Wind River launches embedded hypervisor

The Wind River Hypervisor for embedded systems promises to let multiple operating systems run side by side on a single or multicore chip

Wind River has released a hypervisor for embedded systems, a key part of its effort to enable multiple operating systems to run on single or multicore processors.

The embedded software specialist, currently in the process of being acquired by chipmaker Intel, first announced the Wind River Hypervisor last year. On Tuesday, the company said it was now making the hypervisor available.

The software supports single-core chips, but is designed primarily for device makers who want to run a different operating system on each core of a multi-core chip, Wind River said in a statement. The hypervisor co-ordinates those operating systems and keeps them securely separate from each other, while allowing them to share resources.

Wind River cited the example of a car maker using the hypervisor to allow an embedded Linux operating system to run alongside a faster-booting proprietary system that handles certain initial tasks when the car starts up.

A device maker could also use the hypervisor to allow an older operating system to run alongside a newer one, in cases where the older OS was needed for backward-compatibility, Wind River said.

The company is targeting industries such as aerospace, the military, automobile manufacturing, consumer devices and networking products.

The software currently supports Wind River's own version of Linux, as well as its proprietary VxWorks, on Intel or PowerPC processor architectures. Wind River said support for Mips and Arm platforms will come later.

The hypervisor has been tuned for real-time operations, with particular attention paid to performance and latency, and has been optimised for particular hardware platforms, Wind River said. The software supports symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) or asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP).

As part of its announcement, the company said the Wind River Workbench integrated development environment (IDE) and toolsuite now supports hypervisor-based development. Its features include prototype and simulation, system monitoring and analysis, debugging multiple contexts and on-chip debugging.

Intel said earlier this month it had entered a definitive agreement to buy Wind River for $884m (£545m). Wind River is to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel, reporting to the chipmaker's Software and Services Group.

In a statement at the time, Wind River said the acquisition fits into "Intel's strategy to grow its processor and software presence outside the traditional PC and server market segments, into embedded systems and mobile handheld devices".