Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now Available: Embedded Systems Market Statistics

Embedded Software 2008 Market Intelligence Service
Track 3: Embedded Systems Market Statistics

VDC Research Group is pleased to announce the release of seven reports on embedded systems market statistics, as part its 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service. The statistics are based on detailed Web survey responses from hundreds of embedded developers and VDC’s proprietary embedded systems market statistics model. This model is a tool for estimating and forecasting the global population of embedded engineers, the global number of project starts, and the Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (TMESE). Each volume focuses on one of the following key vertical markets:

Volume 1: Automotive/Transportation
Volume 2: Consumer Electronics
Volume 3: Industrial Automation
Volume 4: Medical Devices
Volume 5: Military/Aerospace
Volume 6: Mobile Phones
Volume 7: Telecom/Datacom

Research Highlights

Through a combination of modeled estimates and end-user data analysis, each Embedded Systems Market Statistics volume includes but is not limited to the following information:

  • Demographics (Geographic region, primary role, type of product developed, and application type)
  • Key Industry Trends (General market and system engineering trends)
  • Project Statistics (Number of project starts worldwide, average per company, project length, time-to-market, cost of development, percent of cost attributed to software development)
  • Labor Statistics (Number of embedded systems engineers working for embedded systems manufacturers, distribution by engineer type, average number of engineers working on current development projects, average age and years developing embedded systems, annual salary)
  • Solution Statistics (Total spend on commercial embedded software solutions and percentage by product type, average umber of units shipped by company for 2007 and distribution by operating system type, average number of lines of code developed in-house, number of commercial/third-party lines of code, type of operating system used in current project, type of processor used in current design, use of key programming languages, as well as annual tools budget for software/system engineers)
  • Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (Total spend on commercial products and embedded systems manufacturers labor)

Report Scope

These reports provide key embedded system engineering statistics for seven key vertical markets. These reports rely on information from VDC’s proprietary embedded systems market statistics model. This model is based on information gathered through VDC’s primary and secondary research and includes detailed analysis of our 2008 Embedded Systems Engineering survey.

To access the full PDF version of this brochure as well as other information on these reports, click here

Monday, December 29, 2008

Code Base Growth, Safety-Critical Requirements Driving Static Analysis Market

Recently published research by VDC Research indicates that embedded software engineers using a static analysis tool are working on projects with significantly larger average numbers of in-house developed lines of software code than developers not using a static analysis tool. VDC considers static code analysis tools to include solutions ranging from Lint-based syntax parsers to standards’ compliance checkers to tools using more formal methods for verification.

With the overall embedded code base growing a rate near 10%, VDC expects that an increasing number of development teams may look toward static analysis tools as a means to ensure code quality and functionality.

“With this continued growth in code bases, the potential number of executable paths within the code is also increasing dramatically, often limiting the traditional dynamic testing tools’ ability to achieve acceptable code coverage, both with regards to the sheer number of tests needed to be executed as well as the amount of time needed to run them,” says Chris Rommel, Analyst with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. "The ability of static analysis tools to allow individual engineers to test code without executing it, earlier in the development cycle, should present vendors with additional opportunities for growth, especially in economic times when excessive backend QA effort can easily eliminate any remaining,potential profit margins."

The difference between the average code bases of these user groups can also serve to benchmark the typical code base sizes needed for a project team/company to be considered a legitimate candidate for a commercial static analysis tool. However, application classes tending to have requirements that are more safety- or security-critical in nature embrace static analysis tools at higher rate, before code base size and complexity alone would normally drive development teams to consider additional testing methodologies.

For example, surveyed static analysis tool users currently working on a project for the military/aerospace industry (which also accounted for the highest percentage of the total embedded software static analysis tools spend in 2007) reported a median of 22,500 lines of in-house developed code as compared to 45,000 by the overall static analysis tool user population.

Although VDC believes that an increasing number of development teams will look toward static analysis tools as a software development best practice, the escalating importance of software quality will generate a growing demand for comprehensive testing solutions that can also provide tight integration with dynamic testing tools as well as with other complementary application lifecycle management tools.

VDC explores these and other critical issues within this market in the recently released report, Static Analysis Tools, Volume 4 from Track 2 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

To Access the PDF version of this press release, click here

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

VDC Research Webinar Event

VDC recently announced the launch of our Embedded Software Market Intelligence Program: 2009 Service Year. As part of that announcement, we mentioned our upcoming Webinar presentation that provides an update on the market, including an analysis and outlook for 2009.

We hope you can join us for one of the two planned sessions. You can see more details and register at:

VDC Webinar Events - What’s Next: Embedded Software Market Update, Trends and 2009 Outlook December 2nd, 11:00 AM (U.S. Eastern) December 5th, 2:00 PM (U.S. Eastern). Following the presentation, we’ll also have a Q&A session so we can respond to your specific areas of interest.

Our speakers include Stephen Balacco, Director of our Embedded Software and Tools Practice, and Chris Rezendes, EVP Research Operations, and the following questions will be discussed:

  • How is the current global economic downturn impacting near-term prospects for suppliers of embedded software platforms, development tools, and services?
  • What are the dynamics of the global market for embedded software/system engineering labor? How is this market evolving?
  • How is the growing focus/reliance on software in embedded systems impacting the need for software/system lifecycle management tools and practices?
  • What is the impact of open source solutions/communities on the embedded systems market?

We look forward to seeing you at one of these sessions.

Friday, November 21, 2008

BSQUARE acquires TestQuest

What Happened?

Yesterday, BSQUARE announced the acquisition of automated test tool vendor TestQuest. BSQUARE noted that the acquisition was in line with a strategy of growing its product business to support existing customers. The acquistion will also provide added exposure to BSQUARE across various geographic regions (especially within the Asia Pacific region), access to new customers outside of the embedded system market, and strengthen their offerings for companies using multiple types of operating systems including Symbian, Linux, and others in addition to Windows Mobile.

BSQUARE reported that they had purchased the company for $2.2 million in cash and that TestQuest had generated approximately $4.8 million over a 12 month period ending September 30th 2008.

VDC’s View

While BSQUARE is likely to continue to focus significant efforts around its core Windows licensing and engineering services businesses within the embedded market, this acquisition is part of a larger effort to broaden its portfolio of complementary software product offferings. The company has released a number of new products over the last year or so, including products for UI development for flash, a 3G wireless development kit, and the Device Validation TestSuite, a QA testing tool for Windows CE on the TI OMAP3 Evaluation Module.

The acquisition should help BSQUARE to build on its capabilities around QA and test for mobile, especially devices using non-Windows-based operating systems prevalent within the mobile phone market such as Linux and Symbian. For a company with a solid footing in the Windows universe, additional products catering to the needs of other operating system platforms is a good strategy as well.

The move also speaks to the growing importance of test and verification within the mobile phone market given the continued growth in software content per phone (recent VDC findings suggest that the code base within the mobile phone market may be growing at a rate of approximately 14% per year) and compressed development cycles.

VMware Acquisition Targets Virtualization for Mobile Devices

What Happened?

Last week, VMware publicly revealed that it had acquired France-based embedded virtualization vendor Trango Virtual Processors in October. The acquisition of Trango’s solutions, which support virtualization on ARM and MIPS-based architectures, is intended to help broaden VMware’s target market beyond x86 platforms and specifically into the mobile phone space.

In positioning the Trango’s virtualization technology within the mobile phone space, VMware is emphasizing:

  • The benefits to manufacturers of faster time-to-market and easier porting of more robust operating systems
  • The ability of end users to manage multiple device profiles and more seamlessly make use of PC-based applications.
VMware plans to release the new VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) based on this technology sometime in 2009 (late 2009 by some reports).

