRAM. This method of storage saves data by flipping resistors between two stable states. It has a number of advantages over conventional NAND flash such as a longer life span, lower power consumption and significantly higher performance levels. However, this method may not hit the market until NAND flash has fully come to the end of the road, and it may not be fast enough to compete with the other

“We see a great synergy between our embedded platforms and the integrated solutions provided by VadaTech,” said Daniel Yang, GM of Adlink North America. “This affiliation helps both of our companies expand our reach in the AdvancedTCA market.” “VadaTech is excited to work with Adlink and provide their versatile array of processor boards based on the AdvancedTCA architecture,” said Saeed Karamooz, CEO of VadaTech. “This partnership will expand the VadaTech offering and better serve the integrated solution needs of our customers.”

AMD and Mentor Graphics Join Yocto Project as New Advisory Board Members

The Yocto Project, a Linux Foundation Collaboration Project, has announced that AMD and

alternatives—SRAM and DRAM. MRAM is also among the contenders, and it’s already being used as an SRAM alternative. It has high performance levels and a far longer life, but it’s set to be more expensive than all other memory options on the market so far. One type of MRAM has recently entered volume production, and this may actually see prices come down eventually, making it a real contender. Lastly, there’s phase-change memory, also known as PRAM or PCM. Although it’s not currently in production, a number of big names in the memory industry, including Micron, IBM, Intel and Samsung, have been monitoring and investigating the memory solution for a number of years. It can be produced at small process sizes, making it great for

Mentor Graphics are increasing their investments in the embedded Linux project. Both companies are becoming Gold-level members and will sit on the Yocto Project Advisory Board. The Yocto Project reduces fragmentation in the embedded market by providing developers with greater consistency in the software and tools they’re using across multiple architectures for embedded Linux development. It is a collaborative, open source project that provides templates, tools and methods to help developers create custom, embedded, Linux-based systems, regardless of hardware architecture. AMD and Mentor Graphics will maximize their investments in the Yocto Project and deepen their commitment to the embedded Linux development community with this latest move. The two companies recently announced a multi-

regular consumers, and it heavily outperforms NAND flash memory in every sense. It could provide everything from standard consumer memory to “storage class” memory that, if produced cost-effectively, could eventually replace SRAM, DRAM and NAND altogether. The fight is on to see which method will win out. Many experts are making no predictions just yet. There have been many rumors and false starts around the development of these solutions, and none of them are willing to put their neck on the line and make the call on the future of flash memory. Data Memory Systems will continue to monitor the situation with the goal of being the first to provide the most up-to-date computer memory solutions when they hit the market.

year partnership to deliver open source embedded Linux software tools for AMD Embedded processors that comprise multicore and heterogeneous systems targeting data storage and networking, industrial automation, Internet of Things (IoT) and visual applications. The Yocto Project technical leadership and governance is merit-based; maintainers and technical leaders are selected based on the quality and quantity of their code contributions to the project. Other Advisory Board members of the Yocto Project include Gold members Freescale, Intel, Juniper Networks, LSI, OpenEmbedded, Sakoman, Inc., Texas Instruments and Wind River Systems. Silver members of the Advisory Board include Dell, Enea AB, Huawei, LG, MontaVista Software, OS Systems and Renesas.

Cadence Gobbles Up Jasper

2012 was the year that everyone remembers Synopsys going on an acquisition binge, but 2014 will go down as the year that Cadence Design Systems decided that EDA was worth investing in. Rather than placing investment bets outside of its core competence, Cadence bought Forte in February and now adds Jasper Design Automation to its fold. Jasper has been the premier player in the formal verification market, making all other players look like second-class citizens. Many had said that so much money had been invested in Jasper over the years that a buyout was unlikely, but Kranen and the investors always had faith that they would get the returns they expected. Today that belief turned into a reality when Cadence offered approximately $170 million in cash. Jasper had approximately $24 million of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of December 31, 2013. That makes Jasper one of the highest valued companies in the EDA industry. Over the years, Jasper has received approximately $27M in funding, with the latest round being $2.13M in 2012. In addition, the latest new app is JasperGold Sequential Equivalence Checking App. This new app enables designers to exhaustively verify the sequential functional equivalence of RTL implementations, ensuring that they function identically at sequential design points—and 10x faster than competing tools. This ties in nicely with Cadence’s Forte acquisition, because one of the technologies necessary to make high-level synthesis successful is sequential equivalence checking. Calypto is the only other company that has these two pieces in the same company, and because Calypto is majority owned by Mentor Graphics, this would potentially be a hole in the Cadence portfolio.

Earthquake Simulation Tops One Quadrillion FLOPS

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists at Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximillians Universitaet Muenchen (LMU) have—with the support of the Leibniz Supercomputing Center of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (LRZ)—optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software on the SuperMUC highperformance computer at the LRZ to push its performance beyond the “magical” one petaflop/s mark one quadrillion floating point operations per second. Geophysicists use the SeisSol earthquake simulation software to investigate rupture processes and seismic waves beneath the Earth’s surface. Their goal is to simulate earthquakes as accurately as possible to be better prepared for future events and to better understand the fundamental underlying mechanisms. However, the calculations involved in this kind of simulation are so complex that they push even super computers to their limits. In a collaborative effort, the workgroups led by Dr. Christian Pelties at the Department of Geo and Environmental Sciences at LMU and Professor Michael Bader at the Department of Informatics at TUM, have optimized the SeisSol program for the parallel architecture of the Garching supercomputer “SuperMUC,” thereby speeding up calculations by a factor of five. Using a virtual experiment they achieved a new record on the SuperMUC: To simulate the vibrations inside the geometrically complex Merapi volcano on the island of Java, the supercomputer executed 1.09 quadrillion floating point operations per second. SeisSol maintained this unusually high performance level throughout the entire three hour simulation run using all of SuperMUC’s 147,456 processor cores.

Stephen Hawking Warns of Danger of Artificial Intelligence

In a commentary in the British daily, The Independent, famed Physicist Stephen Hawking has issued a warning about the potential danger involved in perfecting artificial intelligence. Citing such efforts as self-driving cars, the personal assistant Siri and Google Now, Hawking says that these early successes will pale against what the ambitious pursuit of AI is likely to achieve in coming decades. Mostly, we tend to think of the potential benefits of the pervasive spread of AI, and Hawking notes that there seem to be no theoretical limits to what could be achieved with intelligent machines continually working on improving their own design. This could eventually take them out of the realm of science fiction as portrayed in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, since, as Hawking states, “there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved.” The “dark side” of this vision is potentially that with the world’s militaries looking at autonomous weapons systems that choose and attack their own targets, the possible actions of such systems could get out of control. Could they, for instance, outsmart financial markets, develop weapons that humans cannot even understand, or outstrategize the leaders trying to combat them? “The short-term impact,” says Hawking, “depends on who controls it; the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.” We are currently and quite optimistically building out the Internet of Things. This interconnected universe is bound to be host to an increasing amount of artificial intelligence distributed throughout the world. The idea that this could harbor potential danger is something that could easily be disre-

garded in our efforts to advance the technology. The fact that a person with the stature of Stephen Hawking is raising a flag of caution should at least be worthy of some serious attention.

Google’s ATAP Group Selects Lattice FPGAs for its Project Ara Modular Smartphone Prototype

Lattice Semiconductor Corp. has announced that Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group has selected Lattice FPGAs for its ambitious Project Ara initiative that aims to deliver the world’s first modular smartphones for consumers to configure from a variety of modules. Made available to developers last week, and the subject of the recent Project Ara Modular Developers Conference, the Module Developers Kit (MDK) incorporates Lattice FPGAs for critical connectivity between reference implementations of removable modules and the Project Ara endoskeleton. In addition to enabling companies to rapidly develop prototypes of Project Ara modules, the low power and small size of Lattice FPGAs meet the system requirements of a thermally constrained environment, as well as provide the flexibility to support the MIPI UniPro network protocol that will be used for connectivity between modules. Finally, Lattice FPGAs are a proven solution for mobile consumer products, making them ideal for production modules as well. Developers can go from prototype to production, reducing the product development effort and accelerating the time-to-market. The advantages of Lattice FPGAs have already been proven in millions of smartphones currently used by consumers worldwide.




FORUM Colin McCracken

Million Module Milestone


mbedded computing will never be the same again. Small form factor boards now deliver more performance in a fraction of the size, weight and power of what was considered small ten years ago. Moore’s Law gains can be applied to old systems either as a cost and power reduction, or as a major speed-up, along with fast memory and I/O interfaces. Even quad core 2 GHz processors with RAM and LAN controller fit on a 10 square centimeter module and dissipate only 1020 watts. Some modules are even one third that size. Some of these Intel and AMD-based modules are rated for the industrial temperature range of -40° ~ +85°C from the chip manufacturer and don’t need the extra step of the board vendor’s screening process. As computer-on-module (COM) plus carrier board solutions make their way into more and more market segments, legacy small form factor SBCs are retrenching into foxholes—safe proven market segments—but even there they aren’t safe from the module invasion. What is the secret to rapid COM penetration? Exact I/O match in a small space? Easy CPU upgrades over time? Obsolescence management? Multiple price / performance system configurations using a single carrier board? Quick retrofitting into mechanical housings without expensive re-tooling? Open standards with multiple sources? Aggressive competition among suppliers? Asian manufacturing? It’s hard to pick just one answer, and the benefits vary widely across system OEM users anyway. There are still a few areas where COMs aren’t common. If the technical and supply requirements are straightforward enough to point to a vanilla motherboard solution, it’s hard for a two-board COM architecture to match the price. But all it takes is one significant COM benefit to tip the scales. Again, this can be purely a business or technology or subsystem management consideration that outweighs the cost disadvantage. Occasionally time-to-market is touted as a disadvantage to the COM (modular) approach. It’s easy to see why. Designing a carrier board isn’t trivial for those OEMs who are staffed only to spec and buy components rather than design their own boards. Third-party design service companies exist to alleviate the design burden. Module manufacturers provide reference carrier board schematics, usually without fees or NDAs. But a type of newcomer to the



COM ecosystem is really starting to accelerate COM adoption by OEMs who couldn’t stomach the lead time or NRE cost of developing with COMs before. Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) carrier boards are the new missing link for enabling the wide replacement of legacy SBCs and I/O cards. These carrier boards are ready to use, meaning they are suitable for a device manufacturer to put on the system level bill of materials and buy in volume, whereas reference design carriers are intentionally too bulky and expensive for that purpose. COTS carriers don’t need to have a kitchen sink of I/O expansion options. Each has a simple set of I/O that is meaningful for a certain class of applications. Although this approach has been around for nearly ten years, only recently has the breadth and depth of carrier choices achieved critical mass. The recent breakthrough came about when a number of long-time I/O card and CPU card vendors realized that COMs have moved from specialty niches into the mainstream. In other words, if you can’t lick ʼem, join ʼem. A computer-on-module design includes a processor, a companion chip / chipset (if the processor isn’t already a system-on-chip), RAM, a LAN controller, and power supplies and control. This subset of system circuits has proven to be common across so many applications that it’s very useful to carve out and standardize as a building block. Doing this solves the headache of subdividing SBC production into so many small builds due to many connector styles, chip stuff options and BIOS builds. The industry runs more efficiently with a small number of high volume processor core vendors and a large number of low-volume high-mix I/O card producers. Off-the-shelf COM processor boards are now shipping by the millions per year. A great deal of commoditization has occurred, spurred by aggressive module vendors who sell mainly on price. The supplier base is being pared down a bit by the exit of prominent board vendors from this category of boards who don’t want to weigh down the profit margins of their high-margin large form factor and systems businesses. Nonetheless, each year the customer base continues to benefit through competitive multiple sourcing and much broader x86 and RISC offerings.



Small Modules in Rugged Environments

Rugged Electronics Rapidly Adapt to New Applications VITA 59: RCE, the result of cooperative efforts between VITA and PICMG, is bringing the modular, small form factor advantages of COM Express to the world of systems that require ruggedization, opening a wide range of new and exciting applications for small embedded systems. by Michael Plannerer, MEN Mikro Elektronik


he broadened availability of rugged electronics has led to the use of embedded systems in applications previously not able to take advantage of the latest developments in embedded computing. Not only are existing markets benefitting, but completely new markets are opening up, since electronics can now reliably be used in places where previously they just wouldn’t survive. Specifically, embedded technology has found its way into a wider variety of mobile and small form factor applications enabling a new set of technological innovations in fields as diverse as mobile medical equipment, industrial agricultural machinery and mass transit vehicles. Ruggedization of the systems and components has laid much of the groundwork for this growth. Today’s embedded systems are found in portable applications as varied as rolling X-ray and MRI machines to buses, railcars and even airplanes. This seemingly diverse set of equipment has a few key points in common. Namely, each is based on being mobile, which brings shock and vibration into play, as well as being subjected to rig-



FIGURE 1 Taking it to extremes, compact, rugged electronics handle today’s most severe application environments.

orous environmental effects such as dust, humidity and heat or even cosmic radiation in airborne applications. Available space is also a concern in each piece of equipment, regardless of the

specific industry. Real estate in electronics systems is shrinking in two significant ways. On the outside, in terms of physical space, there is less room for the actual system or board to fit into, especially in the


FIGURE 2 A standardized platform ensures a healthy, growing ecosystem.

case of space-constrained applications. On the inside, more components are fighting for this reduced system space, and yet the systems are expected to incorporate more functionality, which often translates into more components, or integrated components, which brings the concern of heat dissipation into play. So, how does a designer overcome this battle of developing a rugged, reliable system within very tight quarters, and do it cost-effectively?

ently. But one thing is clear: a healthy ecosystem that involves several industry manufacturers and that offers customers flexibility, options and enhancements gives a technology platform a much better chance of not only surviving, but of thriving. Standardization promotes growth in an ecosystem in several critical ways. The availability of a universal platform enables users to develop systems that talk effectively with one another. It also ensures that components work side by side in a system, not against one another; and it fosters a community of developers and manufacturers that work together for the growth of the industry as a whole. In addition to providing a network of manufacturers that gives the end user supplier choices and various development options, a standardized platform facilitates rapid system design time and greater flexibility. Currently in preparation, VITA 59: RCE (Rugged COM Express) provides embedded designers with a compact format, an industry standard platform and rugged performance. (Figure 2). Based upon the PICMG COM.0 (COM Express) standard, VITA 59 not only capitalizes on the small form factor and interchangeable concepts behind this

Why Ruggedized?

