Microsoft Previews Windows CE 6 Operating System
Microsoft has announced the availability of a beta release of Windows CE 6, the next generation of its real-time software. The new version features a redesigned operating system kernel architecture, expanded capacity for simultaneous processes and a newly integrated tool set. Windows CE 6 delivers a more integrated embedded development environment that is now available via a plug-in for Visual Studio 2005. Now developers have a single familiar tool to help them quickly develop both operating systems and applications, enable them to improve time-to-market and reduce development costs. Visual Studio 2005 enables over 7 million Visual Studio developers worldwide to use their existing tools and skills to create differentiated embedded devices.
The redesigned operating system kernel architecture supports significantly more simultaneously running processes, from 32 up to 32,000 simultaneous processes, each of which can run in a 2 Gbyte virtual memory address space. Windows CE 6 provides continuity of features and functionality from previous generations of Windows CE, allowing device makers to utilize their previous investments in user interfaces, applications, middleware and drivers.
Windows CE 6 builds on Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative, offering developers extensive access to millions of lines of Windows CE source code. Developers and device makers have the right to modify and distribute custom components with their Windows CE-based products. The shared source code license also includes a flexible template that lets device makers create unique, customized user interfaces to further differentiate their devices.
Industry Group to Establish SP100 Industrial Wireless Standard
Adaptive Instruments, Endress+ Hauser, Flowserve, Honeywell, OMNEX Control Systems, 3e Technologies International (3eTI) and Yokogawa announced they have joined the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA) SP100 working group to support the committee’s efforts to create an open industrial and multi-functional wireless standard. This industry group will work toward a joint solution that will enable industrial plants to use a single wireless network architecture to support a wide range of applications from low-rate monitoring to process control to wireless worker functions.
These industry group members are developing a network structure that is based on existing wireless technologies to meet current and future customer requirements. The SP100 committee has identified needs for managing devices, from just a few up to tens of thousands of devices residing on a single, scalable, wireless plant network. The network architecture will provide integrated end-to-end security that will guard against cyber threats, as well as enable companies to reduce the number of disparate wireless networks used at a plant—which also reduces operational costs and disruptions.
Industrial wireless has many complex issues when compared to traditional wired offerings and needs a comprehensive solution to be succesandsful in the long run. The industry group members are drawing from their current wireless industrial plant experiences as well as extensive research to select the best wireless technologies. The intent is to provide an open, standard environment for industrial vendors to develop interoperable products to provide their customers the ability to choose from many products to use in their plants.
The industry group will develop this solution within the ISA-SP100 committee, which was chartered last year “to establish standards, recommended prac-tices, technical reports and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment.”
RapidIO Interoperability Lab Establishes Qualified Vendor Program
RIOlab Corporation, a new interoperability testing facility for RapidIO, announced it has established a Qualified Vendor Program (QVP) designed to ensure its newly established lab utilizes the most advanced equipment to perform interoperability and specification compliance testing. RIOlab also announced the first four qualified vendors: Fabric Embedded Tools Corporation (FET), Nexus Technology, Silicon Turnkey Express (STx) and Tektronix. RIOlab runs a state-of-the-art independent testing facility that provides device interoperability and specification compliance reporting that meets the growing needs of silicon vendors and OEMs using the RapidIO interconnect standard.
The QVP creates a partnership opportunity for RIOlab and RapidIO ecosystem vendors. Ecosystem vendors value the opportunity to be showcased within RIOlab, where they achieve greater visibility of the interoperability of their products and equipment. RIOlab benefits from the breadth of RapidIO ecosystem participation and products while becoming a world-class testing facility. The QVP participants have contributed hardware or software and have demonstrated compliance to the RapidIO specification. In addition, these vendors have agreed to work with RIOlab to provide any upgrades or new products, ensuring that the lab is always using state-of-the-art technology. Tektronix and Nexus Technology are delivering logic analyzers and bus supports, FET is providing software tools, and STx is contributing hardware.
VMetro and AdvancedIO Collaborate on 10 GbE Data Recording Systems
AdvancedIO Systems and VMetro have announced an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize 10 Gbit Ethernet (10 GbE) data recording, playback and analysis systems. Suited for digital signal analysis applications as well as medical scanners and industrial inspection systems, these 10 GbE recorder systems will utilize AdvancedIO’s 10 GbE PMC/XMC family of packet processing modules and VMetro’s Vortex Open Recorder platforms.