VDC’s View

This development is big news for virtualization solution providers playing in the embedded systems space. Vendors have long been looking to ride the coattails of VMware’s success story, attempting to draw strong parallels that would signal the inevitable arrival of virtualization within the embedded systems domain as well.

However, despite the fact that some of the value propositions of virtualization within the desktop and server computing market hold true for the embedded domain, there are also key differences that make an apples-to-apples comparison challenging. One of the most glaring of these is the diversity of hardware architectures that continue to be used across embedded projects -- embedded engineering is far from a homogeneous x86 world.

Despite the growing interest in virtualization technology over the last few years, VDC’s research points to the fact that the current use of virtualization across the larger embedded space remains low. That said, VDC has also seen higher reported rates of virtualization use specific to the mobile phone segment of the embedded market. VDC anticipates that future growth of virtualization within embedded system projects is most likely to be strongest in industries where hardware architectures are either similar to PC and server environments and/or becoming more uniform and platform specific. The standardization of system platforms in industries like the mobile phone market, point to growing opportunities for virtualization going forward.

Key embedded solution competitors bracing for strong adoption of virtualization within the mobile phone market such as VirtualLogix, Open Kernel Labs, Green Hills Software, and others, likely see VMware’s move as more validation that virtualization is destined to reach the mobile and embedded markets in earnest over the coming years. However, with a large, established vendor like VMware (and parent EMC) now looking to grow its business in the mobile phone space, it also may be a cause for concern for some vendors that had previously hoped to be the VMware of embedded - but now will have to compete more directly with the virtualization giant itself.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Embedded Systems Bulletin - October 2008

VDC attended the 2008 Embedded Systems Conference in Boston on October 28 and 29. This bulletin presents a summary of the event.

Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) – Boston 2008

In these times of economic uncertainty, the fifteenth installment of the East Coast’s Embedded System Conference exceeded our expectations. Although some prominent embedded vendors did not participate in the show and many exhibitors seemed to have scaled down booth size and staff, show floor attendance did not drop off as much we might have expected. In fact, attendance on Tuesday in particular seemed fairly comparable to last year in Boston. Discussions with exhibiting vendors also suggested that the number of quality leads generated by attendees seemed promising as well as consistent year-over-year.


Best of Show

GrammaTech’s CodeSonar 3.3 – Static analysis tool vendor GrammaTech announced that CodeSonar 3.3 is up to five times faster than previous versions. The company also announced that it has improved the reporting and charting abilities in addition to adding a richer API in order to enhance the user’s ability to customize tests and reports. We expect that these announcements should help GrammaTech, whose solutions have traditionally been used in the development of safety- or mission-critical applications, strengthen its value proposition to those markets outside of its traditional domain.

Honorable Mentions

BSQUARE’s 3G Dev Kit – BSQUARE launched a 3G wireless development kit for Texas Instrument’s OMAP35x to aid the integration and development of hardware and software, which should allow teams to focus more of their time and efforts above the cell core on the application level. BSQUARE also announced a Flash UI Extender that facilitates the use of Flash to build user interfaces for Windows CE 5 or Windows Mobile 6.

Green Hills Software’s Platform for Secure Wireless Devices – GHS has enhanced its Platform for Secure Wireless Devices with the latest 802.11A/B/G wireless drivers from Atheros Communications as wells as new Devicescape security supplicants. The company anticipates that these improvements – as well as the growing importance of security for mobile devices – will help fuel future design wins for the mobile phone space. GHS also announced that Saab is using INTEGRITY, MULTI and the Green Hills Probe for the development of its Skeldar Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Open Kernel Labs’ OKL4 3.0/Nano – Virtualization solution vendor Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) announced version 3.0 of its OKL4 embedded hypervisor. With their solution primarily targeted at the mobile phone industry, the company has also released a configuration of OKL4 3.0, dubbed OKL4 Nano that is streamlined for use on low-end phones that lack the memory or processing power to run a full version of OKL4. Not only does this solution allow them to target the more rapidly expanding low-end mobile market, but it is also configured to ensure that applications developed to run on Nano will be completely compatible with the full version.

Best Giveaway

Microsoft Windows Embedded Computer – At the conference’s industry address, presented by Kevin Dallas, Microsoft provided the first 300 attendees with a VIA Artigo Pico-ITX kit (due to the lecture’s high turn out, Microsoft announced that they would ship additional systems if needed), loaded with 1 GB RAM, 120 GB Hard Drive, Visual Studio Pro 2005, as well as configured dual boot either Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 or a 1200day evaluation copy of Windows Embedded Standard. With these systems retailing for approximately $1,400, Microsoft continues to demonstrate its unrelenting drive to bolster its embedded presence.

Software Vendors Target Mobile Devices for Next-Generation Solutions

Mobile devices continue to generate a growing portion of consumers’ interaction with technology. The number of development solutions targeted at these sophisticated mobile devices has increased in conjunction with the versatility and level of functionality within these previously resource-constrained and dedicated devices. We expect that this class of devices – from low-end phones to PC-like smartphones –will increasingly drive the future of the embedded market, both from the level of functionality expected by consumers as well as the sheer volumes of device shipments.


AdaCore featured several announcements at the show, including the availability of GNAT Pro for SYSGO’s ElinOS embedded Linux operating system, support for Mentor Graphics’ NucleusOS, as wells as a strategic partnership with Praxis, the developer of the Ada-based SPARK language and related toolset.

Aonix announced a new release of its PERC Ultra virtual machine and toolset for the development of Java-based, symmetric multiprocessing systems. In addition, the company also announced that the PERC Ultra SMP tool will support Concurrent’s RedHawk Linux and NightStar debugging and analysis tools.

Software production management tool vendor Electric Cloud also attended the Conference and announced version 3.0 of its ElectricCommander tool. The highlighted improvements featured an Eclipse integration intended to aid agile development and promote best practices that could speed development.

Real-time Operating System (RTOS) vendor Express Logic announced that the availability of its ThreadX RTOS on a simulated Renasas SH-4A platform created with Virtutech’s Simics. We expect this integration, as well as the use of other virtual system prototyping/simulation solutions, should help engineering teams begin application development sooner, potentially speeding time-to-market.

IAR Systems also attended the conference and launched a version of its IAR Embedded Workbench IDE for Atmel’s AVR32 Version 3.10.

Klocwork announced that C# source code analysis capabilities have now been added to its Klocwork Insight static analysis tool.

After having launched TBvision at ESC West, LDRA released TBsecure, a plug-in for that checks compliance with the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute CERT C secure coding standard. In addition, the company also announced that its TBrun unit test tool will now be available as a stand-alone product.

Mentor Graphics announced the availability of a customizable reference platform for the design of multimedia applications called the Nucleus Platform Media Player. The solution includes the Nucleus operating system, a user interface engine, and a suite of development tools.

MicroChip announced the next generation of their MPLAB In-Circuit Debugger (ICD). The company states the MPLAB ICD3 can operate 15 times faster than its predecessor and will better enable rapid program development for its entire 8/16/32-bit microcontroller portfolio.

At the Conference’s keynote, Kevin Dallas, General Manager of Windows Embedded, discussed Microsoft’s plans to build “Quebec,” the next generation of Windows Embedded Standard (XP), on Windows 7.0 and include further enhancements for connected, service-oriented devices.

Microsoft also announced the SPARKs Will Fly contest. Based on the SPARK Your Imagination program announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose in April (which provides versions of Windows Embedded CE and Visual Studio with select hardware to hobbyists and academia at lower price points), this contest is aimed at promoting innovative device ideas for the “home of the future.”