The degree and intensity that each element in an embedded system endures varies depending on the intended application, which drives component choice in overall system design. Ongoing developments in components, technologies and the standards that govern embedded systems have led to a growth in the choices designers have to match a system to their application requirements. Ruggedization needs to be an inherent concept in the initial development of the component design, not just added as a consideration after product development or after certain parameters are already defined that will influence how the product operates. True ruggedization is best achieved at the first steps of a component’s design. (Figure 1).

Why Standardize?

The embedded industry has seen its share of ideas that work and those that maybe could have been done a bit differ-

FIGURE 3 Life-critical medical systems are relying on rugged electronics for reliable operations and advanced patient monitoring.

original standard, but also adds ruggedization and modern serial interfaces while defining pin-out for compatibility among different modules, regardless of manufacturer (see sidebar “A Chapter on COMs,” p. 15). It is also the first collaboration between PICMG and VITA to set forth an industry standard that will facilitate the embedded computing community as a whole. The VITA 59 RCE standard uses three of the four widely accepted form factors of PICMG’s COM Express, along with all the associated mechanics and pin-out requirements. Within those form factors, a VITA 59 module has provisions for a 5 mm wing extension for cooling and mounting (Table 1).

Standardization Aids Optimization

A number of factors working within the standard can aid in optimizing designs. The inherent modularity enables a building block approach to system design for rapid development of customized systems components. Since key technology parts are standardized, and therefore require minimal or even no development time, resources can be focused on the application specifics. Standardized modules can easily be replaced or upgraded, extending overall system longevity. Because the components are based on the same standardized platform, integration is simplified, reducing costs as well as time-to-market. Ruggedized COMs modules can be tailored for a range of platforms from low power up to high performance environments, and the established pin-out and PCB size guarantee intercompatibility. The use of flexible I/O configurations gives designers a wide range of choices in system design and functionality. A module can be cost-effectively and easily adapted to its application in terms of functionality and environmental concerns, including shock, temperature, vibration, dust and humidity. VITA 59 provides enhanced EMC protection to reduce risk and qualification costs as well as additional mechanical protection against shock and vibration, enabling the modules to be used in harsh applications, such as railway and military systems. The sealed design keeps the electronics free of humidity and dust, which could compromise the electronics. RTC RTC MAGAZINE MAGAZINE OCTOBER JUNE 2014 2013



FIGURE 4 New applications, such as construction and mining equipment, are finding rugged electronics attractive for their space-constrained and harsh environments.

Thermal Management is also a vital aspect of ruggedization. By their nature, smaller systems are frequently more affected by heat build-up and the need to protect electronics from associated damage. The VITA 59 design accommodates functional operating temperatures ranging from -55° to +125°C through heat transfer properties built into the CPU as well as the choice of connector and the solid connections between the chip, the module frame and cover, and the carrier board. Heat from the CPU is transferred to the metallic top cover and then to six cooling tabs that mate with the module frame for conductive cooling. Supplemental cooling is also possible by applying a heat sink to the top of the module cover.

New Vistas of Applications

Medical: Ten years ago, moving a patient on a ventilator in intensive care involved some critical risk factors, since the unit would need to withstand the wobbles in an elevator, numerous bumps over door jams and jostling around corners, through hallways and positioning within the room.



However, now through the use of ruggedized, compact electronics, developments are being made that are facilitating patient care and increasing quality of life. Rugged electronics are being used to control ventilation in mobile medical equipment, while monitoring patient vitals. In one example, a carrier board was developed by the equipment manufacturer that included system functionality with application-specific I/O that met the patient monitoring and ventilation control requirements (Figure 3). These devices need to work in close proximity to several other pieces of medical equipment, all of which are crucial to patient safety. EMC, in terms of how the ventilator was affected as well as how it would affect other devices, was therefore of the utmost concern. Extremely low EMC values and high ESD requirements were met through the VITA 59 specification, since the rugged module is sealed in a 100% EC-protected housing. Since it is regulating a patient’s breathing, interruptions in performance, even for a split second, would be detri-

mental. The system is designed to withstand severe shock of up to 25G in addition to vibration up to 2.5G, ensuring that no matter where the patient needs to be transported, the system electronics will continue to function, ensuring patient safety. Transportation: Ruggedized electronics are not only helping to transport individual patients safely, but are also being used in mass transportation applications to move much larger numbers of people on a daily basis. Today’s modern rail system is finding many benefits in small form factor ruggedized electronics. From the rail system itself down to the specific train cars, electronics are being used to automate, facilitate and accommodate the vast amount of data that keeps the trains running on time, passengers informed, and the system operating efficiently and safely. Starting with the engineer of a train, Rugged COM Express is being used to update the display within the train cab to allow the engineer access to the growing amount of data available on a railway network. The added computing power of the system’s AMD processor, combined with the ruggedized electronics, brings more data to the engineer quicker without the threat of the system going offline. For example, an IP65 front plate on a display, complete with touch keys, gives the engineer easy access to system information while ensuring the display will be unharmed by environmental elements including dust and humidity. Conformal coating on the electronics will protect the internal workings of the system to ensure reliable operation over an extended period of time. On the rail network itself, system designers are implementing more advanced and rugged electronics for the central control as well as remote control and diagnosis. One freight train manufacturer is using a completely customized system that is still fully compliant with the European railway standard EN 50155. The use of VITA 59 components allows the cars to be equipped with highly advanced electronics that fit in very small spaces, yet ensures that the system meets the standards set forth by the governing


A TQMa6x module with a Freescale i.MX6 can save you design time and money

industry-required specifications. Shock, vibration and protection from the elements are also considerations of this rugged operating system, along with passive cooling from -40°C up to +125°C. Construction: One of the newer application areas using small form factor, rugged electronics is the construction industry. Previously, the extremely high shock and vibration found in this industry had precluded most embedded electronics from truly being utilized in construction equipment (Figure 5). However, because it caters to both the rugged and compact requirements of construction equipment, VITA 59 is forging new ground in terms of where embedded computing systems can be used. This trend is set to continue as electronics are expected to perform reliably in a growing number of compact and mobile environments. Not only does VITA 59 provide a standardized method for implementing rugged electronics in compact environments, it also aligns the principles of two important industry organizations. In essence, it highlights the advantages of both PICMG and VITA to establish tomorrow’s platform for reliable and rugged embedded computing. An ecosystem can only survive if there is growth and support from within. As evidenced by the use of rugged electronics to modernize older systems as well as to provide inroads into new applications, small form factor electronics will continue to proliferate into different embedded environments, providing longterm reliability, advancing electronics and solid performance well into the future. MEN Mikro Elektronik Blue Bell, PA (215) 542-9575

A Chapter on COMs

A Computer-On-Module (COM) is a complete computer on a plug-on module that offers many benefits. Because the I/O is configured on an individual carrier board, the system designer can tailor the functionality to the application, save development costs, and shorten time-to-market, all goals for an embedded designer. Since the pure CPU functions can easily be standardized for many fields of use, COM-based systems can use a more or less standard plug-on CPU module. Even complex CPUs, including those with multicore technology, can be realized on a very compact, highly integrated COM. Special I/O interfaces, memory devices, connectors or form factors may be added to the carrier board. Also, FPGA-based functions can be added to a carrier board or to the CPU module, if desired. All this makes the electronics 100% tailored to the application, and future-safe. The implementation is far less complex and less expensive than reengineering a system from scratch, especially in applications where a special I/O platform is needed. The CPU module, which provides a standard interface to the carrier, remains scalable and can be used in a design application much like an integrated circuit component. But, two major downsides that have hindered the widespread use of COMs are the lack of ruggedization and the disparity among the structure of the modules. VITA 59: RCE takes the basic tenets of the COM model that provide design benefits, since upgrades and functionality can simply be replaced by switching the base module, as well as cost benefits by keeping design, redesign and upgrade costs to a minimum, and adds rugged characteristics. Now, these cost and design advantages can be brought into an even wider range of harsh applications, rugged equipment and mission-critical environments.

TQ embedded modules: ■

Are the smallest in the industry, without compromising quality and reliability

Bring out all the processor signals to the Tyco connectors

Can reduce development time by as much as 12 months

The TQMa6x module comes with a Freescale i.MX6 (ARM® Cortex™-A9), and supports Linux operating systems. The full-function STKa6Q-AA Starter Kit is an easy and inexpensive way to evaluate and test the TQMa6x module.

Technology in Quality TQ-USA is the brand for a module product line represented in N. America by Convergence Promotions, LLC

RTC MAGAZINE JUNE 2014 TQMa6x V2 1-3 Page Ad.indd 1


2/3/14 3:55 PM


CONNECTED The Internet of Things and the Cloud

Devices in the Cloud: Driving Intelligence Where You Need It The expansion of the Internet of Things is opening exciting new business opportunities with distributed connectivity and huge amounts of data. Knowing how and where to manage such intelligence is key to being able to realize its potential. by Ido Sarig, Wind River


nalysts predict that 15 billion intelligent devices will be connected in the Internet of Things by 2015. Ultimately, connected devices will control everything from indoor temperatures to in-dash navigation, from the flow of energy through our cities to the flow of intravenous fluids. The prospects are at once exciting and daunting: exciting because of the potential to rejuvenate industries and create entirely new streams of revenue; daunting because of the complexities involved in making sure all those devices perform as promised. Let’s look at the exciting part first the opportunity to adopt new business models and revenue streams. One Wind River customer is a manufacturer of forklifts (Figure 1). They traditionally made money selling or leasing equipment a product. Now, with the confluence of embedded technology, wireless connectivity and the Cloud, they are seeing the opportunity to evolve from selling products to selling subscription services to get paid for the usage of the product based on tonnage per month and not just for the product itself. Smart sensors on the forklifts can record and report how many tons



FIGURE 1 Using an expensive piece of equipment as a service available for subscription offers opportunities like opex and capex savings due to increased asset uptime, but it requires the ability to update firmware remotely as well as acquire use and maintenance data.


FIGURE 2 Security for connected devices and services must be applied at various levels in a system of connected devices, and targeted for the specific characteristics and needs associated with those levels.

they are picking up, how far they are traveling and other variables relevant for the new business model. That is not much different from the telecom carriers who will gladly sell you a smartphone at a deep discount in order to sell you monthly, renewable voice and data plans. It’s a model that more and more hardgoods industries are interested in adopting. And it is only possible because of the ability to connect smart onboard devices with Cloud-based applications and analytics. In our enthusiasm for the new possibilities, however, we cannot overlook the real challenges to achieve this vision. While the challenges are many, they tend to fall into three broad categories: connectivity, security and manageability. Connectivity: With new products currently being developed, we can start building intelligence and connectivity into them from scratch. Today, though, much of the industry’s effort is focused on connecting legacy or “brownfield” devices that until now have stood alone. Most of these devices were not designed with connectivity in

mind. On the contrary, many were designed to make connectivity difficult in order to protect them from network-borne threats. Now, builders and operators of large-scale systems want to take advantage of the efficiencies and economies that the IoT promises. To reap those benefits, they must figure out not only how to connect them but also how to protect them. Another complication is that there is no single standard for connecting to networks. Many brownfield devices use proprietary protocols and will require gateways to connect with IP-based networks. And if they are already IP-based, they may be using a wide variety of protocols. Developers will need to be able to build gateways that support virtually any communication protocol. The availability, accessibility and cost of bandwidth are another constraint. For equipment operating in remote locations, the transmission of data from onboard devices to Cloud-based applications via satellite can be an expensive proposition. We need to figure out ways to move data efficiently to where it needs to be. That starts

with figuring out more precisely which data is needed at which level. Security: As we become increasingly reliant on intelligent, interconnected devices in every aspect of our lives, how do we protect them from intrusions that could compromise personal privacy or threaten public safety? The number of network-based attacks on embedded devices that control critical infrastructure is increasing at an alarming rate, as is their sophistication. Security is arguably the overriding issue in the Internet of Things, inseparable from performance and reliability. Security needs to be factored in at every level, from the devices to the gateways to the Cloud-based systems that control them (Figure 2). Virtually every known type of hardware and software security measure comes into play in the IoT. Secure booting at the device level, access control and authentication, application whitelisting, firewalls and intrusion prevention systems are just some of the tools at hand to respond to security threats.




Manageability: Once you have addressed the connectivity and security issues, the next challenge is how to manage the device remotely over time. You need to be able to provision it securely with software updates as they become available. You need to send security patches as vulnerabilities are uncovered. You need to be alerted when the device is not performing properly, and you need the capability to diagnose problems remotely when they happen. And you need to be able to perform tasks like these without the risk of disruption or downtime.

It Starts with an End-to-End View

Players in the IoT market need to take an end-to-end view that encompasses the endpoint device, the connectivity layer, the gateway and the application running in the Cloud. We need to understand what the entire system is meant to do and the role each component plays, or could potentially play, in its overall operation. By looking along the whole continuum, we can identify op-

portunities to deliver intelligence where it’s needed to optimize performance. Consider, for example, the issues of processing capacity and bandwidth. One of the big challenges in the IoT is how to deal with the enormous volumes of machinegenerated data flowing through it, from devices through gateways to applications in the Cloud and back. It puts a huge strain on bandwidth, which can drag down performance and drive up costs. Conventional thinking is that all that data is necessary for Cloud-based applications to do what they’re supposed to do analyze the data from the devices, monitor performance, make decisions and send instructions back to the devices. What if, instead, you could push a lot of the computing the intelligence down to the gateway, or even to the device itself? Imagine if the device could perform various services, such as smart data aggregation and filtering, and figure out which data needs to be sent to the Cloud. The Cloud applications would continue to perform the heavy-

duty analytics and create statistical models for crunching the data. Ultimately, though, once the model has been fine-tuned and is running properly, a scaled-down version of it can be sent to the device, which can then take over much of the processing. This vision is quickly becoming a reality. With a “write once, run everywhere” development platform and a scripted programming language optimized for resource constraints, developers will be able to create small-footprint applications that bring intelligence to the device level. Bandwidth constraints will be less of an issue as smart devices become more selective in the data they send to the Cloud, and systems distribute their processing more efficiently.