The products within VMetro’s Vortex family of real-time data recorders for analog and digital applications share a common design philosophy that allows mixing and matching of I/O, recording engines, storage and analysis to meet a wide array of program requirements. The Vortex family includes an open architecture with custom
I/O and targeted (pre-programmed for common I/O) recording and playback products for standard buses including VME, CompactPCI and PC. Vortex recorders have a storage system that takes advantage of the power, flexibility and scalability of a Fibre Channel-based Storage Area Network (SAN). Vortex also includes SAN Access Kit workstation connectivity that allows direct high-speed access to the digital data from almost any commercially available processing platform.
AdvancedIO 10 GbE configurable I/O products offer rich connectivity and packet processing performance in conjunction with application flexibility. The architecture provides the optimal platform for implementing advanced Layer 2 and Layer 3 packet switching solutions at 10 Gbit/s line speed.
SCSI Trade Association Holds Sixth Plugfest
The SCSI Trade Association (STA), a member-run industry association established to support and promote SCSI technology, and the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), announced that the sixth Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) plugfest was held April 24-28. The tests emphasized large system builds and the performance of fabrics during attempts to disrupt the data flow. Fifteen STA members attended.
The highlight of the plugfest was the array of large system builds (of which there were several), configured as the largest, most complex fabric to date. The system builds contained many servers, enclosures, HBAs, expanders, analyzers, hard disk drives, tape drives and an active multiplexer (MUX), provided by the attending vendors. All of the large builds were stable configurations and were successfully tested by hot-plugging and swapping drives. These tests verified that broadcast change notifications did not disrupt the fabric, which would cause the system to stop transferring data.
SAS market entry is the result of four years of preparation; including development of the SAS technology, finalizing and standardization of the specifications, testing, and finally the anticipated introduction of complete SAS storage systems last fall. Testing for SAS component interoperability during development and early product introductions has virtually eliminated interoperability and compatibility problems. An additional plugfest is planned for fourth quarter.
ZigBee and BACnet Link Up to Extend Standards to Wireless Building Control
The ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in home, commercial and industrial applications, has announced a new collaboration with BACnet, a lead-ing protocol for wired commercial building automation, establishing interoperability between the two technologies. This agreement will allow building operators relying on existing wired BACnet infrastructure to confidently add wireless devices to their existing building control systems by using ZigBee technology to increase safety, security and convenience while saving money on utilities.
Efforts are currently under-way to integrate functionality of both technologies with the drafting of interoperability proposals for the two protocols. The BACnet and ZigBee teams will hold joint meetings in the coming months and begin implementing the collaborative plans of this partnership.
BACnet currently supports five wired data links, with ZigBee becoming its first wireless link. This cooperation will allow existing wired BACnet devices to be quickly upgraded to use ZigBee devices on the Building Control network. BACnet data types and commands will be added to the ZigBee Commercial Building profile, which will allow BACnet messages to be encapsulated into ZigBee wireless data packets. This will allow for both BACnet and ZigBee gateways and intrinsic ZigBee devices to preserve much of BACnet’s underlying object model.
Remote Device Management for Rapid Post-Deployment Diagnosis and Repair
Wind River Systems will soon introduce its Management Suite, a new solution for managing deployed devices that will incorporate remote diagnostics services built around a scalable device management platform. Expanding on its device software optimization (DSO) strategy to incorporate post-development device management, the management suite will include the new Wind River Field Diagnostics, a remote diagnostics system and an upgraded version of Wind River Workbench Diagnostics, a root cause analysis system with workgroup collaboration facilities. With the management suite, device manufacturers will be able to remotely monitor, diagnose and repair deployed devices.
Wind River Field Diagnostics is a distributed, remote diagnostics system that securely collects and manages operational information from thousands of devices deployed at customer sites. It is built on a standard, secure tiered-architecture that leverages relational databases, J2EE application servers and Web services technology for enterprise-class scalability. Wind River Field Diagnostics also helps reduce call times and service costs, enables more competitive and auditable Service Level Agreements (SLA) and allows more productive and consistent global service operations.
Wind River’s Workbench Diagnostics is an Eclipse-based analysis system and allows design engineers to dynamically instrument device software in order to rapidly isolate, diagnose and correct software defects in running systems. As part of the Wind River Management Suite, the newly enhanced Workbench Diagnostics is tightly integrated with Field Diagnostics to offer new self-management features, support for additional processor architectures and a new workgroup configuration. The new workgroup features help developers collaborate to create and manage the libraries of diagnostic instrumentation, patches and procedures used to monitor and test multiple devices.
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