The .NET Micro team at Microsoft presented some significant enhancements to their product including Wi-Fi integration, Universal Serial Bus support, Web Services for Devices as well as support for Analog Devices Blackfin processor family. The .NET Micro team also showcased a competition of their own, the Dare to Dream Different Challenge, which pits developers to design new devices using the .NET Micro Framework.

Also in attendance was Real-Time Innovations (RTI) who launched a safety-critical version of its Data Distribution Service. The Safety-Critical Edition supports both OMG’s DDS standard as well as the Real-Time Publish-Subscribe Protocol (RTPS), but with a library size of approximately 130KB.

Zeligsoft announced a new generation of its software communication architecture (SCA) model tool, Zeligsoft CX. In addition to its out-of-the-box specifications, CX is designed to enable further development of domain specific languages to fit new industry standards or project-specific requirements.

Other leading embedded systems vendors in attendance at ESC included American Arium, Altera, American Arium, Black Duck Software, Birdstep Technology, CMX Systems, Coverity, Datalight, Telelogic an IBM company, IntervalZero (Ardence, a Citrix company), Keil (ARM), Lauterbach, McObject, National Instruments, Parasoft, Perforce Software, Protecode, Quadros Systems, Segger Microcontroller, Texas Instruments, The MathWorks, and many others. The SD Best Practices show held on the 3rd Floor of the convention center included Accurev, IBM, the Object Management Group, Progress Software, Urbancode, and several other exhibitors as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Software Content and Interconnectivity Driving Demand for Software & System Modeling Tools

Recently published research by VDC Research Group indicates that the automotive industry will represent the largest vertical market, as a percentage of total market revenue, for software and system modeling tools by 2010. VDC defines the software and system modeling tool market to include both standard (UML, SysML, SDL, etc.) and proprietary (MATLAB, SCADE, LabVIEW, etc.) language-based modeling solutions intended to facilitate the process of developing embedded software and systems.

“The growing interconnectivity of sophisticated control and safety systems within automobiles has helped drive the need for and adoption of industry standards such as AUTOSAR and MISRA C,” says Chris Rommel, Analyst with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. "The increasing adoption of these standards, combined with the automotive industry's already exploding level of software content, has fueled the continued revenue growth in this segment as well as that of the overall market for software and system modeling tools."

Moreover, VDC expects that embedded developers – not just limited to the automotive industry – will increasingly look for comprehensive software and system development solutions that can help them manage their adherence to each industry’s standards and best practices. VDC believes that those vendors whose solutions can address these and other challenges within multiple phases of the development process, either through direct functionality or tight integration with third-party solutions, will obtain significant opportunities for growth going forward.

VDC explores these and other critical issues within this market in the recently released report, Software and System Modeling Tools, Volume 3 from Track 2 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

To Access the PDF version of this press release, click here

Monday, October 20, 2008

Planning to Fail?

Current Project Management and System Architecture Specification Activities Causing Delays in Software Engineering and System Integration

A recently released study from VDC Research reveals that failures in system architecture design and specification may, in many cases, be the underlying causes of failures in software engineering and system integration.

VDC’s survey of embedded engineers (based on a mix of various project types including hardware, software, and system designs) suggests that system integration, along with firmware and application development/test, are typically key areas of delay among late projects. Meanwhile, project management/planning and system architecture design and specification are most commonly cited as significant contributors to project delay.
A closer investigation of this data reveals that among those projects experiencing delays in firmware design, 48% reported system architecture design and specification as a cause of project delay, and among those projects experiencing delays in application/middleware engineering, 47% reported system architecture design and specification as a cause of project delay. With software engineers, hardware engineers, and system architects on average reporting that they spend approximately a quarter to a third of their time on firmware engineering tasks, these findings suggest that failures in system architecture design and specification could be having significant impact on time-to-market.

VDC believes that the growing sophistication of software requirements is likely to play an increasingly greater role in driving the advancement of the system-level engineering management and architectural decision-making practices. “The realization that efficient design and test of advanced hardware and systems can no longer be accomplished without common approaches and greater development visibility across the system engineering process is impacting the vendor community,” says Matt Volckmann, Program Manager with VDC Research’s Embedded Software Practice. “VDC expects market participants to place increasing focus and effort on enabling effective software development/test throughout the system engineering process as a result of the expanding importance of software across all types of
embedded system engineering disciplines.”

VDC explores these and other critical issues within the embedded systems market within the recently released report, Volume 2: Virtual System Prototyping/Simulation Tools for Software Development and Verification, from Track 2 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service. In addition to an analysis of the supplier market opportunity, this report also includes in-depth analysis of findings from VDC’s 2008 Embedded System Engineering Survey providing key statistics on engineering demographics, trends, and project characteristics.

To Access the PDF version of this press release, click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please take note that our formal company name has recently changed from Venture Development Corporation to VDC Research Group, Inc.

We believe that our new company name better reflects the types of products and services offered by VDC. It is also part of many other changes underway at VDC to serve our clients better.

Please make note or forward our new company name to any one in your organization that should be aware. Also, make note of our new corporate website address: www.vdcresearch.com.

Email addresses for VDC employees will continue to work when combined with the new vdcresearch.com domain. Communication to the old email addresses will be redirected until the end of the year.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Green Hills Software Achieves CMMI Maturity Level 3 Rating

What Happened?

In case you missed the announcement, on August 19, Green Hills Software announced that it had been appraised to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Maturity Level 3 rating.

CMMI is the follow on to the Capability Maturity Model or CMM from the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), Carnegie Mellon University.

Readers should also note that Wind River Systems announced in January 2007 that the company had achieved CMMI Level 3 rating for their professional services organization.

VDC’s View

These are the type of announcements that might fly below our radars. It’s not about a software or hardware product announcement, or an acquisition of a company. It’s speaks more to process improvement, in Green Hills case for CMMI-DEV for product and service development processes.

Why should this be important to readers? Well, consider that silicon based devices contain significant amounts of software, and by VDC’s analysis, it’s growing in importance. CMMI is an approach to provide companies with published best practices to process improvement.

Before joining VDC’s Embedded Software Practice as the Director, I worked for many years for a large defense contractor involved in C3I programs. I had the opportunity to be involved in a number of defense related programs as a prime, subcontractor, and as a member of industry. In some of these programs software design, development, and integration caused cost overruns, late deliverables, and quality issues.

As a result, government acquisition offices began to mandate CMM/CMMI as a requirement for prime contractors to participate in the opportunity. CMMI is certainly no guaranty on the success or failure of a contractor but another way to be able to measure and evaluate as part of an integrated acquisition decision to award. So, the timing could be right for companies like Wind River Systems and Green Hills Software that have a significant presence and investment in large, complex military/aerospace systems.

While there is no indication that prime contractors have passed down the requirement of CMMI to subcontractors in order to partner, it could make sense that this might happen in the future. Having a CMMI rating can be viewed as a discriminator for selection by defense prime contractors for product design in and professional services. If we believe that software is everywhere then it begs the bigger question of how long will it be before other industries such as automotive, industrial control and others look to their software partners to have a CMMI approved rating?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Embedded Engineers Expect Software Code Base to Continue to Grow at Nearly 10% per Year

Recently released data from Venture Development Corporation’s (VDC) Embedded/Real-time and Mobile Application Operating Systems study leads to the conclusion that the overall embedded software code base may be growing at a rate of approximately 9% per year.

Comparatively larger code size is not always an indicator of more complex system functionality, as smaller code bases often result from superior coding techniques and more efficient use of system resources. However, this data supports the idea that system complexity is driving the need for greater amounts of software content per project.