Translating Technology Advancement to Business Advantage

Of course, the end benefit of optimal IoT performance is the business advantage it delivers, whether that means saving money



The latest small form-factor (VITA 74) solution from CES features a TI DaVinci™ video processor providing multiple HD/SD streams of H.264, VC1, MPEG-4 Video, JPEG/MJPEG compression / decompression and multiple I/Os in a small rugged ru conduction-cooled format.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA has been designing and manufacturing complex high-performance avionic, defense and communication boards, subsystems and complete systems for thirty years (such as ground and flight test computers, ground station subsystems, radar subsystems, mission computers, DAL A certified computers, video platforms, as well as test and support equipment). CES is involved in the most advanced aerospace and defense programs throughout Europe and the US, and delivers innovative solutions worldwide.

For more information:




through increased productivity or making more money by creating sources of revenue that didn’t exist before. Predictive maintenance is one of the more compelling advantages of the IoT. Take, for example, a wind turbine. Typically located in remote places, on mountainsides or even at sea, uptime is critical for turbines. To prevent failure, operators historically sent crews of technicians out to the turbines to perform routine inspections and preventive maintenance according to fixed schedules—a labor intensive process with no guarantee that failure won’t occur. Today, smart sensors can predict failure in real time with great accuracy based on any number of symptoms, such as changes in blade vibration patterns. Automatic software adjustments can often rectify the issue without the need for a crew onsite. Moreover, control systems in the Cloud can collect data not only from the wind turbines themselves, but also from external sources, such as reports on airborne dust ac-

cumulations from the National Weather Service. The system can aggregate and analyze all these variables and determine precisely when a specific piece of equipment needs servicing or repair, avoiding unnecessary disruption or downtime and dramatically reducing maintenance costs. Cost reduction is what initially attracts many companies to IoT solutions. However, once they experience the power of data analytics, they begin to identify new business and revenue opportunities. Our forklift business mentioned earlier is one such example. Another is a medical device manufacturer that evolved from marketing stand-alone to connected biofeedback devices. The devices can transmit data directly from patient to doctor, eliminating the need for an office visit. In the process of creating greater efficiency and reducing costs for both patient and provider, the company realized it was accumulating valuable data on multiple patients with similar conditions. Individual patient data, of course, must be kept confi-

dential by law. Once aggregated and rendered anonymous, however, the data yields patterns that are very useful to anyone who wants to better understand a particular medical condition. The company could create a new source of revenue by providing data on the progression of a disease for medical researchers and insurers. The full potential of the Internet of Things is only beginning to be recognized, let alone realized. Those of us on the technology side need to keep working closely with our customers to understand their business drivers. That enables us to develop the tools needed to overcome the challenges connectivity, security and manageability and turn exciting possibilities into realities. Wind River Alameda, CA (510) 748-4100

Intelligent Networking

Peet to Peer Tranfers

Reflective memory multicast





The Yocto Project Speeds Platform Support

The Yocto Project: Challenges and Opportunities Complexity in processors and systems leads to complexity in software, especially with a vast open source entity like Linux. The Yocto Project helps developers navigate the path through complexity, hardware compatibility, source dependencies and open source license issues. by Christopher Hallinan, Mentor Graphics


n just over four years since its inception, the Yocto Project has become the de facto standard build system for custom embedded Linux distributions. Virtually every major semiconductor manufacturer and embedded operating system vendor has joined the project, as well as several device and board manufacturers and independent software vendors. Many other organizaUpstream Project Releases

Local Projects

tions large and small are using the project as participants. Several commercial Linux distributions are Yocto Project Compatible, the official badge of Yocto Project compliance (see sidebar Yocto Project Compliance Program. p. 22). The Yocto Project is sponsored by, and is a collaborative project of, the Linux Foundation (Figure 1). Looking back at the history of open

SCMs (optional)

Source Mirrors User Configuration Metedata (.bb + patches) Machine BSP Configuration Policy Configuration

Source Fetching

Patch Application

Upstream sources

Output Packages

Metadata Inputs

Process Steps (tasks)

Build System

Output Image Data

Package Feeds

.deb generation Output Analysis for Package Splitting plus Package Relationships

Config Compile Autoconf etc

.rpm generation

.ipk generation

QA Tests

Image generation

ADE generation


Application Development Environment

FIGURE 1 The Yocto Project is an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools, and methods to help developers create custom Linux-based systems.



source projects, the level of commercial participation within the relatively young Yocto Project is nearly unprecedented. This can be seen as a testament to the utility of the Yocto Project. Some of the commercial products that have earned Yocto Project compatibility are currently listed on the Yocto Project website.

Why Such Rapid Success? A Technical Overview

The Yocto Project is an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help developers create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products—regardless of the hardware architecture. The Yocto Project provides a solid foundation upon which to build customized embedded Linux platforms. This type of collaboration brings together not only member and participating organizations, but also a large collection of open source projects that can be leveraged to build custom embedded solutions. The Yocto Project integrates several open source projects to create a framework for building custom embedded Linux distributions. The foundation of this framework is called Poky, which is composed of technology from two upstream projects: Open-





Reference BSPs

oe-core scripts FIGURE 2 The various elements that comprise Poky.

Embedded and the BitBake build engine. The OpenEmbedded project hosts a large collection of build instructions, a subset of which forms the oe-core layer within Poky. BitBake is the build engine responsible for interpreting the build instructions, collectively called metadata, contained within Poky’s oe-core and meta-yocto layers. Poky is both a build system and a reference embedded Linux distribution. Figure 2 illustrates the elements that make up Poky. Additional layers of metadata can be stacked on top of Poky including BSP layers, middleware software layers and customer-provided application layers. It’s worth noting that the Yocto Project documentation found within the Poky collection is surprisingly very good, given that open source software has a reputation for poor or non-existent documentation. The most common type of metadata is a recipe. A recipe can be thought of as a set of instructions for building a software package, especially within a cross-development environment, targeting a specific embedded hardware platform on a particular architecture (Figure 3). A recipe is a file containing build instructions (metadata) or more frequently a set of files in a similar fashion to a C source file that specifies #include files. The Yocto Project contains recipes for many hundreds of software packages that facilitate building these packages in a cross-development environment. In addition to software packages, the Yocto Project also contains recipes for building the Linux kernel for a variety of

common reference boards such as the Beagleboard series based on processors from Texas Instruments, and the Sabre series based on processors from Freescale Semiconductor. It also has recipes for building a cross-toolchain and standard runtime library (C/C++), although most commercial OS vendors that market a product based on the Yocto Project ship with a commercial cross-toolchain, pre-integrated with a baseline Yocto Project reference distribution and build system.

Designing with Embedded Linux: Challenges

Saying that developing an embedded Linux distribution is non-trivial is like saying one hundred million lines of code is a lot. Of course it is! Software complexity is spiraling rapidly due in part to the advances in hardware platforms and system-on-chip (SoC) processors. Many of today’s embedded devices are targeted at the “Internet of Things” and contain SoCs with integrated peripherals such as advanced graphics engines supporting OpenGL/ES, SD/MMC and Flash storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, USB host and device interfaces, and often contain hardware accelerated video and audio codec engines. Building embedded Linux systems involves integrating hundreds of disparate software packages from scores of open source and commercial software repositories scattered around the globe. Moreover, a custom hardware platform requires a compatible Linux kernel ported to that specific hardware platform, and most likely a boot-

loader also customized to the hardware. A cross-toolchain tuned and optimized for a given architecture is also required. Package version selection can be the most challenging aspects of integrating many unique and unrelated software packages. Indeed, many if not most of these software packages are developed and maintained by disconnected communities, and therefore are released with independent and often unpredictable cadences. Software packages that depend on other underlying software packages (for example, applications that depend on underlying system libraries) must be version matched for correct operation. While most developers would never break backward compatibility intentionally, incompatibilities occur with striking regularity between “related” packages. Such incompatibilities are most evident in software packages that contain many dependencies, such as graphical and user-interface programs. These often have long dependency chains, requiring font libraries, widget libraries, device libraries (e.g., USB) and other system libraries such as network utilities and system configuration utilities. Consider mplayer for example, an open source media player. The Yocto Project build instructions for mplayer enumerates 21 dependencies (mostly libraries) required to build many of these libraries, which have dependencies themselves. All of these libraries and their dependencies must be tested and confirmed to work together, even though they are largely developed independently, on different release cadences and without formal cooperation. Developers and the organizations they work for need to be aware of open source licensing issues. This is another significant challenge for manufacturers of embedded Linux devices. A typical embedded Linux distribution contains upward of one hundred or more different open source licenses. Take a look at an Android or other smartphone for an example of the hundreds of pages of license text found on these devices. Some organizations have policies preventing the deployment of certain open source license types, and this also presents a challenge. The Yocto Project has tools





busybox glibc


sysvinit inetutils mtdutils

Yocto Project Compliance Program

FIGURE 3 Simplified Yocto Project build.

and facilities to help manage the legal challenge of deploying open source software.

What’s New

Probably the most visible addition to the Yocto Project in the last six months has come in the form of additional member companies and project participants. Freescale Semiconductor joined as a gold level member. LG, Dell, and Renesas and OS Systems also joined as silver members. Six new entities registered as Yocto Project Participants in the last few months. A dozen new products or open source projects have registered and received approval by the Yocto Project Advisory Board in the last year. These include a GENIVI baseline, providing a reference foundation for an automotive Linux platform, as well as Linux products from Enea, Wind River, Intel and Mentor Graphics, among others. The Yocto Project website maintains a list of members, participants and products registered under the Yocto Project branding program. Toaster: One of the most interesting new technical features of the Yocto Project is the “Toaster” appliance. Toaster was due out with Yocto Project 1.6 in April of 2014. Toaster provides the developer with Web-based viewing tools to look deeply into the build. Using Toaster, one can discover why packages were built, examine dependency chains and list the packages in a given image. One of the most useful features of Toaster is the ability to view each package’s metadata, and discover what files were responsible for modifying each meta-



data variable. Prior to Toaster, this was a tedious chore. Hob: While not exactly new, Hob continues to attract developer attention within the Yocto Project. Hob is a graphical user interface for BitBake. Hob is most useful for a newbie to the Yocto Project to be able to make rudimentary changes and modifications to the project configuration. For example, Hob can be used to select what image type to build (graphical versus nongraphical, for example) and to select what BSP to build. Hob can also be used to add functionality to the base image. For example, using Hob, one can easily add software packages to the file system image. Hob has many configuration menus that allow the developer to select from a list of items, when it may not be apparent to the newbie what the choices are. The Yocto Project has achieved traction in the industry because it enables a wide selection of software to be easily assembled into a coherent system. It will continue to be an important source of technology to both do-it-yourselfers as well as commercial vendors of hardware, software, operating systems and tools. Mentor Graphics Wilsonville, OR (800) 547-3000 Yocto Project

The Yocto Project is governed by an Advisory Board (AB) made up of representatives from each of the member companies. One of the first tasks the AB set out to do was to define a branding program and rules for use of the Yocto Project logo and the Yocto Project Compatible and Participant badges. “Yocto Project Participant” is appropriate for organizations that visibly use and support the Yocto Project. Participant status is open to non-profit organizations including other open source projects, and small companies up to eighty employees, as well as any organization currently serving as a Yocto Project member organization. “Yocto Project Compatible” is appropriate for products (commercial or non-commercial), BSPs and other Yoctocompatible layers, and related opensource projects. These components must be maintained and submitted by an open source project, non-profit organization, or Yocto Project member organization. The main difference between these two designations encompasses what is being registered—organizations are Participants, while products and software components are Compatible. For example, a company may register itself as a Participant and then register appropriate products as Compatible.



The Yocto Project Speeds Platform Support

The Yocto Project—Portability, Compatibility, Support Adoption of the Yocto Project is the forward looking way to develop embedded Linux-based systems. by Jon Aldama, Enea


or a number of years, Embedded Market Forecasters’ surveys have reported that acquisition cost and source code availability are main factors when choosing an OS for embedded systems. Hence, it is not surprising that Linux is the most widely used OS in embedded devices. Through source code access and collaboration, product developers have the best opportunity to achieve great productivity as well as software quality, thus focusing on creating highly differentiated and competitive products. However, operating systems struggle to keep up with exponentially complex computer architectures. For the last decade, we have been facing a continuously increasing number of available CPUs based on MIPS, x86, PowerPC and ARM architectures, with respective 8-, 12-, 32and 64-bit processor solutions. In addition to that, there is a high degree of flexibility that is required to deal with either constrained or purposely optimized embedded systems. And all of this together with the lack of standardization leaves embedded Linux developers with over 200 different Linux distributions to choose from with the added complexity of corresponding kernel versions, build systems and tools. Distributions focused on specific purposes lack the flexibility required to accomplish target footprint sizes and



FIGURE 1 The Yocto Project development environment.

functionality needs, often requiring developers to manually “hack” existing distributions, or even roll their own. The result is increasingly complex Linux operating systems that became a nightmare to scale, port and maintain. If this “embedded meal” does not seem succulent enough, add a Greek salad of software licenses (e.g., Google’s Linuxbased mobile OS involves over twenty different licenses) with the corresponding license compliance issues and let your legal department deal with it. Visualize a

confused team of platform developers sitting in a skyscraper’s top floor glass office discussing license incompatibilities with a group of lawyers. These involve “contamination” (as they refer to the copyleft effect), digital rights management risks, patent retaliation and other license compliance matters, as if they were speaking completely different languages. All these issues represent a significant risk in getting an embedded solution to market, and the way to mitigate them is standardization. But this is nothing new.


