Intel has updated its embedded platform aimed at industrial systems with the ability to run multiple operating systems concurrently. This should enable use cases such as running analytics and real-time control systems on the same hardware, as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
This capability comes in the latest generation of the Intel Industrial Solutions System Consolidation Series, development and production kits comprising a software stack designed to run on hardware based on Intel's 4th Generation Core vPro processors.
The latest version of the software stack enables embedded systems to run multiple instances of Intel's Wind River VxWorks 7, Wind River Linux 7 and Microsoft's Windows 7 using Wind River VxWorks Virtualization Profile, as well as McAfee Embedded Control for security management.
Virtualization Profile for VxWorks delivers a real-time embedded hypervisor to support virtualisation, enabling systems to be split into multiple partitions able to simultaneously run both real-time and general-purpose operating systems.
Ultimately, this will allow system integrators to reduce the overall solution cost by consolidating IoT and industrial workloads, Intel said. A single device will be capable of handling both real-time process control functions and local analytics processing, rather than having to upload all data to the cloud for processing.
This fits with Intel's vision for the IoT, which is that it is basically the next step in the evolution of embedded computing. As Intel detailed in a briefing with V3 last year, some measure of local intelligence will be desirable in many cases, as you cannot totally rely on an internet connection for remote command and control.
"It is necessary in industrial applications to have what we call intelligence at the edge, because you cannot always rely on the network connection being there, so you need a certain amount of intelligence to guarantee behaviour, particularly for mission-critical applications like smart grid or water supply management, or transportation solutions where you need a real-time response," said Ton Steenman, vice president of Intel's IoT Solutions Group at the time.
One industrial platform has already been certified by Intel for the latest release of the Industrial Solutions System Consolidation Series software: the EPC-S2100 developed by Contec DTx.
This is based on a quad-core Core i7 processor with 16GB DDR3 SDRAM, solid state storage and common I/O for industrial applications.
Contec DTx executive vice president Brad Jens commented: "We are excited to work with Intel to bring this product to market. The EPC-S2100 supports our vision to help our customers realise the ‘Factory of the Future' through automation and virtualisation."
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