Wind River unveiled its Helix virtualization platform that’s targeted at modernizing legacy systems so they can use edge devices in industrial settings such as aerospace, automotive, and defense.
Helix is meant to address demands now facing industrial customers. This includes system developers needing to adapt quickly to modern software and cloud deployment, but also to maintain older dedicated software. At the same time, critical systems are becoming more intelligent, running artificial intelligence (AI) on edge devices and introducing greater complexity.
The platform integrates the VxWorks proprietary real-time operating system that first premiered in 1985, and Wind River Linux. Wind River CEO Jim Douglas explained that the development of many critical infrastructure systems today require both open source Linux “and a proven commercial RTOS.” He noted that this combination allows other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and others to run without modification within the same edge setup with Helix.
Helix offers time and space partitioning, multi-operating system capability, and consolidation of multiple apps into a single platform. This means companies can serve low-latency functions and apps such as machine learning. Helix also includes Wind River’s Simics platform for system simulations, and support multi-core hardware on Arm, Intel, NXP, and Xilinx platforms, with both 32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems.
Chris Rommel, an analyst at VDC Research, said today’s IoT system development requires more sophisticated software development products. Helix “targets this need, providing a flexible platform,” he said.
Traditionally, Wind River has used a portfolio approach with the marketing of its products, but Helix simplifies that approach with its integrated packaging. That makes the product unique in the market, Rommel said via email.
“There are not many embedded software vendors that have the same breadth of commercial solutions as Wind River,” he added. Mentor Graphics is the only other company actively marketing software for the embedded market that includes an RTOS, Linux, and hypervisor.