There have been a number of efforts to standardize embedded Linux since 1999, starting with the creation of the Embedded Linux Consortium. ELC’s efforts focused on a platform specification meant to define application programming environments for Linux-based embedded systems with a sound footing in industry-standard behavior. This work, known as ELCPS, was eventually transferred to the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) in 2005, an organization that two years later would merge with the Free Standards Group and become the Linux Foundation. This last one is well known for being the biggest non-profit organization that supports the kernel development community, and for employing Linus Torvalds himself. The Linux Foundation promotes, protects and standardizes Linux. And in order to spread collaborative Linux development to new fields, it also hosts a number of other projects. In 2010, as an attempt to reach out to the embedded world, the Linux Foundation kick-started the Yocto Project, which, after aligning itself with the OpenEmbedded community a year later, became what it is today: a collaborative universal starting point for creating custom Linux distributions. The Yocto Project is basically an umbrella project where the open source community and industry come together to collaborate on a set of tools and best practices for developing custom Linux distributions for just about any embedded system out there. See the “Cooking Analogy” box on page 26. In practice, one just chooses a CPU architecture (supported are x86, PowerPC, ARM and MIPS), selects footprint size and builds a working Linux system, in little time. The development environment (Figure 1) provides a validated set of software applications and libraries that let you add and remove thousands of components to get exactly the features you needed. Additionally, it provides a set of custom application development tools specific to your cross-environment (including emulated ones), as well as integration with Eclipse plug-ins for debugging, profiling and even features like power consumption analysis. It’s important to understand that Yocto is not an embedded Linux distribution; it helps you create your own. It does that by enabling a high degree of flexibility and

customization while avoiding distribution- ate SPDX reports, which are basically a specific software policies that could ulti- standardized way to make Free and Open mately interfere with product development. Source Software (FOSS) inventories. So, if And this is particularly important when you are a lawyer working at a patent departyou are building Linux-based embedded ment of a company, and you have a couple products, since it is critical to have full of software licenses that keep you awake control over the software running on your at night, you can just give a call to your indevice. tegrator and share your particular license The Yocto Project is the next step for black list, so that packages released under embedded Linux. The Linux open source the undesired licenses are not included in model has revolutionized the world. But the resulting distribution. now with Linux’ increasing dominance in The Yocto Project involves hundreds the commercial world, it is becoming less of developers around the world with a wide about the open source model and more variety of members from huge corporations about the ability to quickly build, config- to small companies, and even individuals. ure and rapidly deploy Linux. That’s why Yocto has support from silicon vendors adopting the Yocto Project holds many such as Intel, Freescale, Texas Instruments benefits for companies. The most important and Renesas as well as software operating one is being able to reuse your development system vendors such as Enea, Wind River, efforts regardless of the hardware device MontaVista and Mentor Graphics. The list you are working with. Yocto’s Board Sup- goes on. Companies that normally comport Package (BSP) layer maintains a high pete with each other come together and level of independence from the underlying cooperate in a symbiotic manner, helping architecture. This means that rebuilding make the project compatible with almost your software stack across a wide range all popular processors available for embedof software platforms is often as easy as ded designs. But do not forget the fact that changing one line in a configuration file. the Yocto Project is hosted by the Linux One can only guess at how much time and Foundation, which means that it remains money this saves from organizations that independent from any particular company need to port a solution to a new board. or vendor. The next benefit is particularly interThere is no doubt that the Yocto Projesting for your company’s legal depart- ect has improved and continues to improve ment. The Yocto Project has some skilled platform development a great deal. Not developers with legal understanding—the surprisingly, a recent report from the Linux so called License Infrastructure Interest Foundation shows that collaborative pracGroup. This group works on making a license-aware build system, making it possible to include or remove software components based on specific license groups and the corresponding restriction levels (potential license propagation, etc.). It helps identify license incompatibilities such as the fact that the second version of the GNU Public License and the Apache License FIGURE 2 2.0 are incompatible. Enea Linux 4.0 product offering. It can even generRTC RTC MAGAZINE MAGAZINE OCTOBER JUNE 2014 2013



tices are increasing exponentially. Open source projects are unquestionably paving the future for computing. The only weakness of the open source model is the lack of defined support. While software communities are often replete with helpful folks, the support provided is still on a best effort basis. This might not be good enough for companies dealing with tight production schedules or angry customers. The good news is that when you make a Yocto-based solution, it automatically shares the framework with OSV members that provide commercial distributions from the project. And thanks to the project’s high degree of portability, commercial support is within arm’s reach without forcing you to adapt to a completely different build system. The only thing you need to do is choose the OSV profile that is best suited for your solution. The Swedish company, Enea, whose operating systems have dealt with the telecom industry for over 40 years, is a supporting member of the Yocto Project. Its

commercial distribution, Enea Linux 4.0 (Figure 2), is the result of its involvement and collaboration, and is the key for providing commercial support. Enea Linux targets the networking and communication market segment and focuses on and has contributed to such real-time extensions as PREEMPT_RT, core isolation techniques and the so-called NOHZ patch. A recent contribution from Enea aims at taking the project one step further toward carrier grade level. The goal is to unify efforts in order to collaboratively provide Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) compliance for Yocto-based distributions. CGL is a set of specifications that detail standards of availability (“five-nines,” “six-nines”), scalability, manageability and service response characteristics for use within the telecommunications industry.


The Yocto Project uses a cooking analogy to refer to some of its elements. • BitBake: This is a make-like build tool that is one of the main OpenEmbedded contributions to the project. • Recipes: A fundamental part of BitBake as they define each individual piece of software to be built. • Hob: It is a graphical user interface for the build system. It’s a British word for a cook top. • Toaster: Previously known as Web Hob, it is a Web-based interface to the build system.

Enea Phoenix, AZ (480) 753-9200



expansion enclosures

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TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT Hypervisors and Virtualization

Understanding Hypervisors and System Consolidation Virtualization solutions for real-time and embedded applications are available now, and there are multiple implementations and approaches available to choose from. But what are the right questions to ask and the things to consider? It is important to look at the different approaches and understand some of the key attributes that an embedded, real-time hypervisor should possess. by Gerd Lammers, Real-Time Systems


t is amazing just how long it takes sometimes for new technology to become mature enough so it can be applied successfully without too many unwanted side effects. For hypervisor technology on Intel x86 platforms, this is definitely something that can be said. In this case, engineers did not adopt them just because of a lack of trust in consolidated systems running on a single hardware. Simply said, the different pieces of technology needed to build secure and deterministic real-time hypervisors were just not there a decade ago. Over the last few years this has changed. Low-power multicore processors are state of the art, and hardware assisted virtualization technology (e.g., Intel VT) now allows the makers of hypervisors to build secure, high-performance virtualization products. And, as always, there are tradeoffs, and no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to hypervisors. While their gener-



al use is for the consolidation of multiple cores into a single system (Figure 1), the specific selection depends on the particular requirements and application. Here we examine hypervisors used in products for industrial automation but which may also be applicable to other fields where hard real-time performance and security are essential. When choosing a hypervisor for an embedded application with real-time requirements, there are a number of important things to consider, for example: the “Type” of hypervisor used, security aspects, real-time performance, scalability, portability and ease of use. First of all, there are several different types of hypervisors available. The so-called “host-based” hypervisor is implemented as an application on top of a host operating system like Windows or Linux. Host-based hypervisors not only depend on the host operating system to

FIGURE 1 The purpose of a hypervisor is “system consolidation” and coordination of multiple CPUs on a single die.

be up and running, but scheduling and access to hardware devices is also provided by the host operating system, adding a non-deterministic layer between the guest operating system and hardware. Thus it is only by default that they provide virtual or emulated devices for the guests to work with because all the real, physical devices are already serviced by the host operating system installed on the hardware. These restrictions obviously rule out real-time applications (Figure 2). On the other hand, a “bare metal” hypervisor is a hypervisor that runs directly on the hardware with no host operating system getting in the way (Figure 3). This is the only way to provide determinism and direct hardware access with unmodified drivers to an OS. It is pretty clear that while a “host-based” hypervisor is probably great for IT or Server Virtualization, it is not suitable for hard real-time, robust applications in an industrial controller or medical device. When considering “bare-metal” hypervisors, there are again different implementations. There are bare-metal hypervisors that use virtualization supported in hardware monitoring, as with Intel VT, and that potentially limit guest operating system access to protected resources like memory or devices of other guests running in parallel. This approach of course means that the hypervisor must occasionally “step in” to modify or block access to the hardware, which leads to jitter in the system running on top, therefore causing a loss of determinism.


Real Time and/or Security

At the other end of the spectrum, there are solutions in which the operating systems are configured or patched to limit access to only a portion of the underlying hardware, allowing a guest to run alongside a second operating system, which then is virtualized the same way. The big benefit of this approach is that it eliminates any and all virtualization overhead because the operating systems run directly on their assigned portion of the hardware without a hypervisor getting between them. As a consequence of this type of solution, however, there is no provision for security and no hypervisor monitoring, limiting or preventing an operating system from accessing resources owned by different guests. In a time where security plays an ever more important role, this might not always be the best choice; direct, “unmonitored” hardware access should probably not be given to operating systems that are targeted by malware or hackers, such as Microsoft Windows, the most commonly used operating system for human machine interfaces (HMIs). On the other hand, when it comes to real-time operating systems (RTOS), it might be very advantageous for best performance if both virtualization overhead and jitter can be eliminated. Like everything else, it is a trade-off. An ideal hypervisor would provide choices between “hardware -monitored” hardware separation, secure execution of guest operating systems, or the

FIGURE 2 A “host-based” hypervisor is implemented on top of a host operating system running on the physical hardware.

configuration of a guest operating system executing in a mode for “best-possible real-time performance.” The question of security has become more and more important over the last few years. To satisfy basic security concerns, operating systems should execute completely independent of each other, utilizing hardware separation with Intel VT. But security starts the moment the hardware is turned on. A perfect hypervisor for industrial automation would support a full “chain of trust,” starting with the initial execution of the BIOS, the boot loader and then the hypervisor. The hypervisor should provide end-to-end security in the startup phase, making sure that everything that is loaded, including its own configuration, is signed and unmodified before and during the boot process. Then, at runtime, the hypervisor would still have to manage access rights to programming interfaces (APIs) and shared memory sections or any other intersystem communication or guest operating system control functionality.

Getting to Real Time

Next on the list of things to consider is real-time performance and determinism of an RTOS running as a guest operating system on a hypervisor. Because this is one of the most challenging hypervisor requirements in industrial applications for products like motion controllers, it is therefore right at the top of the list of criteria when hypervisors are evaluated. In hypervisor design there are different things that need to be done properly when hard real-time behavior is of vital importance. Even when going with a bare-metal hypervisor design, there is no guarantee for real-time performance, and quite a few things must be taken into consideration when developing a hypervisor with hard real-time deterministic behavior. Among the first things to be implemented, but only after thinking them through carefully, are interrupt handling for and scheduling of guest operating systems. Fortunately, on x86 hardware used for hypervisor designs or system consolidation, the days of single-core processors lie in the past. Dual-Core, Quad-Core or even larger processors can be used nowadays, and these new chips are often cheaper and

FIGURE 3 A “bare-metal” hypervisor runs directly on the hardware and offers virtual or real hardware interfaces to the guest operating systems.

require less power than a single core Pentium did only a few years ago. Multicore processors permit each guest operating system to “own” one or more CPUs exclusively, which eliminates the need for a hypervisor to schedule operating systems. In addition, each guest can execute without interruption just as if it had been deployed on its own dedicated hardware board (Figure 4). Interrupt handling can also be a problem when implementing applications with hard real-time constraints. If interrupts must first be captured by a hypervisor before they can be passed to the target guest operating systems, this would clearly increase interrupt-latency times and jeopardize determinism, even more if this happens at high frequency. The best real-time performance can therefore be achieved if interrupts never have to go through software but if the hypervisor uses the capability in the Intel architecture (no matter if standard laptop or small embedded board) to route interrupts directly in hardware to the CPU(s). In this fashion, just like on native systems, target guest operating systems execute without first making a detour through software. Even after satisfying all of the above criteria—a hypervisor that runs directly on the hardware, provides security and doesn’t interfere with RTOS scheduling or interrupt latencies—there are still more aspects to consider. On an Intel x86-board, there are more things to be aware of. Intel put in more RTC RTC MAGAZINE MAGAZINE OCTOBER JUNE 2014 2013



FIGURE 4 Partitioning of Cores. Example of Quad-Core configured with a Dual Core for Windows and a single core each for two RTOSs.

and more clever features for reducing processors’ power consumption by reducing CPU voltage or speed or if needed gaining additional computing power by overclocking one CPU while slowing down a second CPU. This is of course completely counterproductive for an RTOS running on that second core. A hypervisor used in hard realtime applications has to take all of this into consideration and be able to block access to features like Turbo Boost, power management or other functions that could potentially have a negative system-wide impact.

And then there are certain other resources that require protection—like the last level cache of a processor, or the bus to access the main memory of the system, which is shared between guest operating systems. If, as in typical industrial automation applications, a hypervisor is run using Microsoft Windows as a graphical user interface and an RTOS in parallel—when accessing shared resources, i.e., the memory bus or last level cache—the RTOS should always have priority over Windows. Whenever a conflict of resources occurs in a particular system, a hypervisor should always be able to prioritize the RTOS over the GPOS (Figure 5).

Reliable Communication

After having reviewed the security and real-time aspects of hypervisor design, we come to a short but very essential topic, namely communication. If multiple operating systems are deployed with great separation, how are they to communicate with one another? Before the trend to consolidate systems, an Ethernet was usually used for intersystem communication. This means that a hypervisor should make con-

solidation quick and easy by providing a virtual network for operating systems to communicate with each other. Such a network could also be used, for example, to provide remote display functionality and access network drives or a physical network. Communication via shared memory, interrupt-based event system and time synchronization between guests should of course be available as well. Although we already discussed security, hard real-time performance and intersystem communication, we should now briefly consider the equally important questions of usability, portability, scalability and flexibility. Unlike consumer products, which are often stable over their life-cycles, industrial automation systems are generally longer-lived. Constantly driven forward by demands for better performance and efficiency, industrial systems must often be upgraded within a few years of initial product deployment. Since the technology on which industrial systems are based advances so rapidly, it is also likely that such systems will have to be re-hosted on a new industrial PC, probably equipped with next-generation processors. If such a system depends on hypervisor technology for its proper functioning, the underlying hypervisor must be correspondingly upgradeable. Therefore, the ideal hypervisor will run on many different platforms, from Atom to Xeon, from dual- to many-core processors and from small embedded modules to server boards. It will provide developers with hassle-free, out-of-the box experiences without help from specialists. The hypervisor that meets all these requirements by design will accelerate time-to-market while keeping development and maintenance costs in check. In a time where multicore is everywhere, embedded hypervisors are here for good. But not every hypervisor is good for every application. Real-Time Systems Ravensburg, Germany +49 (0)751 359 558-0

FIGURE 4 CPUs each with L1 and L2 caches and a shared L3 cache, and a GPOS and RTOS illustrating shared cache topology.



