VxWorks 7 – Our view

A new version of Wind River’s VxWorks real time operating system has been launched to help manufacturers of embedded devices take advantage of the unique opportunities posed by the ‘Internet of Things’.

Unveiled at Embedded World in Nuremburg, VxWorks 7 has been re-architected with a more modular approach separating the VxWorks core operating system from middleware such as the file system and networking stack.

This increases scalability and the ability to quickly adjust to market changes as individual applications can now be updated at any time without requiring extensive rework or retesting of the entire system.

Modularity, security and functionality

The new modular approach of VxWorks 7 will ensure that customer systems can remain on the cutting edge of technology by allowing targeted, efficient upgrades to packages and protocols without changing the system core which minimises testing and recertification efforts.

New support for a root of trust in the boot loader prevent threats and intrusion by ensuring that only trusted modules and signed binaries are loaded at power on. This is extended by the introduction of new user roles and user-defined policies to fight code injection and execution of code by unauthorised users.

As well as enhanced security features and additional support for safety critical applications, VxWorks 7 offers support for a range of communication standards and protocols such as USB, CAN, Bluetooth, FireWire and Continua, as well as industry standard TCP/IPv4 and IPv6 networking capabilities.

A combination of the new microkernel and the standard kernel, built on the same VxWorks platform, also allows customers to reduce development and maintenance costs by leveraging one RTOS foundation across different classes of connected devices.

Our view

This new release of VxWorks provides more tools and support for customers building connected devices while providing a smooth migration path for customers who have invested in previous versions of the operating system.

The Eclipse-based Workbench development environment will be familiar to many developers. The new system analysis tools plus the Sensorpoint dynamic instrumentation technology will help developers fix problems faster and tune their systems for maximum performance.

The new BSP and build infrastructure allows customers and foundation software developers such as Pebble Bay to support custom-designed boards and variants more easily and quickly, while the BSP compatibility mode will allow VxWorks 7 to run on board with VxWorks 6.x BSPs.

Software configuration management is helped with the introduction of RPM-based packages for individual operating system components and the ability to build projects in Workbench with different versions of the same package. This means developers can easily build and deploy VxWorks kernels incorporating the latest versions of the OS components or use older components to support legacy applications.

We have been helping customers build real-time and embedded applications and systems based on VxWorks for over twenty years. The new features in the Workbench 4 development environment and the VxWorks 7 operating system provide more power and flexibility to build strong and stable processor platforms for customers to develop their applications.