VirtualLogix VLX for Network Infrastructure v3.0 Supports Windows

Virtual machine technology has many uses. Most are familiar with using this technology to create virtual servers.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Virtual machine technology has many uses. Most are familiar with using this technology to create virtual servers. Some are familiar with how virtual machine software combined with connection brokers or virtual access software can be used to create virtual clients or desktops. Few are knowledgeable when it comes to the use of virtual machine software in embedded environments. VirtualLogix is a company working in that rarified air. The company recently announced VLX for Network Infrastructure v3.0 that promises to "blend the rich Windows® environment with the existing capabilities of real-time operating systems (RTOS) or Linux by applying real-time virtualization technology on platforms using multi-core processors."

Embedded environments are a bit different from the traditional client or server environment. These usually are seen as handheld devices, server appliances or even exotic environments such as Microwave ovens. Although computing technology is being deployed, it is usually tightly constrained with only enough memory, storage and other system resources to support the one or at most few tasks the device must perform. While constrained, the environment must perform very well or it may not be able to manage the task(s) at hand. A smartphone must be fast enough to digitize and transmit conversations while doing other things, such as allowing the user to look up contact information. Since the developer is often seeking ways to reduce costs (done to the component level), finding ways to use one processor and its related support circuitry to do many things is high on the list.

As microprocessors have gotten faster and faster, memory chips and solid state storage have both increased in storage capability, reaching this goal has been getting easier. VirtualLogix is one of the few companies that are pushing virtual machine technology rather than focusing only on special purpose real time operating systems. This approach would allow developers to deploy the operating system most familiar and yet still stay within the constraints of an embedded system.

Although this is not likely to be a topic that sparks intense interest in everyone, as a computer archaeologist and technology spelunker, I'm always impressed when I see a creative use of technology.

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