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TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT Hypervisors and Virtualization

Choose Your Embedded Virtualization Solution Wisely Using virtualization to consolidate various types of functions on multicore platforms is becoming increasingly popular. When evaluating virtualization approaches, however, the desire to employ the newest technologies needs to be traded off with the value of preserving elements of old designs. by Kim Hartman, TenAsys


onsolidation of various processing workloads using partitioned multicore PC CPUs has been the promise of embedded virtualization for over a decade. There is a continuum of initiatives, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M), which involves merging different application types

onto the same platform. The initiative’s primary value proposition is the opportunity to reduce system costs while enhancing the number and type of services supported. The technologies are in fact promising, but the devil is in the details, as they say. The term “virtualization” gets

used so loosely that the technical issues behind specific “embedded virtualization” implementations are often not fully appreciated. Many people think that the only solution is to use a hypervisor, but this type of virtualization comes at a cost. And variations within hypervisor usage models cause OEM product developers to trade off adaptability and costs. Machine builders face some of the trickiest problems. The desire to consolidate workloads to add features and minimize costs is bringing together discrete system elements. Some of these (specifically Windows-based HMIs) have evolved to be PC-based and are being combined with real-time controllers performing special functions (e.g., motioncontrol subsystems) along with the need for networking capabilities (machine-tomachine and machine-to-cloud) added in. The PC-compatible portion is the most cost-driven, and engineers who design and maintain these supervisory systems are accustomed to dealing with a relentless flow of hardware and software changes. Separately, the real-time portion, closest to where the real work is getting done, comes from a world that is both resistant to change and risk-averse. Consolidating these environments requires embedded virtualization, the hosting of heterogeneous operating system environments— both real-time and non-real-time—on the same platform.

FIGURE 1 The term virtualization applies to a wide range of implementations. Embedded virtualization is applied to only those solutions that preserve determinism.




Embedded Virtualization Is About More Than Just Hypervisors

FIGURE 2 TenAsys’ Hard Real-time Hypervisor (HaRTH) technology (configured as eVM for Windows). Explicit hardware partitioning is used to enable the CPUs to work autonomously, independent of one another.

Critical Success Factors As experienced developers of embedded systems are well aware, there are some key trade-offs among the critical factors leading to success of a new design effort. The challenge of achieving success is in delivering the existing mission-critical services without missing market window timing or overspending on the solution. Significant investments in building equity in market position and intellectual property value for existing products must be carefully protected. Though it may be tempting to start with the latest tools, experienced project leaders know that this can easily inject delays into the project and risk not meeting core market requirements altogether. A more pragmatic strategy is to reuse as much of an existing application as possible, enhancing the system with services to enable new connectivity and interoperability features. Obviously, most embedded designs involve a merging of old and new design elements. But the problem of providing reliable support for legacy content has caused many OEMs to delay embracing the compelling use models of modern multicore processors. In this regard, different embedded virtualization approaches provide different levels of support for multicore processing and varying levels of complexity in achieving the prime objective of consolidation.

There exists a continuum of technologies that provide the means to run multiple operating systems on the same platform. For embedded virtualization we are interested in comparing and contrasting the range of approaches, which on the one hand yield the highest real-time performance and on the other hand are the

tic Type 1 hypervisors, which can support real-time processing. There are two classes of these. The first uses the familiar Type 1 hypervisor approach, but also provides the needed guest-to-core affinity, enhanced with virtualized services only where absolutely needed. This approach ensures the guest retains its deterministic and real-time capabilities and provides the greatest versatility in supporting legacy RTOS, general or proprietary OSs, all without need for modification. TenAsys’ HaRTH, a hard real-time hypervisor technology running inside the company’s INtime RTOS, is an example of this. When HaRTH is configured to support hosting a single guest alongside Windows, it results in a product that TenAsys calls eVM for Windows (Figure 2). The other class of deterministic Type 1 hypervisor is supported by most other embedded hypervisor vendors. Figure 3 is a diagram commonly used to depict such an approach. While also providing for partitioning services and core affinity, members of this class are built to support a more narrow set of guests. This is primarily due to the requirement that the guest must cooperate directly with the hypervisor it is running on. Para-virtualization techniques are often used to simplify the services a host hypervisor must provide by relying upon the guest to use proprietary para-API hooks. This may be an effective way to improve some type of

most versatile. Consider the chart in Figure 1. At the far end of the spectrum are Type 2 hosted hypervisors and full virtual machine manager (VMM) solutions. These were designed for and are generally applied to IT-type problems (e.g., VirtualBox and VMWare), where deterministic execution in the guest operating environment is a non-factor, and therefore these systems don’t qualify as supporting embedded virtualization. Simply moving into the range of Type 1, bare metal hypervisors do not yet guarantee support for determinism (as with KVM and Hyper-V). Similar to hosted and full VMMs, they provide a complete PC environment, making them very easy to use, but the lack of real-time responsiveness disqualifies them for use in deterministic embedded applications. FIGURE 3 Moving along the continuum brings A Hypervisor can use para-virtualization to enable the us to determinisuse of multiple heterogeneous OSs in a system. RTC RTC MAGAZINE MAGAZINE OCTOBER JUNE 2014 2013



FIGURE 4 Explicit hardware partitioning of OS environments with Microsoft Windows and INtime on a 4-core Intel processor.

guest operations, but it limits the adaptability of the hypervisor and leads to the use of modified, and most often, proprietary RTOS and GPOS guests. Regardless of the approach of deterministic Type 1 hypervisors, they can all support time-critical applications. And when PC chipset services (e.g. Intel VTd) are not available, developers of guestbased applications will likely have to modify the drivers of any bus mastering devices to compensate for a lack of physical address translation. This makes selection of the hardware platform a bit more complicated as there is as yet no established embedded virtualization specification for Intel-based PCs.

Windows runs natively, there is no violating the Microsoft licensing restrictions of running embedded versions (e.g. WES7) on a virtualized platform. Explicit hardware partitioning, introduced in 1997, is the longest time-tested

solution in the market. Developing applications for TenAsys’ INtime for Windows RTOS features the use of a native or WIN32-like API and the familiar Microsoft Visual Studio line of IDE products. This design environment in itself saves substantial costs and time in bringing consolidated solutions to market. Hybrid approaches can lead to interesting solutions. Consider running a deterministic Type 1 hypervisor on a dedicated core next to Windows. This combination of explicit hardware partitioning and hypervisors creates a unique characteristic similar to a hosted Type 1 solution, but features isolation (partitioned CPUs) and real-time functionality. Other non-real-time configurations with Linux on the same platform can yield some interesting solutions. Consider running a hardened Linux-based firewall /VPN appliance on its own core next to Windows (Figure 5). Assigning the system Ethernet to Linux and connecting to Windows using a shared memory based on virtual LAN produces a networkhardened platform without any additional hardware!

Explicit Hardware Partitioning

As with any deeply embedded device, the highest performance is always obtained through explicit hardware partitioning. In a Windows-based system, this process is done by modification of the base RTOS to work in cooperation with the Windows environment on the same platform. Partitioning is done explicitly with the help of standard Windows APIs. Both run natively, right on the associated CPUs (Figure 4). Neither operating system is affected by virtualization, as there is no hypervisor to take context away. As



FIGURE 5 A mixed hybrid system. Multiple HaRTH instances could be used, hosting multiple copies of Linux (e.g., a Windows HMI could be replaced with one hosted on Linux).


So Which Virtualization Solution Do You Choose?

Deciding which virtualization solution to choose depends, of course, on several factors. These include how extensible your system needs to be in terms of performance, functionality and ease of use, and how much legacy content you want to preserve. Bringing your legacy application to a consolidated platform along with new workloads could mean extensive porting costs to different OSs where a para-virtualized solution is used, or it could be done with legacy software stacks. When porting an application is an acceptable option, an explicit hardware partitioned solution supporting both Windows and real-time will have the best overall performance and can save substantial costs with reuse of familiar Visual Studio toolsets and integrated I/O stacks. Conversely, with IoT increasingly becoming a reality, you may want to take advantage of best-in-class software from multiple, as in more than two, different OS environments. In that case, a solution involving a hypervisor may be optimal. IoT systems can drive a drastic shift in design objectives, and can intensify the challenges of balancing the needs of deeply embedded systems with the richness of the Internet environment. Major among these are the need to provide security and

to simplify user interfaces, while keeping software development costs and timeto-market under control. New, creative solutions may be unfamiliar in the light of standard software architectures of the past, but may yield better results. The key to selecting which approach is best for your application is planning. Examine your requirements and pay particular attention to valued legacy IP. Look at the needs in the kind of processing your customers will want to do, and also the technology trends in the individual elements of your solution. For example, updating embedded systems not only to be Internet aware, but also to couple with Internet-based software resources, is motivating engineers to plan for maximum flexibility and extensibility in their designs. Deciding on a particular para-virtualized solution could restrict their design’s ability to evolve. New software is continuously being developed that OEMs may want to take advantage of economically in future product versions, and designers want to be able to easily take advantage of processors with an increasing number of cores. TenAsys Beaverton, OR (503) 748-4720


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Industrial Automation

Integrated HMI, Control and Communication Platform for Industrial Automation The advance of integration and the standardization of system interfaces significantly increases the performance and efficiency of industrial control systems. The next step is the integration of control and interface functions onto a single die that unites CPU with FPGA. by Claudio Ambra, Exor International


odern automation systems need to integrate several distinct products: the PLC and I/Os, the Motion controller, the HMI for human machine interface, communication gateways and router for Internet access. However, technology has not yet allowed a better integration of these devices. The main issues for better integration are related to the physical dimensions of the electronic board’s power consumption, the presence of several non-uniform connectivity standards and the low bandwidth of the bus systems. It is still very common in industrial automation installation to find different communication gateway devices that reduce the overall performance and the system reliability but which are needed to create bridges for different fieldbuses. For the last decade the bottleneck of the traditional concept was in the low performance and high latency of the bus systems. Recently, the use of industrial Ethernet and the strong diffusion of the standard for connecting different devices have made it possible to create greater integration and uniformity of the interfaces between the different devices.



FIGURE 1 A typical industrial automation application with industrial real-time Ethernet connection and the most important components.

The extremely high performance of modern real-time industrial Ethernet, such as the EtherCAT technology, enables control concepts that could not be realized with classic fieldbus systems. With EtherCAT, a communication technology is available that matches the superior computing capacity of modern Industrial PCs. The result is that the bus system is no lon-

ger the bottleneck of the control concept. Distributed I/Os are recorded faster than is possible with most local I/O interfaces.

Breaking the Bottlenecks

In modern systems, the master controller has now become the bottleneck of performance. We require a high capacity of calculation in order to process with


FIGURE 2 The non-real-time Ethernet connections to HMI, mobile device, etc., are separated from the real-time industrial Ethernet.

cycle times of less than 1 millisecond for PLCs and motion cycle machines, and the controller should ensure a very precise network-wide time base with a low jitter. If we add to the picture the need to send/receive several packets from other devices such as the operator interfaces, Internet gateway (CAN bus, legacy serial ports), devices that are connected though a different fieldbus, or remote clients, the problem becomes very complex and the architecture of single master CPU suffers (Figure 1). The remote client in the same figure must be able to access the real-time database of the main controller in order to locally or remotely view the different tags of the application, and to enable access in reading and writing to the system settings, PLC configuration (recipes), trends data upload/download, Web Interface, alarms and events management. All these accesses to the application server and the PLC controller increase the number of interrupts from the different industrial controllers, creating latency problems for the real-time system. In these control applications that are based on industrial Ethernet, it is also necessary to completely decouple the real-time fieldbus Ethernet from the non-real-time Ethernet connection (Figure 2). One possible solution to this problem is to use powerful Industrial PCs with Core i5 and i7 CPUs and up to four cores combined. While the PC architecture is a very high-performance platform, it is currently not flexible enough to integrate the

different communication standards used in industrial automation. In addition, the PC with an i7 CPU core is not a platform with low enough power consumption, and its reliability for industrial control is not optimal. Another interesting solution would be to integrate the various components that are installed inside the cabinet into an industrial single platform (all-in-one solution) in order to reduce the wiring and increase the performance of the bus system interfaces (Figure 3). This also improves the interfacing of the various hardware and software modules that are necessary for the automation of the process.

Bringing It to a Single Die

The ideal industrial automation platform should have a high-performance multiprocessor architecture that solves the problem at the architectural level of connection between different CPU boards/modules and integrates into a single component. A key attribute of convergence is integration of and access to a broad range of control, connectivity and HMI functionalities, made practical by Moore’s Law and from embedded technology. Today, Moore’s Law has proven an allimportant influence on advanced automation technologies for legacy PLC, HMI, I/O, CNC safety and motion technologies. This has resulted in the ability to integrate several CPU cores, powerful peripherals and FPGA technology in the same high-performance component. For example, Altera’s Cyclone V FP-

GAs provide the industry’s lowest system cost and power, along with performance levels that make the device suitable for differentiating an industrial control master device with integrated all-in-one PLC controller, HMI controller, communication gateway and remote Web Internet or mobile clients. The solution is optimal for industrial automation and lower power consumption compared with the industrial PC platform. It provides efficient logic integration capabilities in an innovative SoC platform with integrated Dual Core 925 MHz ARM Cortex-A9 and FPGA. Exor International has created a platform for this type of architecture with a JMobile SoC (JMSoC) solution PLC+HMI architecture (Figure 4). This architecture combines performance and flexibility in an all-in-one embedded solution-based dual core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and FPGA technology. This serves to increase the flexibility to add customized peripherals that are needed to extend connectivity and to drive different display types. The high-bandwidth on-chip backbone connecting the Altera Cyclone V SoC CPU and FPGA fabric provides over 100 Gbit/s peak bandwidth and is suitable for sharing data between the ARM processors and devices that are implemented in FPGA software. JMSoC it is an industrial automation platform comprised of hardware and software components that provide a complete solution for control, connecting equipment and visualizing data. The runtime is designed to optimize the performance and the size of memory (e.g., 512 Mbyte DDR + 1 Gbyte Flash disk) running on an Embedded Linux Real-Time Altera Cyclone V SoC platform. The result is a single device that integrates everything in an all-in-one SoC component. Using JMobile Studio’ objectoriented programming, a GUI application can be developed in a few weeks without writing a single line of code in C language. JMobile Studio is used to program the JMSoC for GUI design as well as to program the communication interface with CoDeSys 3.x for Motion / SoftPLC Control application provide by the German firm 3S. The functionality of the control such as I/O and drive is guaranteed by the EtherCAT Master integrated in CoDeSys 3.x runtime for Linux. RTC RTC MAGAZINE MAGAZINE OCTOBER JUNE 2014 2013



FIGURE 3 Integration and efficiency are further enhanced by integrating multiple intelligent components inside the same cabinet.