Because of their correlation with relatively larger overall code bases, VDC expects projects using commercial and open source operating systems to represent the bulk of total embedded software code base growth going forward. Furthermore, VDC’s findings suggest that engineers working on projects using commercial, open source, and in-house operating systems, as well as those using no formal operating system (running on their target system), all expect, on average, to employ significantly greater amounts of software code on their next embedded design. While data from VDC’s 2008 Embedded System Engineering Survey suggests slightly slower average rates of expected growth in the lines of code per project than in previous years, the average embedded system engineer anticipates an increase of over 20% in the total lines of software code on their next project.

“The average embedded system/device continues to require greater amounts of software to serve the requirements of both suppliers and end users. Among many other functions, today’s embedded systems demand more sophisticated system interfaces, incorporating increasingly complex graphical elements as well as advanced wired and wireless communication capabilities,” says Matt Volckmann, Program Manager with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. “As a result of a greater overall focus on software as means to enable increased functionality, a large number of embedded systems manufacturers are currently dedicating more of their resources to software engineering tasks.”
Project teams developing, testing, and managing larger, more complex code bases may obtain their software from a number of third party and in-house sources, including:

  • Code leveraged from previous designs
  • Commercial software solutions
  • Using open source solutions
  • Code developed in-house using more efficient tools or larger engineering teams
  • Code generation technologies

Commercial vendors report that customers evaluating embedded operating systems typically are seeking to satisfy a growing list of specific product requirements – and that vendors without adequate offerings in these areas are often not considered as part of a more thorough evaluation. Solutions supporting more complex system user interfaces and communication stacks such as USB connectivity, TCP/IP, and wireless communication protocols are currently in high demand within a majority of projects. Most vendors have therefore either built these solutions in-house to complement their offerings or satisfied these through partnerships in order to fill gaps within their offerings. These market factors are quickly turning operating system vendors into software stack platform providers.

VDC explores these and other critical issues within the recently released report, Volume 3: Embedded/Real-time and Mobile Application Operating Systems, from Track 1 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service. This report includes in-depth analysis of findings from VDC’s 2008 Embedded System Engineering Survey segmented by operating system type.

To Access the PDF version of this press release, click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


With the increasing complexity of embedded software and hardware designs, the 2008 end-user data books will provide insight into the behavior, opinions, and demographics of embedded engineers, the degree to which embedded system engineering tasks are converging, and key system engineering trends likely to impact embedded systems manufacturers and solution providers over the short and long term.

This end-user data is based on detailed Web survey responses collected in the February to April 2008 timeframe from almost eight hundred embedded systems engineers worldwide that will offer an understanding about the dynamics of the embedded market as they relate to current and future product development trends. This detailed end-user data provides access to VDC’s extensive knowledge of the embedded developer community and is intended to provide insight into specific embedded developer communities’ current development and future project trends based on the individual report topics.

VDC’s Embedded Software 2008 Market Intelligence Service includes Track 1: Operating Systems Used in Embedded Systems and Track 2: Software/System Modeling and Test Tools.
Both tracks include a volume and multiple modules of end-user data for the individual reports within the tracks that includes data for over 130 exhibits for:

· Linux Used in Embedded Systems
· Windows Used in Embedded Systems
· Embedded/Real-time and Mobile Application Operating Systems
· Multi-Core Components and Tools
· Virtual System Prototyping/Simulation Tools for Software Development & Verification
· Software and Systems Modeling Tools
· Static Analysis Tools

Subscribers to individual reports from either Track 1 or Track 2 receive end-user data specific to any report purchased at no additional cost. However, the end-user data is available for purchase separately for subscribers requiring the data only as well as unique data cuts of specific interest to solution providers.

Who should be interested?

Software (ESW, ESL, and EDA) and hardware (silicon and board) solution providers (whether currently engaged in the embedded market or not) should find this information of interest, as these reports provide valuable insight into the types of current and future requirements and methodologies that companies are using to engineer embedded systems. This information can be used to assist companies in differentiating their solutions, developing competitive strategies, engineering products that better meet current and future customer requirements, and/or supporting key marketing and sales claims.

Systems manufacturers and semiconductor suppliers will also find value in this data in developing an understanding of key system engineering trends that will impact their business in the short and long term, gaining a perspective on the embedded software and hardware market, and an understanding of the vendor options available to them.

For further about VDC’s Embedded Software 2008 Market Intelligence Service contact:

Cyril Bernard, Account Executive, 508.653.9000 ext. 142, cbernard@vdc-corp.com

Join the VDC mailing list to receive future updates at: http://www.vdc-corp.com/OptIn.asp

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cadence Withdraws Bid for Mentor

Today Cadence announced that is has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Mentor Graphics for $1.6 billion, citing a revised outlook given the present economic climate and Mentor's failure to engage in substantive discussions. At the same time, the company announced the authorization of a stock repurchase of $500 million subject to market conditions.

Mentor responded to the announcement, saying that Cadence's claims were inconsitent with Cadence's previous public statments and discussions with Mentor, that it believed Cadence was facing challenges in obtaining financing, and that the FTC's actions indicated that the proposed transaction would be protracted.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Multi-Core and Multiprocessing Support Remain Low Priorities in Selection of Embedded OS

Natick, Massachusetts – August 5, 2008 – Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that many embedded developers still do not yet consider multiprocessing and multi-core architecture support a highly critical factor influencing their selection of embedded operating systems for current projects.

Moreover, these criteria remained of relatively low importance even to those developers who indicated that they were using a multi-core or multi-core and multiprocessor design for their current project.

While their preferences did indicate a discernable increase in the relative importance of support for multi-core architectures, their top-eight section criteria remained consistent with those of the overall population. Although VDC expects this selection dynamic to continue change going forward as more embedded projects incorporate multi-core processors, it is clear that factors such as the reliability, cost, and the availability of development tools will continue to drive purchasing decisions.

“While the percentage of developers incorporating multi-core processors is expected to increase going forward, it remains to be seen how this technology will ultimately affect the overall commercial market for embedded software,” says Chris Rommel, Analyst with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. “Increased adoption of multi-core processors may not necessarily cause embedded device manufacturers’ software spend to increase more per year than it would have organically. This technology, however, may have the potential to affect the competitive landscape going forward and shift the relative distribution of market revenue if a clear disparity in multi-core or multiprocessing support emerges between the vendors that have traditionally led the embedded market.”

VDC explores these and other critical issues within the market for embedded multi-core software solutions in the recently released report, Multi-Core Components and Tools, Volume 4 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Microsoft’s Classic OSs a Major Driver of Revenue for Windows Embedded

Natick, Massachusetts – July 17, 2008 – Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that embedded systems manufacturers and their suppliers are driving Windows Embedded revenue by incorporating Microsoft’s Classic OSs under embedded restricted licenses in device development.

While the scope of the research report covers Microsoft’s Embedded and Mobile segments, VDC estimates that greater than 40% of Windows Embedded revenue in 2007 was derived from Classic OS (Windows Embedded Enterprise) production licenses. The types of applications can range from retail automation, industrial automation, large complex medical devices, and others. VDC’s description of Microsoft’s Classic OSs includes full-up versions of Windows XP, Vista, 9x, DOS, and other operating systems under embedded restricted licenses.

Windows Embedded 2007 Platform Revenue Share
(Percent of Dollars)

“The main factors driving Microsoft’s success in this area is the development of PC-type devices that are not resource constrained, do not require any special hardware or software requirements and where third-party application software already exists” said Stephen Balacco, Director with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. Real-time support if required can be achieved with real-time extensions from companies such as Ardence (RTX), TenAsys (INtime), and others. “In these cases, with low volume shipments a standard general purpose off-the-shelf operating system becomes an attractive fit both technically and financially for the embedded system manufacturer.”

VDC explores these and other critical issues within the market for Windows software solutions in the recently released report, Windows Embedded and Mobile Operating Systems, Volume 2 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.


