RT Hypervisor for XP on x86
We are thoroughly convinced that no matter how enamored the world is with FPGAs for signal processing, multi-core general purpose CPUs are going to soon be competing at the low end with FPGAs. The same thing happened between bit slice and general purpose DSPs, then between GP DSPs and FPGAs. So when we heard about Real-Time Systems’ updated hypervisor for Windows XP, it got us thinking: just how feasible is it for a multi-core CPU to execute, say, Excel while also crunching an FIR algorithm in real time? Targeting deterministic behavior in real-time (and embedded) applications, the RTS Hypervisor makes it possible to run a number of homogeneous or heterogeneous OSes on a single multi-core x86 platform. It’s a compelling concept to ponder.
The individual operating systems have no knowledge of the RTS Hypervisor underneath them. A CONFIG file allows an OS to be assigned to (at least) one CPU core, and additional CPU resources are similarly assigned to specific OSes. Boot sequences can be specified, and shared memory or a virtual network allows resource inter-play if desired. Protection mechanisms give each OS sole assess to designated resources, and standard device drivers work as expected because the hypervisor doesn’t virtualize or simulate peripheral access. Support exists for XP, Win CE, Linux, VxWorks, PharLab ETS and Microware OS-9. By the time you read this, version 2.0 should be available.