Through Link layer optimizations, the solution is capable of handling cycle times well below the millisecond. The solution adopted was EtherCAT Master, based on Open Source Automation Development Labs (OSADL) Linux real-time operating system, which allows for easy and fast deployment of EtherCAT customized applications as well as porting of existing applications on the compact and powerful master controller. The first problem solved by the architecture in Figure 5 is the separation of the real-time control (I/O, Motors) in the domain of one millisecond from the other tasks related to the HMI, and the communication with the different devices in the time domain of 50 milliseconds or more. In order to ensure the highest perfor-

mance, the architecture of the PLC is created using two different processors to decouple the applications of the video control and HMI from the connection with other real-time devices. Both CPUs run different threads and interrupt the operating system on different processors. All interrupts that come from communication with external clients go to one CPU so that they do not create interference with the real-time PLC program execution on the other, ensuring the execution of the program with very low jitter. The ARM Cortex A9, with its integrated Neon media processing engine for media and signal processing acceleration, is an architecture that can meet the real-time requirements and have very low probability of not servicing interrupts in a

FIGURE 4 Integrated HMI and control solution.



timely manner. JMSoC suite provides multiple communication interfaces associated in the FPGA. Because of the internal FPGA, beyond the USB, Ethernet, Serial and CAN ports, it is also possible to make further customizations in the FPGA with the addition of other connections, such as digital I/O, analog interfaces, DVI ports and more. The JMSoC solution ensures a high degree of flexibility and reliability thanks to the combination of mixed solutions of ARM cores and FPGA, and numerous other useful interfaces. JMobile is an innovative software solution for the design of HMI applications in a simple and intuitive way. It is a powerful and versatile tool designed for the rapid creation of new applications, and for easy updating of existing projects, in order to provide a solution for the end customer that is tailored to their needs. JMobile includes among its main features: simplicity and immediacy of use, programming efficiency, and graphics based on SVG technology with full object-oriented design properties. This new platform provides users with advanced control options and remote supervision with a client-server architecture based on Web technologies, therefore making it compatible with smartphone and tablet devices. In addition, the ability to capture, store and share data in higherlevel structures makes it an effective tool for integration across the enterprise. The developer can program an HMI within a single development environment (JMobile Studio) and choose to download it on operator panels or on industrial PCs. HMI +PLC integrated architecture has just followed Moore’s Law from the consumer and IT markets into industrial controls. The innovative architecture, “allin-one” JMSoC-based Altera Cyclone V SoC ARM-FPGA legacy control platform has proven that an optimized and cost-effective platform that reduces energy consumption is able to match the requirements of a complex industrial control automation application. Exor International Verona, Italy +39 045 8779023


FIGURE 5 HMI+PLC schematic block.

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TECHNOLOGY Optical Zoom, Full HD, USB 3.0 UVC Camera with Auto Focus, Auto Exposure

Fast 5M GigE Vision Camera – 51 Frames per Second

A new 5M camera can reach speeds up to 51 frames per second (fps) in fast mode. This new Genie TS from Dalsa combines the industry’s latest image sensor technology with a newly optimized camera platform to deliver the widest, most powerful feature set ever in a GigE Vision camera. Unique to the Genie TS camera family is a feature that allows the capture of multiple Regions of Interest (ROI), significantly reducing the amount of data transferred and simultaneously allowing systems to focus on events that are critical to the inspection. This form of data reduction decreases the amount of information transferred, saving on bandwidth and minimizing data transfer along the GigE link. The Genie TS is engineered to meet the ever increasing speed and image clarity requirements of machine vision. All features are easily accessible with Teledyne Dalsa’s advanced Sapera Essential or other GigE Visioncompliant third-party software; and like all Genie cameras, this latest model is GigE Vision-compliant based on the AIA (Automated Imaging Association) GigE Vision Standard. The Genie TS M2560 monochrome camera is suitable for a wide range of inspection applications including intelligent traffic systems (ITS), entertainment, medical, food and beverage inspection, electronics and printed circuit board (PCB) inspection, and many others. A color version of the camera will be available later this year. Teledyne Dalsa, Waterloo, ON (519) 886-6000.



A 3.0 MP UVC-compliant USB 3.0 optical zoom camera is ‘plug and play’ on Windows and Linux with no additional device driver software required and works with standard Windows (DirectShow) and Linux (V4L2) software. The See3CAM_30Z10X camera from e-con Systems is based on a 1/3” optical format, 3.0 MP CMOS Image sensor and this supports HD (1280x720 aka 720p) streaming at 60 fps and Full HD (1920x1080 aka 1080p) streaming at 30 fps. The camera has a high-performance Image Signal Processor (ISP) built in that performs a variety of functions including 3A (Autofocus, Auto Exposure and Auto White Balance). The See3CAM_30Z10X contains a stepper-motor-driven lens assembly that supports an optical zoom of 10x (focal length 6.3 mm to 63 mm) and a digital zoom of 6x. The stepper-motor-driven Zoom and Autofocus lens assembly is tightly coupled with the image sensor and the ISP circuitry. The zoom and autofocus is fast, accurate and consistent, some of the key requirements for such high-zoom cameras. The camera also supports still image capture at full 3MP (and in compressed JPEG format). The supports the burst capture feature which allows the user to capture up to 8 images continuously on a single external trigger event. This burst capture feature will allow our customers to capture a set of images on a single click and then let the user to choose the one that they think the best. See3CAM_30Z10X currently supports Windows Vista/Windows 7 operating System. Linux support will be available soon. Building applications with the See3CAM_30Z10X is simple—any DirectShow-compatible application can use the camera, much like any other UVC-compliant webcam. However, the camera features supported are not the common features and they are exposed to the user through the set of APIs provided by e-con Systems. e-con Systems, St. Louis, MO (636) 898-8788.

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UltraScale Multi-Processing Architecture Aims for All Programmable MultiProcessing SoCs

Xilinx has introduced the UltraScale Multi-Processing System on Chip (MPSoC) architecture for Next Generation Zynq UltraScale MPSoCs. Building on the industry success of the Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs, the new UltraScale MPSoC architecture extends Xilinx’s ASIC-class UltraScale FPGA and 3D IC architecture to enable heterogeneous multi-processing with “the right engines for the right tasks.” Xilinx debuted the All Programmable SoC with the introduction of Zynq-7000, and with UltraScale MPSoC, Xilinx is inventing the first All Programmable MPSoC. This new All Programmable MPSoC architecture provides processor scalability from 32 to 64 bits with support for virtualization, the combination of soft and hard engines for real-time control and graphics/video processing, waveform and packet processing, next generation coherent interconnect and memory, advanced power management, and technology enhancements that deliver multi-level security, safety and reliability. The UltraScale MPSoC architecture enables breakthroughs in system performance and integration at lower system power by combining heterogeneous multi-processing with extremely fast FinFETs, leveraging TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process. These new architectural elements are coupled with the Vivado Design Suite and abstract design environments to greatly simplify programming and increase productivity. This includes C, C++ and OpenCL-based design abstractions, third-party system level abstractions from Mathworks and National Instruments, and IP-based design abstractions and automation. These environments enable easy software migration from the de facto standard 28nm Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs. The new MPSoC architecture will be supported by the expanding ecosystem of SW, Middleware, OS support, Debuggers, IP tools, boards and design services for Zynq devices. Xilinx, San Jose, CA (408) 559-7778.

The Right Formula for Building Intelligent Systems? Computer on Modules

Expert-Integrated COM Design-in Services for Long Term Success Advantech Computer On Module series includes COM Express ® , ETX and Qseven, all supporting fanless operation in various small form factors while supporting CPUs ranging from Intel Atom to Intel Core i series. Advantech COM Design-in Services covers all your needs from design-in process, volume production, to product lifecycle management, all backed up by our expert integration team. We make complex COM technology easier while our customers make their applications successful. COM Express ® Basic

COM Express® Mini

SOM-6867 Intel® Atom™/ Celeron® Processor E3845/N2930


4th Gen. Intel ® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Celeron Processor

Intel® Atom™/Celeron ® Processor E3800/N2930/J1900

4th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Celeron ® Processor

COM Express® Compact

COM Express® Compact




Qseven SOM-4466


AMD G-Series Processor with A55E

Intel® Atom™ Processor N2600 with NM10

13 Whatney Irvine, CA 92618 Toll Free: 800-866-6008 Fax: 949-420-2501 Email:




Compact COM Express Type 6 with High Performance and Ultra Low Power

A new COM Express Type 6 Compact size computer-on-module (COM) takes full advantage of the mobile fourth generation Intel Core processor (formerly known as Haswell-ULT) to provide a compact, high-performance COM solution with outstanding graphics capabili-

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ties. The cExpress-HL from Adlink Technology targets embedded systems in medical, digital signage, gaming, video conferencing and industrial automation that need outstanding CPU and graphics performance, but are constrained by either size or thermal management requirements. The Adlink cExpress-HL features a mobile fourth generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processor at 1.7 to 3.3 GHz with Intel HD Graphics 5000 (GT3), delivering up to 50 percent higher graphics performance than the previous generation graphics card, while still keeping thermal design power (TDP) under 15 watts. The small footprint of Intel’s systemon-chip solution allows it to fit onto the COM.0 R2.0 Type 6 Compact size form factor of 95 x 95 mm. Though small in size, the cExpress-HL provides rich I/O and wide-bandwidth data throughput: three independent displays (two DDI channels and one LVDS), four PCIe x1 or one PCIe x4 (Gen2), four SATA 6 Gbit/s, two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports. The cExpress-HL is equipped with Adlink’s Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA), which provides functions including watchdog timer, temperature and other board information monitoring, and fail-safe BIOS support—all to ensure system reliability. SEMA allows users to monitor and manage standalone, connected or remote systems through a Cloud-based interface. A COM Express Type 6 Starter Kit is also available. The kit includes a COM Express Type 6 reference carrier board, adapter cards, debug board, board support packages and all necessary cabling and documentation. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA (408) 360-0200.

30.01.2012 13:34:54


Industrial Temperature ARM Single Board Computer with Web Connection

An industrial strength ARM embedded single board computer is based on the Atmel AT91SAM9X25 processor. The iPAC-9X25 from Emac has an industrial temperature range of -40° to +85°C and utilizes 4 Gbytes of eMMC Flash, 16 Mbytes of Serial Data Flash (for boot) and 128 Mbytes of DDR RAM. The iPac-9X25 is a Web-enabled microcontroller with the ability to run an embedded server and to display the current monitored or logged data. The Web connection is available via two 10/100 Base T Ethernet ports or 802.11 wireless Wi-Fi networking when using the proper Linux modules and adapters. This microcontroller has all connectors brought out as headers on a board and has the same footprint of a standard PC/104 module at 3.77” x 3.54”. The iPAC-9X25 is well suited for industrial temperature embedded data acquisition and control applications. The iPAC 9X25 has one RS-232 serial port with full handshake (RTS/CTS/DTR/ DSR/RI), two RS-232 serial ports (TX and RX only), one RS-232/422/485 serial port with RTS/CTS handshake, two 10/100 Base T Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 Host ports, and one USB Device port. The board has up to seven channels of 10-bit A/D (0 to 3.3 volt) and an internal real-time clock/calendar with battery backup. It also includes 21 GPIO (3.3V) lines on header, 8 high drive open collector dedicated digital output lines with configurable voltage tolerance, 16 GPIO (3.3V) on header, 2 PWM I/O lines with additional 4 PWN lines shared with A/D. The iPAC-9x25 has 5 Synchronous Serial I/O lines (I2S), 5 SPI lines (2 SPI CS), I2C Bus, CAN Bus, a micro SD socket, an external Reset Button provision and red Power and Green status LEDs. Quantity one price starts at $198.00. EMAC, Carbondale, IL (618) 529-4525.

Fieldbus Protocol Stack for Modbus Connects Industrial Devices

Modbus is an open, mature and straightforward protocol designed to connect industrial devices. A new implementation of the Modbus protocol, emModbus by Segger, enables communication with any other Modbuscompliant device. emModbus supports communication via UART (ASCII, RTU) and Ethernet (Modbus/TCP and Modbus/UDP). Multiple interfaces in the same product are supported. Master and slave protocols are supported and can be used in the same product. Each Interface can be configured at runtime, making it possible to build a pretested library, which then may be deployed in multiple projects. emModbus follows the same strict coding standards that enable Segger to create highly efficient middleware. The emModbus stack has a very small memory footprint, below 4 Kbyte code size, and needs less than 1 Kbyte of RAM including buffers. The C code is completely portable and runs on any target. Using the OS abstraction layer, any RTOS can be used with emModbus. emModbus can be used completely without an RTOS as well. SEGGER Microcontroller Systems, Winchendon, MA (978) 874-0299.