Venture Development Corporation (VDC) is a technology market research and strategy consulting firm that advises clients in a number of industrial, embedded, component, retail automation, RFID, AIDC, datacom/telecom, and defense markets. Using rigorous primary research and analysis techniques, the firm helps its clients identify, plan for, and capitalize on current and emerging market opportunities. We strive to deliver exceptional value to our clients by leveraging the considerable technical, operational, educational and professional experience of our research and consulting staff. During our nearly four decades of ongoing operation, we have had the pleasure of serving most of the world’s leading technology companies, many high-profile start-ups, and numerous blue-chip early and later stage investors. Our products and services consist of research reports, annual research programs, and custom research and consulting services. Founded in 1971, the firm is located in the Boston area. Please visit our Web site at http://www.vdc-corp.com/ to learn more.

For further information about VDC’s Embedded Software Practice and the 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service, contact:

Stephen Balacco, Director, 508.653.9000 ext. 124, sbalacco@vdc-corp.com
Matt Volckmann, Senior Analyst/Program Manager, 508.653.9000 ext. 143, mattv@vdc-corp.com
Chris Rommel, Analyst, 508.653.9000 ext. 123, crommel@vdc-corp.com

For pricing/purchasing information, contact:

Cyril Bernard, Account Executive, 508.653.9000 ext. 142, cbernard@vdc-corp.com

Join the VDC mailing list to receive future updates at: http://www.vdc-corp.com/OptIn.asp

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

UPDATE: Nokia to Acquire Symbian Ltd. – Can you hear me now?

What Happened?

On June 24th, Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK) announced its intent to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited, a company of which they currently own a 47.9% stake, for an estimated $410 million. In conjunction with the planned acquisition, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and NTT DOCOMO, among others, will be launching the Symbian Foundation, an open and non-profit organization that will develop a royalty-free, Open Source Symbian OS-based software platform. The acquisition is expected to close pending regulatory approval in the 4th Quarter 2008. The Symbian Foundation’s launch is expected in the first half of 2009 with a complete integrated open source mobile software platform anticipated to be available in the first half of 2010.

VDC’s View

VDC wondered throughout yesterday just what was going on in Redmond. The stakes have certainly been raised in the mobile operating system market based on Nokia’s announcement to acquire and then create an open source Symbian Foundation entity.

The open source threat from the LiMO Foundation, the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), and their business models has been dangling over the heads of commercial suppliers of mobile software platforms like Symbian and Microsoft. Real success has not been measured by any volume of phone shipments to date - but they’re coming.

Membership in these foundations (including the expected Symbian Foundation) and alliances have significant overlap as software suppliers, handset manufacturers, carriers, and others hedge their bets against who will become the dominant environment, if there ever becomes one. Now comes Nokia’s - not a member of either LiMO or OHA – announcement of open source, community collaboration, innovation, the creation of an ecosystem of strategic partners, and the call to developers worldwide to come onboard.

The timing is right for Nokia’s move before LiMO and the OHA make an impact and gain momentum in the market. Nokia’s return on investment of some $400 million can quickly be justified in most likely less than two years by not having to pay royalties per unit shipped to Symbian Ltd. The business model for the Symbian Foundation is reflective of LiMO and OHA – royalty free! According to Nokia, Symbian employees will become Nokia employees – but some 1,600 employees?

Nokia’s planned acquisition of Symbian stands to further amplify the pressure on commercial mobile software vendors to compete on price and provide an ecosystem of value-added technology above and beyond mobile operating systems and tools.

How will Microsoft respond? This is not clear, but they most likely have strategies in place to deal with LiMO and the OHA. And now comes the soon expected Symbian Foundation. Microsoft has a number of options – none from VDC’s perspective, which would collectively be called open source, including:

  • Releasing the source code for the Windows Mobile kernel (similar to Windows CE) for OEMs and developers to inspect, create derivative works should they choose, and feed back changes, improvements, and innovation to Microsoft for inclusion in future releases.
  • Continue to enlist the mind share from strategic partnerships and alliances throughout the ecosystem of mobile players and developers.
  • Rather than simply respond by reducing royalty costs – which may ultimately be an option for Microsoft – look to:

  • Create a value proposition to carriers around the use of Windows Mobile that data services can drive the ARPU to where the $10 to $14 royalty fee for a Windows Mobile device becomes minimized.
  • Continue to emphasize with handset manufacturers the value proposition around reducing development costs and time-to-market through the use of the Windows Mobile platform.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nokia to Acquire Symbian Ltd.

What Happened?

On June 24th, Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK) announced its intent to acquire the remaining shares of Symbian Limited, a company of which they currently own a 47.9% stake, for an estimated $410 million.

In conjunction with the planned acquisition, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and NTT DOCOMO, among others, will be launching the Symbian Foundation, an open and non-profit organization that will develop a royalty-free, Symbian OS-based software development platform. Pending the acquisition’s regulatory approval, the Symbian Foundation’s launch is expected in the first half of 2009 with a complete, integrated open source platform anticipated to be available in the first half of 2010.

VDC’s View

Nokia’s planned acquisition of Symbian stands to further amplify the pressure on commercial mobile software vendors to compete on price and provide an ecosystem of value-added technology above and beyond the traditional domains of mobile operating systems and tools.

Stay tuned as VDC looks to comment further on this news.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cadence makes offer to acquire Mentor Graphics

Cadence has announced that they've offered $1.6 billion in cash to acquire EDA competitor Mentor Graphics. No word from Mentor yet as to whether they'd accept.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Head for High Ground: Market Pressures Squeezing Value Up the Linux Software Stack

A number of market forces are limiting the ability of Linux software suppliers to extract revenue growth from the freely available open source software markets.

Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that embedded systems manufacturers and their suppliers are driving the development of open source and industry-specific standards around Linux as a means to increase availability of more robust underlying solution platforms and development environments. These new standards hold the opportunity for OEMs to reduce their development costs and time-to-market while at the same time keeping pace with the advancing and unique requirements of their customers in their core markets.

These industry- and market-specific initiatives have served to create more robust open source platforms that are cannibalizing some of the differentiation found in commercial releases. Now those companies, as well as virtually all others, must find new means of adding value, differentiating and driving revenue.

“The recent efforts to standardize around more robust, market-specific, feature-rich Linux platforms have the potential to accelerate adoption of Linux for a wide range of applications within the markets where these efforts are underway. Success in those markets has the potential to accelerate Linux adoption across the broader embedded device market,” says Chris Rommel, Research Associate with VDC’s Embedded Software Practice. “However, market pressures are coming from a number of directions that will require commercial suppliers of Linux solutions to manage an increasingly complex set of peers, partners and competitors. Suppliers of commercial Linux solutions will need to focus higher up the software stack in providing an ecosystem of value-added technology, and in so doing, as their OEM customers encroach on their traditional domain, commercial Linux suppliers must be wary of competing with some in the higher level domains.”

VDC explores these and other critical issues within the market for embedded Linux software solutions in the recently released report, Linux, Volume 1 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Embedded Systems Bulletin – April 2008

VDC attended last week’s 2008 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose on April 15 and 16. This bulletin presents a summary of the event.

Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) – San Jose 2008

The 2008 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose marked the event’s 20th anniversary for the conference! As always, we were interested in show attendance and how exhibitors felt about floor traffic and how it met their expectation for quality leads. At best we observed an uneven flow of traffic on the show floor where some booths were crowded and others less so. What’s more important than VDC’s observations are the comments we received from a number of exhibitor meetings at the show. As you might expect, these comments ranged from satisfied to – in some cases – disappointed. VDC also recognized that some exhibitors had scaled down the size of their booths – maybe a sign of uncertain economic times – or maybe a sign of changing attitudes in the types of conferences/shows they attend and invest in – horizontally focused like ESC or vertical/industry focused.


Best of Show

Express Logic‘s BenchX – Express Logic has been a supplier of commercial real-time operating systems and middleware for over eleven years. Prior to this year, the company did not offer its own integrated development environment, instead relying largely on strategic alliances with other vendors to provide these tools. Express Logic’s release of the BenchX IDE marks a big step in the company’s history and rounds out their product offering by prudently leveraging open source technology. With pricing per seat expected to be in the sub-$1,000 range, the offering provides developers a less expensive solution that is adequate for the requirements of many embedded projects. The company’s ability to offer an OS-agnostic, Eclipse-based IDE, in less than 10 months effort, is a testament to the growing maturity and acceptance of open source software. For more information, please visit: http://www.rtos.com/.

Software Solution Vendors Continue to Leverage Open Source Software

Express Logic’s announcement was a reflection of a larger theme at the show where companies continue to make announcements around leveraging open source technology. Throughout the embedded market, VDC continues to observe suppliers supplementing their core offerings with Eclipse and GNU-based toolsets and open source run-time software. This trend serves as evidence of the maturity of these solutions and is also a direct long-term challenge to suppliers of commercial-grade offerings.


In addition to releasing GNATbench 2.1.0, AdaCore has enhanced its partnership with Wind River Systems with the announcement that GNAT Pro High-Integrity Edition for DO-178B is now fully integrated with version 2.2 of the VxWorks 653 Platform. In addition, the company also tightened the integration of its GNATbench IDE with Wind River’s Workbench.

Aonix also attended the conference and announced version 5.1 of its PERC Ultra real-time virtual machine, which includes an improved interface with PERC Pico that allows developers to address the lowest levels of hardware without using any C code. The company also announced PERC Ultra’s support of Wind River Linux and its selection by ETAS to be used in a new line of diagnostic tools.

ARM featured several announcements at the show, including enhanced support for Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS, the availability of ARM IP through Synplicity’s ReadyIP Program, and power management enhancements to its Cortex-M3 processor. ARM also announced the availability of a Parasoft Embedded plug-in for version 3.1 of its RealView Development Suite. This partnership comes only weeks after Parasoft Corporation, a test automation tool provider, officially announced the formation of the embedded systems-focused subsidiary.

Fluffy Spider Technologies (FST) participated in the “Disruption Zone” in conjunction with the release version 2.0 of its FancyPants Graphical User Interface platform. The platform’s CanvasServer allows multiple multimedia applications to run and be viewed simultaneously within a unified user interface.

Green Hills Software made several announcements at the conference, including support for AMCC PowerPC 460EX and 460GT processors and the release of its secure Device Management Solution that enables remote and in-field diagnostics, upgrades, debugging, and management of embedded software.

Static analysis tool provider GrammaTech announced at the conference that it has received a DARPA contract from the Department of Defense for the purpose of further developing its technology to examine many of the problems inherent in developing software for multi-processor systems.

ANSI C cross-compiler vendor HI-TECH Software was also in attendance promoting the Omniscient Code Generation (OCG) technology featured in its HI-TECH C PRO solution. The company reports that its OCG technology enables more intelligent code compilation by first examining all of the separate code modules for redundancies and convention inconsistencies.

IAR Systems announced that its development tools and debug probe will be included in future releases of Freescale’s MC1322x IEEE 802.15.4 Platform-in-Package (PiP) IC development kits. The company also announced that has added support for USB-enabled additions of Luminary Micro's ARM Cortex-M3-based Stellaris microcontroller family.

Static analysis tool vendor Klocwork launched the Klocwork Checker Exchange, which will enable developers to collaborate and enhance or develop their own checkers within an open community. The company has also ensured that future releases of its Insight analysis tool will remain compatible to all validated extensions developed within the Exchange community. Klocwork also announced a technology partnership with software production management solution provider Electric Cloud.

Leveraging their experience in the other safety-critical markets, LynuxWorks announced that it will be increasing its efforts to expand its business within the medical industry. The company also announced that its LynxOS-178 RTOS will support Applied Micro Circuits Corporation’s (AMCC) PowerPC 460EX and 460GT embedded processors.

Expanding its tool suite, LDRA launched TBvision, a tool that provides users with graphical representation of industry standards compliance, security vulnerabilities, and fault detection for the source code being tested.

In an effort to remove any confusion around its embedded offerings, Microsoft has reorganized and rebranded its Windows Embedded product family. Going forward, new editions of Windows XP Embedded will be titled Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded CE will be titled Windows Embedded Compact, and restricted licenses of Windows Vista and Windows XP will be offered through the Windows Embedded Enterprise group. In addition, new products specific to certain device categories, including the next generation of Windows Embedded for Point of Service, will be offered through the Windows Embedded Ready division.

In order to extend its penetration into the noncommercial embedded developer community, Microsoft’s SPARK Your Imagination project will be offering versions of Windows Embedded CE and Visual Studio with select hardware to hobbyists and academia at lower price points in addition to now offering Board Support Package certification at no charge. The company also announced that it has taken additional steps in enabling internet connectivity for low-end embedded devices by included the TCP/IP stack within its .NET Micro Framework.

Embedded database vendor McObject has expanded its partnership with operating system vendor eCosCentric and is now including a royalty-free version of eXtremeDB with eCosCentric’s eCosPro software development kits. In addition, McObject recently announced eXtremeDB Kernel Mode that can map databases directly into the kernel space, allowing even faster related application performance.

Targeting systems developers incorporating sophisticated user interfaces, Mentor Graphics announced the release of a Nucleus OS-based platform solution that is optimized for Atmel AT91SAM9 ARM926EJ-S-based microcontrollers.

MIPS Technologies has launched Hot Spot Analyzer, an Eclipse plug-in that analyzes performance bottlenecks for programs on Linux-based systems on MIPS cores. Additionally, the company reports that this new profiling tool for its family of System Navigator EJTAG probes can run without causing any additional time overhead.

MontaVista Software made a number of new announcements at the show, including Linux support packages for the AMCC PowerPC 460EX and 460GT Processors, support for the Xilinx Virtex-5 FXT family of FPGAs, as well as a Mobilinux support package for the new Texas Instruments OMAP3430 Processor.

Open Kernel Labs announced the release of the OKL4 2.0 virtualization platform, which includes enhancements to the platform’s ability to create secure partitions through the company’s Secure HyperCell technology. The company also launched a community development program for OKL4 developers.

In addition to announcing support for Intel’s Atom processor, QNX revealed that its Neutrino RTOS was submitted for Common Criteria certification to the Evaluation Assurance Level 4+ (EAL4+). This evaluation for certification extends beyond the company’s basic kernel to also include its multi-core partitioning solutions.

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) was also in attendance and announced increased support for data distribution over unreliable networks through the release of RTI Data Distribution Service 4.3. The company expects that this release should serve to strengthen its positioning in many military/aerospace and other resource management application markets.

Telelogic announced version 7.2 of their Rhapsody model-driven development environment. Expanding the tool’s functionality, 7.2 features new “code respect” and model-driven testing features for C code. In addition, Telelogic announced an improved Eclipse plug-in for Rhapsody that will allow developers to view models and source code through a single integrated environment.

Virtualization solution vendor TenAsys Corporation announced the release of its new eVM virtual machine manager. Leveraging the hardware-assisted Virtualization Technology found on multi-core Intel processors (Intel VT), TenAsys reports that the eVM platform, scheduled for release in the fall of 2008, will allow Windows to run alongside the other partitioned embedded and real-time operating systems at 100% native performance.

Embedded Linux solution vendor TimeSys also attended the conference, announcing a free board support package for Atmel’s ARM9-based AT91CAP9 microcontroller as well as LinuxLink support for Xilinx’s Virtex-5 FXT FPGAs.