JTAG Controller Speeds Measurement Tasks

XJTAG, a supplier of boundary scan technology, has released the XJLink2 3070. Approved by Agilent Technologies, it provides convenient, integrated access to XJTAG’s test and programming tools from Agilent i3070 ICT machines. The combination of XJTAG’s advanced connection test and nonJTAG device testing/programming with the i3070’s measurement capabilities makes capturing defects easier than ever. The product serves primarily to streamline the production line. With combined testing and programming, the number of stages and handling operations can be significantly reduced. It is also possible to program devices while performing ICT to increase throughput. The XJLink2 3070 is completely configurable. Programming speeds close to the theoretical maximum of a device can be achieved using the advanced features of the XJLink2 3070. The XJLink2-3070 is compatible with the standard USB XJLink2 so boards can be debugged at a repair station without having to develop a separate test setup. A flexible license also aids ease of use, with the product able to contain an XJTAG software license and allow standalone operation without additional dongles or network access. Alternatively, the system can be licensed from a network server allowing the maximum use of your XJTAG products without having to move licensed hardware between machines. The XJLink2 3070 fits into one slot on the Agilent i3070 utility card, however multiple systems can be added to the same card or additional utility cards for supplementary test and program capabilities, for instance testing panels of boards. XJTAG, Cambridge, UK +44 (0)1223 223007. Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA (408) 345-8880.




COM Express Mini Module Powered by Atom E3800 & Celeron N2930/ J1900

A COM Express Mini Type 10 module features Intel Atom E3800 or Celeron N2930/J1900 with significant CPU and graphics performance improvements. Measuring only 84 x 55 mm, the SOM-7567 from Advantech supports onboard memory up to 4 Gbytes and 64 Gbyte flash memory, making it a perfect fit for portable applications and rugged requirements. Based on Intel Atom E3800 Family or Celeron N2930/J1900 processors, the SOM-7567 is capable of providing 100% better CPU performance and five times faster graphic processing speed than previous generations. The model can support up to 15 simultaneous 1080p full-HD video decode for the surveillance industry, which requires multi-display solutions. The upgrade to three Gen 2 PCI Express and USB 3.0 enables higher data transfer speeds. Featuring business card-sized dimensions, SOM-7567 offers high performance with low power consumption. It has wide range voltage input from 4.75 ~ 20V and flexible options from one to four cores for selection. The small form factor platform makes it suitable for applications in medical, factory, or portable devices. The onboard flash and memory has anti-vibration features, ideally used in rugged solutions for the vehicle or transport market. Better yet, the advantage of graphic processing and media performance makes it excellent for multi-display solutions in the surveillance industry. SOM-7567 also comes with Advantech SUSIAccess and API bundled for system integrators to centralize monitoring and management of all their embedded devices, and remote recovery if they fail.

8-Port SATA III Drive Array Offers Extreme Data Bandwidth Capability

A high-speed controller and storage module supports up to eight SATA III ports and over 2 terabytes of onboard capacity in a single 3U VPX slot. The new Model 5335/6 from Elma Electronic is suitable for applications demanding exceptional characteristics in both data capacity and read/write performance. The Model 5335/6 is seen as a PCIe Gen2 x8 connection to the host as it provides the link to a storage array where capacities exceed 8 Tbyte across four slots and where data bandwidth exceeds 1 Gbyte/s.

Advantech, Irvine, CA (949) 519-3800.

40G AdvancedTCA Switch Blade for Bandwidth-Demanding Applications

A new 40G AdvancedTCA (ATCA) switch blade features a Broadcom BCM56846 10/40 GbE Fabric Interface Switch, Broadcom BCM56334 24-port GbE Base Interface Switch, and Freescale QorIQ P2041 quad-core Local Management Processor. The aTCA-3710 from Adlink Technology provides fourteen 10 GbE SFP+ uplink ports and supports a total of 640 Gbit/s bandwidth for use in 14-slot 40G ATCA shelves. Targeting new generation 4G/LTE telecom applications in network monitoring and security, access point controllers, video streaming and deep package inspection (DPI), the aTCA-3710 is ideal for service providers requiring fast, high-quantity data throughput processing. The aTCA-3710 40GbE ATCA Fabric Interface switch blade is compliant to PICMG 3.0 R3.0 and PICMG 3.1 R2.0 standards and positioned as a high-performance server switch that, along with CPU/NPU blades and Adlink Software for Networks (ADSN), can be used to constitute a 40G ARIP for next



generation applications. With rich front panel I/O and a hot-swappable design, the aTCA3710 guarantees high availability, scalability and easy maintenance. ADSN is comprehensive, optimized middleware that allows operators to easily configure, manage and monitor switch status. Adlink’s 40G ARIP utilizes the ADSN middleware and fully validated hardware building blocks like the aTCA-3710 to expedite system deployment at a lower cost, allowing customers to enjoy shortened time-to-market and increase their competitive advantage. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA (408) 360-0200.

With RAID 0/1/5/10 support, the storage array system can be configured to maximize bandwidth or provide data redundancy for critical applications. The onboard controller provides an additional six SATA III backplane ports for building a high-performance, highcapacity storage array using Elma’s 553x family of dual-drive storage carriers across four total slots. The rugged modules perform reliably in the harsh conditions found in many defense and industrial applications, ranging from ground, ship and airborne systems to signal intelligence, engine and automation control and mission-critical information systems. Using solid state drives, the convectioncooled versions operate from -40° to +85°C and the conduction-cooled versions operate from -40° to +75°C. Consult Elma for higher temperature requirements. Operating shock of all boards is 40 Gs at 11 ms, half-sine wave; vibration is 2 Gs from 15 Hz to 2,000 Hz. Pricing for the units typically starts at $1,600 depending on the version and drive choice. Elma Electronic, Fremont, CA (510) 656-3400.


USB Plug and Play Comes to the NI LabVIEW RIO Architecture

National Instruments has announced four new R Series boards (USB-7855R, USB7856R, USB-7855R OEM and USB-7856R OEM) with USB connectivity, which help engineers add FPGA technology to any PC-based system using one of the most widely adopted buses on the market. These products, based on the LabVIEW RIO architecture, are a result of the company’s continued investment in the R Series product family. The LabVIEW RIO architecture is an integral part of the NI graphical system design platform. A modern approach to designing, prototyping and deploying embedded monitoring and control systems, graphical system design combines the open NI LabVIEW graphical programming environment with commercial off-the-shelf hardware to dramatically simplify development, which results in higher-quality designs with the ability to incorporate custom design.

Key features include the Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA to implement tasks like custom timing and triggering, synchronization, multirate sampling, high-speed control and onboard signal processing. Improved I/O takes advantage of analog input and analog output rates of up to 1 MHz for closed-loop control tasks, as well as digital I/O (DIO) rates of up to 80 MHz. In addition, selectable logic levels from 1.2 to 3.3V enable adjustment of DIO levels to

meet specific application requirements. There is also selectable gain for analog input ranges, which lets you get more resolution at lower voltage ranges. National Instruments, Austin, TX (512) 683-0100.

Virtex-7 Transceiver 3U VPX Rugged Board for Communication and Radar Systems

A two-channel, wideband transceiver 3U VPX board is based on the Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA. The Model 52751 from Pentek is suitable for connection to HF or IF ports of communication or radar systems. Its built-in data capture and generation features make it an attractive turnkey solution without the need to develop additional FPGA IP. The Model 52751 includes two 500 MHz 12-bit A/Ds followed by two DDCs, and two 800 MHz 16-bit D/As with a DUC. Factory installed Virtex-7 FPGA functions include two A/D acquisition modules, a D/A waveform generation IP module, data multiplexing, channel selection, data packing, gating, triggering, synchronization and memory control. Programmable decimation and interpolation ranges for each DDC and DUC cover transceiver signal bandwidths from 4 kHz to 200 MHz. GateXpress PCIe Configuration Manager is a FPGA-PCIe hardware engine for managing the reconfiguration of the FPGA. At power up, the GateXpress manager immediately presents a PCIe target to the host computer for discovery and enumeration, giving the FPGA time to load from Flash. Once booted, the GateXpress manager offers multiple options for dynamically reconfiguring the FPGA with a new IP image, handling the hardware negotiation and streamlining the loading task. GateXpress also allows dynamic FPGA reconfiguration across the PCIe interface through a runtime software task on the host computer. A key benefit of the GateXpress manager is its ability to use a default power-up configuration image in non-volatile Flash memory to enable booting of a system. Once booted, the sensitive mission signature configuration image can then be uploaded into the FPGA by the system host from a disk file, a network source or even a radio link. Thus, no non-volatile version of the sensitive mission image exists in the module, affording a high degree of security in the event of loss or capture of the system.

For systems that require custom functions, IP can be developed using the Pentek GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, extending or even replacing the factory-installed functions. Pentek ReadyFlow software board support packages for high-level C-language development are available for Linux and Windows operating systems. The Model 52751 3U VPX board is available with ruggedized and conduction-cooled versions. The board is also available as an XMC module, Model 71751, designed for both rugged and commercial environments; in cPCI, Models 73751 & 72751; in AMC, Model 56751; and in PCIe, Model 78751. The Model 52751 3U VPX module with 4 Gbyte of memory starts at $16,995. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ (201) 818-5900.




Industrial Grade Embedded Computers Feature Multicore Atom E3800 Processors

A line of multicore Intel Atom E3800 embedded computers is designed to operate from -40째 to +85째C. The feature-rich SBC35CC405 series of embedded PCs from WinSystems includes onboard USB, Gigabit Ethernet, serial ports, and additional I/O expansion through MiniPCIe and IO60 connectors. A low-profile thermal solution creates a rugged platform base that protects the PCB assembly and provides convenient four-point mounting. These off-the-shelf industrial computers are designed for rugged embedded applications requiring extended temperature operation, long-term availability, and provide a wide variety of I/O expansion options to meet unique project requirements. The SBC35-CC405 series features the latest generation Intel Atom E3800 family of processors in an industry standard 3.5-inch SBC format COM Express carrier. The processor is integrated using a Type 6 COM Express module supporting a quad-core, dual-

Virtex-7 Software Radio Module for Extremely Wideband Signal Applications

A one-channel, 3.6 GHz 12-bit A/D or 2-channel, 1.8 GHz 12-bit A/D XMC highspeed data converter module is based on the high-density Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA. The Onyx Model 71741from Pentek can digitize signal bandwidths up to 1500 MHz. The front end accepts analog RF or IF inputs on a pair of front panel SSMC connectors with transformer coupling into a Texas Instruments ADC12D1800 12-bit A/D. The converter operates in singlechannel interleaved mode with a sampling rate of 3.6 GHz and an input bandwidth of 1.75 GHz, or in dual-channel mode with a sampling rate of 1.8 GHz and input bandwidth of 2.8 GHz. A built-in AutoSync feature supports A/D synchronization across multiple modules. A powerful DDC intellectual property (IP) core sets the Model 71741 apart from the competition. The DDC supports a single-channel mode, accepting data samples from the



core or single-core processor and includes up to 8 Gbyte of DDR3L SDRAM. The Intel Atom E3800 family delivers numerous enhancements over previous-generation Intel Atom processors including improvements in computational performance, energy efficiency, power management, virtualization and security, while maintaining a low thermal design power (TDP) range of 5W to 10W. The Intel Generation 7-based graphics engine supports up to two simultaneously active displays with interfaces available for analog VGA, DisplayPort 1.1 and LVDS connections. For networking and communications, the SBC35-CC405 includes two Intel I210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers with IEEE 1588 time-stamping and 10/100/1000 Mbit/s multi-speed operation. Four Type A connectors support three USB 2.0 channels and one highspeed USB 3.0 channel. Two serial ports support RS-232/422/485 interface levels with clock options up to 20 Mbit/s in the RS-422/485 mode and up to 1 Mbit/s in the RS-232 mode. The SBC35-CC405 series also includes two MiniPCIe connectors and one IO60 connector to allow additional I/O expansion. For additional flexibility and ease of system integration, the SBC35-CC405 is designed to operate over a wide input power range from 10-50V DC. Enclosures, power supplies and configuration services are available for turn-key OEM embedded computing platforms. Linux, Windows and other x86 operating systems can be booted from the CFast, mSATA, SATA, or USB interfaces, providing flexible data storage options. WinSystems provides drivers for Linux and Windows 7/8 as well as preconfigured embedded operating systems. The single-core E3815-based SBC35-CC405-3815-2-2 is priced as low as $499 in OEM quantities. WinSystems, Arlington, TX (817) 274-7553.

A/D converter at the full 3.6 GHz rate. It also operates as a dual channel DDC when the A/D is set for 2-channel 1.8 GHz operation. GateXpress PCIe Configuration Manager is an FPGA-PCIe hardware engine for managing FPGA reconfiguration. At power up, the GateXpress manager immediately presents a PCIe target to the host computer for discovery and enumeration, giving the FPGA time to load from Flash. Once booted, the GateXpress manager offers multiple options for dynamically reconfiguring the FPGA with a new IP image, handling the hardware negotiation and streamlining the loading task. GateXpress also allows dynamic FPGA reconfiguration through software commands as part of the runtime application. The Model 71741 XMC module is designed for both rugged and COTS environments and is available in cPCI (Models 73741 and 72741), AMC Model (56741), PCIe (Model 78641) and VPX (Models 52741 & 53741). The Model 71741 XMC module with 4 Gbyte of

memory starts at $22,695. Additional FPGA options are available. Delivery is 8 to 10 weeks ARO. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ (201) 818-5900.