After announcing the release of the Eclipse-based VLX Developer v2.0 and the support for Windows environments for the VLX for Network Infrastructure product earlier in the month, VirtualLogix also unveiled its support for the Power Architecture within VLX for Network Infrastructure. (Post show news – On April 21 Motorola announced an equity investment in VirtualLogix.)

Responding to the expectation that an increasing number of embedded projects will be based on multi-core processor architecture, Virtutech recently announced that the Simics Accelerator included in Simics 4.0 speeds virtual system prototyping by allowing the simulation of several machines in parallel, across multiple host processor cores.

Wind River Systems has partnered with Sun Microsystems to deliver Workbench and Carrier Grade Linux for Sun’s UltraSPARC T2 chip multithreading processor. Wind River also announced that the nEUROn European Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) will be standardized on the company’s VxWorks 653 operating system.

The “Disruption Zone” was again a featured part of the show. Software and hardware companies showcased included: Element CXI, Fluffy Spider Technologies, NICTA Research, Open Kernel Labs, Samplify Systems, Sundance DSP, Taray, and TenAsys.

Other embedded systems software vendors in attendance at ESC included: Altium Limited, American Arium, Ashling Microsystems, BSQUARE, Carbon Design Systems, CriticalBlue, Datalight, eCosCentric, Encirq, eSOL, Freescale Semiconductor, General Software, Hitachi America, Hitex, Macraigor Systems, Micrium, National Instruments, Perforce Software, PHYTEC, Quadros Systems, RadiSys, Segger Microcontroller, Sparx Systems, Sun Microsystems, Synplicity, Target Compiler Technologies, The MathWorks, Trolltech, and many others.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It’s not just about Linux: Open Source Continues to Gain Momentum in Embedded Market

Natick, Massachusetts – April 21, 2008 – Preliminary results from VDC’s 2008 Embedded Systems Engineering Survey suggest that 23% of embedded systems engineering teams are using an open source operating system on their current development project. A growing portion of embedded engineers also expect to use an open source operating system going forward.

Linux (GNU/Linux) remains the leading choice among embedded operating system types. With more than 18% of respondents reporting its use on their current project, Linux's share is greater than any individual open source or commercial operating system type. However, other open source operating system choices are also popular among embedded engineering teams, including eCos, BSD, FreeRTOS, TinyOS, and others.

VDC continues to see higher rates of adoption of GNU and Eclipse-based tools and other open source software as well as systems manufacturers and development teams are drawn to the control, flexibility, and cost advantages that open source software can provide. In an effort to more broadly support their customers, greater numbers of solution providers are incorporating open source technology into their offerings and VDC expects over all use of open source software to continue to increase within the embedded systems engineering space. This trend will continue to present a key challenge to commercial software vendors’ employing more traditional business models, and their success over the long term will likely depend on their ability to adapt to the changing competitive landscape.

These findings are part of a larger survey of embedded system project and engineering demographics and trends. VDC's 2008 global embedded systems survey is currently available to embedded systems engineers interested in partcipating and all survey participants will gain access to a summary of VDC's 2007 prior year results and receive a summary of the 2008 survey data once it is complete.

The survey can be accessed at:

VDC also specifically explores these and other critical issues for embedded Linux software solutions within the recently released report TRACK 1: OPERATING SYSTEMS USED IN EMBEDDED SYSTEMS, VOLUME 1: LINUX of VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Read VDC's New Research Brief on Embedded Operating System Virtualization at eg3.com

VDC and eg3.com recently collaborated on a research brief focused on operating system virtualization in the embedded systems industry.

You can register with eg3.com to get a free copy of this new research.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

IBM/Telelogic Acquisition Update: Part 4

On April 3, Anders Lidbeck, President and CEO of Telelogic AB, announced that he will resign from his position as soon as Telelogic’s Board of Directors finds a replacement. Going forward, Mr. Lidbeck will continue to collaborate with IBM as it works to integrate Telelogic into IBM’s Rational Software group.

Friday, March 28, 2008

IBM/Telelogic Acquisition Update: Part 3

What Happened?

On March 27th, IBM announced through Watchtower AB, its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, that 96.9% of Telelogic shareholders, corresponding to both issued and outstanding shares, have accepted the public cash offering. Watchtower AB also announced that it has extended the acceptance period until 17.00 CET on April 3, 2008 for those shareholders who have not yet accepted the offer.

VDC’s View

It is reasonable to expect that a final announcement on the acquisition will take place within the next week or so.

Stay tuned as VDC looks to comment on any additional news.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Synopsys to Acquire Synplicity

On Thursday of last week Synplicity announced that it had signed an agreement to be acquired by Synopsys for $227 million.

Kevin Morris wrote an interesting article about the merger, and its impact on engineers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Virtutech Announces Standards Inititive for Virtualized Software Development

Just a week after Imperas's announcement regarding its new OVP Iniative (see our previous post), leading virtual software prototyping/simulation vendor Virtutech announced its own initiative to "accelerate the creation of standards for the VSD [Virtual Software Development] industry."

The company citied its involvement with Power.org and new relationships in established standards bodies including Eclipse, OSCI, the Spirit Consortium, and GreenSocs. Virtutech hopes to accomplish four goals in pursuing the iniative, including the "establishment of virtual platforms and simulation as the standard software development process for electronic systems, definition of APIs (application programming interfaces) and ABIs (application binary interfaces) to support interoperability of models from multiple vendors, creation of libraries and methodologies to support reuse across system development tasks, [and] adoption and extension of existing standards and best practices."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Enea Announces 3.0 Version of Element Middleware

What Happened?

This week Enea announced a major release of its Element middleware product for carrier grade communications systems. The 3.0 version of Element includes a number of advancements including full support for the SA Forum’s Availability Management Framework (AMF) which is a mature piece of the Application Interface Specification (AIS).

Element 3.0 also includes an in service upgrade feature that allows service providers to update software on running network elements with no hit to the service availability of the system. This type of functionality has typically been implemented in house at great cost – Enea is offering this high level of functionality within the 3.0 release.

Also in this release, Enea is integrating with its own dSPEED Platform which is a management, control and debug layer for DSP farms. Enea now offers Element services on the DSPs through an agent controlled by a host on a control processor. This approach offers control and data plane support with the same programming model.

VDC’s View

Commercial high availability middleware has existed for some time; however market interest is increasing now that ATCA has matured and hardware building blocks are available.

Telecommunication Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs) are facing a number of challenges including disruptive technologies, increased global competition, and demanding customers. To meet these challenges TEMs are looking to new solutions that rely on commercial hardware and software building blocks including ATCA, Linux, HA middleware and protocols. Integrated through standard interfaces – these components offer an opportunity for reducing development time, lowering costs, narrowing risk, and fueling innovative applications through established platforms.

The real value to the TEMs is in integrated, application ready platforms – ATCA provides the hardware piece, but you can’t get there without the software.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Imperas Forms the OVP (Open Virtual Platform) Initiative

What Happened?

This week Imperas announced the release of its Open Virtual Platforms to “establish a common, open standard solution for developers to quickly and inexpensively simulate embedded software on system-on-chip (SoC) designs.”

Through the OVP Initiative, Imperas will provide what it claims to represent $4 million worth of its own R&D effort, including:

  • OVPmodels - Open source model libraries of processors, components, peripherals, and templates which others are free to use, edit/update, and copy
  • OVP APIs - APIs for developing models and verification infrastructure provided with no attached licensing costs
  • OVPsim – A free reference simulator delivered as an executable solution (with limits on the source code availability and licensing terms)

Imperas has solicited the participation of the industry and has already gathered an impressive group of market leaders to join the initiative including IP suppliers such as MIPS, Tensilica, Denali, and notable ESL/EDA players like EVE, Forte, Carbon Design Systems, Calypto, CriticalBlue, and others. The company is still working out the details, but currently plans to manage the initiative and host the OVP community forum itself going forward.

Imperas believes that by opening up its virtual platform technology and simulation offering to the market at large, it may be possible to drive industry-standard practices around virtual platform development and help guide the market towards improved methods of software development/system simulation on complex hardware architectures. The company anticipates that by moving the market forward in this area, it can then build its business around software verification technologies, multi-core development, and other solutions complimentary to system simulation and virtual platforms. Expect more announcements from Imperas around their products at next month’s Multicore Expo.

VDC’s View

Imperas has certainly been coy about its overall product direction prior to this point, providing only small clues about its products and where it might play in terms of the overall ESL and multi-core software development space. This announcement provides a clearer sense of how the company will approach the market going forward.

There is no question that if the industry is able to agree on a set of common set of standards for building virtual platforms (what VDC has typically referred to as the virtual system prototyping/simulation market), market participants would be in a better position to collaborate with one other, leverage existing designs, and raise the overall level of productivity in creating virtual prototypes (something that is clearly needed for virtual platform methodologies to be successful in the long run). This is something that established virtual platform vendors such as Virtutech, VaST, Synopsys, CoWare, and ARM have been driving towards for some time now (though their vision of how this is to evolve is certainly different from Imperas’s particular approach in this case).

An open source model is an interesting concept here, and the early list of participants is encouraging, especially at the semiconductor IP level. Open source software has certainly changed the landscape in numerous software markets to date, and in VDC’s opinion a move toward this type of a model has the potential to alter the dynamics of the current market. The extent to which Imperas creates an environment that fits the real needs of the broader community and shares in the development and ownership of the technology is likely a key factor to its long term appeal and success. A critical next step will be to bring more parties to the table, including big EDA tools vendors, other semi IP suppliers, and the semiconductor suppliers themselves. VDC has noted a continued investment by IC suppliers in investing in product enablement through virtual platform technologies.

Imperas’s view that an established virtual platform market is the bridge to better multi-core software development and verification is likely in line with the views of many other market participants. In fact, if the company is able to propel greater industry standardization around virtual platform design and simulation, Imperas should expect increasing competition from bigger EDA companies at the software verification level.

While it is far too early to tell what impact this will have on the market, it will be certainly be interesting to gauge the reaction of other virtual platform tools providers and the rest of the market.

Richard Goering also wrote an interesting piece on this announcement earlier this week.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

IBM/Telelogic Acquisition Update: Part 2

What Happened?

Ending the in-depth investigation that began on October 3, 2007, the European Union’s Competition Commission announced regulatory approval for the proposed IBM/Telelogic deal on March 5. According to the EU’s Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, "IBM's and Telelogic's modeling and requirements management products are not close substitutes, as they generally address different types of customers and different needs."

Although the deal has finally received regulatory approval, the formal merger will not conclude until at least well into the second quarter of this year. According to IBM, “Provided that Watchtower announces that the conditions of the Offer have been satisfied or waived on March 27, 2008, settlement is expected to commence approximately one week thereafter.” As a result, not only will this acquisition’s ultimate impact on the market remain unknown for some time, but IBM will delay any potential synergies or other resulting competitive advantages planned for 2007.

VDC’s View

Based on VDC’s research, the proposed merger will turn IBM/Rational’s and Telelogic/I-Logix’s market leadership in the space into a singular presence with a share of over 80% of the worldwide revenues from embedded software modeling tools. It should also be noted that these companies’ combined share of the market has remained relatively constant over the past few years, except that it was previously distributed among three vendors prior to Telelogic’s acquisition of I-Logix in March 2006.

Beyond the embedded software modeling tools space, VDC also expects that a similar market share advantages exist within the requirements management tool market, especially in regards to key industries such as military/aerospace and automotive. Although VDC believes that the success of the Rhapsody product line has fueled much of Telelogic’s recent growth, Telelogic’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solutions, including the DOORS requirements management tool, remain the leading source of the company’s business and were most likely one of this acquisition’s primary catalysts.

While this acquisition may leave the market without the parity that was present a few years ago, the uncertainty surrounding the future direction and embedded focus of the combined company and its tools may cause current and potential clients as well as competitors to revaluate product decisions and strategies, thus generating ample new opportunities within the market. In addition, the growing functionality and acceptance of low cost (e.g. Sparx Systems) modeling tools should continue to present adequate obstacles to any overly monopolistic behavior. As a result, this acquisition’s ultimate impact on the market will not be known for some time and raises some key questions:

  • Will the sum of the parts prove to be greater than the whole?
  • Will there be another “Rational Effect”?
  • What long-term impact will this have on IBM's and Telelogic's customers and strategic partners?
  • What other technologies might IBM look to acquire next to complement their growing embedded solution tool chain?
  • Will any of IBM’s other competitors in the ALM or PLM tools market look to acquire comparable software modeling technologies?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

IBM/Telelogic Acquisition Update: Part 1

On March 5th, the European Union’s Competition Commission announced regulatory approval for the proposed IBM/Telelogic deal.

Stay tuned as VDC looks to comment further on this news.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Static Analysis Demand to Drive the Market for Test Automation Tools

Software development teams continue to look toward automated testing technology as a means to improve code quality and reliability while also reducing time to market and backend debugging. Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that the demand for static analysis tools will drive growth within the market for test automation tools used in the development of embedded software.

Increasing device and project complexity, the geographic distribution of development teams, and the growing costs to OEMs from product recalls will continue to justify investment in automated testing technologies. Although dynamic test tools have traditionally generated the majority of revenue associated with the embedded test automation tool market, VDC expects revenue from static analysis tools to grow at more than three times the rate of dynamic test tool revenue. While the market for dynamic testing tools is still predicted to grow through 2009, VDC believes that much of this growth in dynamic test revenue will result from sales of solutions offer both static and dynamic functionality.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nokia to acquire Trolltech

On January 28th, Nokia announced its intent to acquire application framework solution provider Trolltech.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Industry-Specific Requirements to Further Stimulate Adoption of Dynamic System Design Tools

Recently published research by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) indicates that embedded software design methodologies will continue to shift toward model-based approaches in order to address the growing complexity associated with embedded systems development. VDC expects that evolving industry-specific requirements will further augment the adoption of design automation technologies, such as dynamic system design tools. VDC defines the dynamic system design tools market to include proprietary language-based software and system modeling tools typically intended to automate the process of designing and simulating dynamic systems and control applications that often interact with complex physical phenomena.

Beyond the desire to generate reliable, compile-ready code from higher levels of abstraction across industries, the need for such solutions specifically tailored for requirements within safety-critical markets will continue to drive the adoption of model-based design methodologies. Furthermore, as the majority of revenue within the dynamic system design tool market is generated from the heavily regulated aerospace and automotive industries, VDC expects that tools offering efficient documentation and code generation that comply with the evolving industry standards will realize a competitive advantage going forward.

“Much of this industry’s growth will be fueled by the rate at which industry standards bodies, such as automotive’s AUTOSAR, alter or append their requirements,” says Chris Rommel, Research Associate of VDC's Embedded Software Practice. “In addition, the evolution and emergence of standards within additional high-growth vertical markets, such as in the medical, telecom/datacom, and mobile phone industries, should provide added incentives for the adoption of dynamic system design tools in those industries where increasing project complexity alone is warranting further use of model-base design solutions.”

Within the Volume 6: Embedded Dynamic System Design Tools report, VDC explores these and other critical issues and offers several strategies for commercial dynamic system design tools suppliers to effectively compete in the embedded market.