8-Bit Microcontroller Family with Intelligent Analog and Core-Independent Peripherals

A new family of 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) combines a rich set of intelligent analog and core- independent peripherals with cost-effective pricing and eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology. Available in 14-, 20-, 28- and 40/44-pin packages, the 11-member PIC16F170X/171X family of MCUs from Microchip Technology integrates two op amps to drive analog control loops, sensor amplification and basic signal conditioning, while reducing system cost and board space. These new devices also offer built-in zero cross detect (ZCD) to simplify TRIAC control and minimize the EMI caused by switching transients. Additionally, these are the first PIC16 MCUs with peripheral pin select, a pin-mapping feature that gives designers the flexibility to designate the pinout of many peripheral functions. The PIC16F170X/171X are general-purpose MCUs that are ideal for a broad range of applications, such as consumer (home appliances, power tools, electric razors), portable medical (blood-pressure meters, blood-glucose meters, pedometers), LED lighting, battery charging, power supplies and motor control. The PIC16F170X/171X family features core-independent peripherals, such as the configurable logic cell (CLC), complementary output generator (COG) and numerically controlled oscillator (NCO). These “self-sustaining” peripherals take 8-bit PIC MCU performance to a new level, as they are designed to handle tasks with no code or supervision from the CPU to maintain operation. As a result, they simplify the implementation of complex control systems and give designers the flexibility to innovate. The CLC peripheral allows designers to create custom logic and interconnections specific to their application, thereby reducing external components, saving code space and adding functionality. The COG peripheral is a powerful waveform generator that can generate complementary waveforms with fine control of key parameters, such as phase, dead-band, blanking, emergency shut-down states and error-recovery strategies. It provides a cost-effective solution, saving both board space and component cost when driving FETs in halfand full-bridge drivers for control and power-conversion applications, for example. The NCO is a programmable precision linear frequency generator, ranging from <1 Hz to 500 kHz+. It offers a step up in performance, while simplifying designs requiring precise linear frequency control, such as lighting control, tone generators, radio-tuning circuitry and fluorescent ballasts. The new MCUs feature up to 28 Kbyte of self-read/write Flash program memory, up to 2 Kbyte of RAM, a 10-bit ADC, a 5-/8-bit DAC, Capture-Compare PWM modules, stand-alone 10-bit PWM modules and high-speed comparators (60 ns typical response), along with EUSART, I2C and SPI interface peripherals. They also feature XLP technology for typical active and sleep currents of just 35 µA/MHz and 30 nA, respectively, helping to extend battery life and reduce standby current consumption.The PIC16F170X/171X family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of world-class development tools. Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ (480) 792-7200.

Reference Design for Bluetooth Smart Beacons

A new Bluetooth Smart Beacon Kit reference design allows demonstration and development of iBeacon and proprietary beacon hardware for iOS and Android smartphones to be developed quickly and easily. The nRF51822 from Nordic Semiconductor is based on Nordic’s class-leading nRF51822 multiprotocol Bluetooth Smart and proprietary 2.4 GHz-SoC. Bluetooth smart beacons are low-cost, low-power Bluetooth low-energy wireless transmitters that can advertise their location to Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphones in close proximity. The nRF51822 Beacon Kit features an ultra small form factor of 20 mm diameter and is powered by a CR1632 coin cell battery. It allows developers and engineers to evolve their own beacon applications using Apple’s iBeacon standards, or create their own beacons based on their own specifications using Bluetooth Smart. The kit works straight out of the box with companion smartphone apps for iOS and Android (4.1/4.3) smartphones. The firmware is available as source code from Nordic and allows example beacon scenarios to be set up quickly and easily to test out product ideas. It leverages the ability of the nRF51822 SoC to support full Over-The-Air-Device Firmware Upgrade (OTA-DFU) enabling all beacon firmware to be updated in place in a transparent manner. As each brand and model of smartphones exhibits different RSSI levels, the nRF51822 Beacon Kit has a tuning function that permits consistent performance regardless of phone model. With these features, the kit enables OEMs and ODMs to begin development of beacon hardware to be used together with associated back-end services that will be typically offered as complete beacon solutions. The major use case of the nRF51822 currently is for “contextual awareness,” providing users with information relating their proximity to a Point of Interest (POI). Other application fields could include special deals at retail stores, products available in stock, exhibits in public galleries and museums, train and bus terminals and shopping list reminders. Nordic Semiconductor, Sunnyvale, CA (408) 437-7751.




Suite of Offerings to Protect RTOS-Based Devices

A suite of product offerings is designed to provide an umbrella of protection for RTOS-based end points. This cross platform Intrusion Detection and Prevention from Icon Labs runs natively in a wide range of RTOS-based devices found in military, utility, industrial, medical and consumer IoT applications. In addition to protecting from a wide range of cyber-attacks, the security information and event management (SIEM) integration provides monitoring and reporting of attacks upon the network to enable managers to help identify and track the source of the attacks. Intrusion Detection and Prevention is provided through RTOS-specific threat detection and advanced packet filtering. This set of solutions provides protection from both internal and external threats whether malicious or accidental. Capabilities include detection and reporting of authentication failures and an API that enables protection and monitoring of device specific attack vectors. The suite provides stateful packet inspection that filters packets on the state of the connection along with static/rules-based filtering of ports, protocols and IP addresses. Threshold-based filtering monitors packet flows to block packet floods plus protocolspecific deep packet inspection for industry-specific application protocols. There is also active detection of port scans and probes, which frequently indicates an impending cyber-attack. Enterprise connection is provided through optional extensions to connect and manage RTOS devices from enterprise policy management systems such as the U.S, Dept. of Defense, HBSS. Both security-related and device-specific events can be captured and logged for reporting to a variety of corporate SIEM systems. For ease in integration and development, Icon Labs also provides professional services capabilities to facilitate unique implementation projects and product development. User interface from simple command line to web to corporate policy management systems can be customized to specific engineering design requirements. Icon Laboratories, West Des Moines, IA (515) 226-3443.

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DDR4 Memory Modules Offer Lower Power, Higher Bandwidth and Density Benefits

Now offering DDR4 memory modules, Virtium enables embedded industrial OEM customers to have early test and development access to the lower power, high bandwidth and density benefits of this latest DRAM technology. Delivering significant power savings of up to 40% and up to twice the bandwidth over DDR3, the new DDR4 modules from Virtium are attractive solutions for server blades, networking and telecom applications. Virtium’s Very Low Profile (VLP) 0.72-inch or 0.738-inch and Ultra Low Profile (ULP) 0.70-inch memory modules are targeted for space-constrained applications. Continuing Virtium’s exclusive support for the embedded infrastructure market, these first DDR4 modules are offered in the lower profile ULP RDIMM height in capacities ranging from 4 to 16 gigabytes. The new DDR4 modules feature low 1.2V configurations with data transfer speeds of 1866 MT/s. Virtium has stated that because of its sole focus on the industrial embedded market and because its customers are now doing a majority of their design work around DDR4, Virtium will fully support future proprietary FBGA and Intel-based chipset systems with a comprehensive DDR4 roadmap of memory module form factors. Engineering samples of Virtium’s DDR4 ULP RDIMM modules are available now with DRAM from two of the industry’s leading manufacturers. Virtium, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (949) 888.2444.

Versatile Fanless Networking Desktop Platform

A fanless, small form factor appliance can serve the networking needs in a variety of environments from departmental IT, SMB, retail or factory floor. The PL-80550 from Win Enterprises features the Intel Atom D2550 processor and a choice of either 4 or 6 GbE LAN with bypass function. The Atom processor provides performance at 1.86 GHz with low power consumption at 10W. The D2550 processor is available in dual-core design. Both processor options are partnered with an Intel ICH10R I/O controller. Wi-Fi capability is optional. PL-80550 provides a compact footprint in a rugged aluminum chassis with surprising 6 LAN throughput in a small unit. System I/O includes 2x USB 2.0, and RJ-45 console port plus LED indicators to monitor power and storage activities for local system management, maintenance and diagnostics. The PL-80550 supports one mini-card socket. The unit offers an optional onboard Cavium Nitrox Lite CN505 chip to provide hardware-level cryptographic acceleration. The device is RoHS, FCC and CE compliant and available now. WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA (978) 688-2000.


Raspberry Pi Prototyping Kits for Through-Hole and Surface Mount Components

Surface mount Raspberry Pi Kits are now available with the Raspberry Pi ThroughHole Add-on Board from Schmartboard and a choice of many Schmartboard SMT to DIP adapters, which add the ability to use SC70, SOT, SOIC, QFN, QFN and DFN components. The Raspberry Pi base board features an extra row of holes for easy access to Raspberry Pi’s General I/O signals along with rows of power and ground strips for easy power-up and flexibility. Pre-routed traces are provided to minimize the use of wire jumpers as well as a slot for the video cable to keep the circuit clean and unencumbered. There is also a marked area where the Raspberry Pi USB and Ethernet Connectors are located to avoid conflicts. Headers are provided with enough clearance to cleanly and safely stack on the Raspberry Pi board, and there are circuits for four level shifters. All this is provided with Schmartboard’s signature offset through-hole grid, which expands part placement options. The kits are currently available in configurations to support SOT 23, SC 70, SOIC .5 mm, .635 mm, .65 mm, .8 mm and 1.27 mm pitches and many QFP, QFNs and DFNs in both .5 mm and .65 mm pitches. More options will be added as experience shows which package types are most needed. The Through-Hole shields will retail for $13.00 bundled with the headers. The surface mount kits will retail for $18.00, and additional SMT to DIP adapters retail for $6.00. Kits are available from Mouser Electronics, Fry’s Electronics, Micro Center, Radio Shack and directly from Schmartboard. Schmartboard, Fremont, CA (408) 744-9900.

Extended Temperature High-Density Isolated Serial Conduction-Cooled PMC

A high-density Isolated Serial Communication Controller is a conduction-cooled single-width 32-bit PMC module suitable for applications in transportation, COTS, communications and process control. The TPMC378 from TEWS Technologies can operate with 3.3V and 5.0V PCI I/O signaling voltage. It provides eight channels of high-performance RS-422 asynchronous serial interface with P14 I/O. Each of the serial channels is isolated from the system and against each other by isolated transceivers with integrated DC/DC converters. Each RS-422 channel supports a four wire interface (RX+, RX-, TX+, TX-) plus ground (GND). Two channels additionally support flow control with RTS+/- and CTS+/-. All channels generate interrupts on PCI interrupt INTA. For fast interrupt source detection, the UART provides a special Global Interrupt Source Register. Each serial channel of the PMC module has separate 64 byte receive and transmit FIFOs to significantly reduce the processing overhead required to provide data to and from the transmitters and receivers. The FIFO trigger levels are programmable, and the baud rate is individually selectable up to 5.5296 Mbit/s for RS-422 channels. The UART offers readable FIFO levels. All serial channels use ESD protected transceivers. ESD protection is up to ±15KV. The TPMC378 offers an operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C. Extensive software support for major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, LynxOS, VxWorks, Integrity and QNX is available. TEWS Technologies, Halstenbek, Germany +49 (0)4104-4058-19.

CompactPCI Serial PMC Module Carrier A new peripheral slot board for CompactPCI Serial systems acts as carrier card for a PMC-style mezzanine module. PMC modules are provided with a legacy PCI interface and are widely in use for industrial and scientific applications. The SK1-Chord from EKF Electronik supports the most common 32-bit 33/66 MHz PMC modules. The SK1-Chord is equipped with a PCI Express to PCI bridge for conversion of data from the CompactPCI Serial backplane to the onboard PCI parallel bus. The PMC module fits on the PMC connectors J11/J12 at 10 mm height. The SK1-Chord can be installed into any peripheral slot of a CompactPCI Serial backplane. EKF Elektronik, Hamm, Germany +49 (0)2831/6890-0.

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Company Page Website Advanced Micro Devices, Inc............................................................................................. 52................................................................................................ Advantech Corporation...................................................................................................... Cadia................................................................................................................................ 51.................................................................................................. congatec, Inc..................................................................................................................... 4.............................................................................................................. Creative Electronic Systems............................................................................................... Dolphin Interconnect Solutions........................................................................................... 19......................................................................................................... Grey Matter Consulting and Sales...................................................................................... 23................................................................................................... Intelligent Systems Source................................................................................................. 27................................................................................... Interface Concept.............................................................................................................. Lauterbach........................................................................................................................ 42........................................................................................................ Men Micro......................................................................................................................... 35......................................................................................................... MinnowBoard.................................................................................................................... 39..................................................................................................... MSC Embedded, Inc........................................................................................................... One Stop Systems, Inc................................................................................................... 11, Portwell............................................................................................................................. 7............................................................................................................. Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference.................................................................. 31................................................................................................................ Trenton Systems................................................................................................................. 2.................................................................................................. TQ Systems GmbH............................................................................................................ 15...................................................................... WinSystems....................................................................................................................... 5........................................................................................................ Product Showcase............................................................................................................. 35........................................................................................................................................ RTC (Issn#1092-1524) magazine is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodical postage paid at San Clemente and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.



Thinking about how to take advantage of “The Cloud” in your Embedded Application?

Intelligent IoT/M2M Gateways v v v v v v v v

Highly Secure Device Interoperability Intelligence at the Edge Deterministic Scheduler Virtualization / HyperVisor Store & Forward Sensor Data Remote Maintenance Conduction Cooled Platforms

ARM A9, Atom, 3rd & 4th Gen Celeron, Core i3, i5 & i7

v Preinstalled Operating Systems

Windows, WinCE, WES7/8 , Linux & Android

Ruggedized Router

RoughNUC-MaxRouter Baytrail Atom

v v v v

Intelligent Host 5 Port GigE Router LAN1 - POE Management S/W


IVC-4700 Ivy Bridge i3 & i7 v v v v

Digital Signage

OPS-5332 Freescale iMX6 A9

v Quad Core 4 GigE Ports GPS Dead Reckoning v Onboard 1GB RAM, 4GB iNAND mSATA SSD v Native Linux, Android EN50155

Industrial M2M

ECS-5536 Atom N2800 v v v v

6 COM Ports Dual GigE DVI & VGA WES7/8 Compatible

Providing Application Specific Boards, Systems & Services to the Embedded Computing World Tel: +1-855-GO-CADIA

Network Appliance

RoughNUC-Plus Haswell i5

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4th Gen Intel Core vPro Technology Turbo Boost Remote Management

AMD Innovation Continues Introducing the 2nd Generation AMD Embedded R-Series APU

The 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series APU (previously codenamed “Bald Eagle”) delivers breakthrough graphics performance and power efficiency for a new generation of embedded systems designed to provide ultra-immersive HD multimedia experiences and parallel processing compute performance. The AMD R-series APU offers next-generation performance-per-watt compute efficiency in the x86 product category by allowing system designers to take advantage of Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA). AMD’s 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series APU is a revolutionary leap in processing performance, power efficiency and multimedia immersion for embedded gaming, medical imaging and digital signage applications.

Learn more at:

RTC Magazine  

June 2014

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