Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Website and Blog

VDC has a new website and a new address for the On Target Embedded Systems blog. We’ve transferred the feed to the new blog so if you subscribe to our feed, no need to take any action.

If you’ve got us bookmarked at our old address, please make sure to update your bookmarks and visit us at our new blog address: http://blog.vdcresearch.com/embedded_sw/

Monday, September 28, 2009

Embedded Systems Bulletin – September 2009

Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) – Boston 2009

VDC attended the 2009 Embedded Systems Conference in Boston on September 22nd and 23rd and held face-to-face meetings at the conference with over 20 exhibitors.

Conference organizers reported that registration and attendance at the show are up year over year. The Boston conference has changed in so many ways over the last several years as some exhibitors have opted to invest in and attend the San Jose conference in lieu of Boston, in addition to focusing on industry specific events. This, in combination with the current economic climate, has resulted in shrinking floor space and scaling back of the size of exhibitor booths at the Boston conference.

While expectations of many of these exhibitors were mixed going into the show, many indicated that they were pleased with floor traffic and had generated a number of quality leads. And yes, most exhibitors we spoke with had some level of anxiety going into the show, however, most were pleased with the end result on show traffic and with the quality of leads.
Security, safety, reliability, multi-core, virtualization, and test engineering continue to be strong themes among the exhibitors.


Best of Show

VDC awarded our “Embeddie” best of show live on the conference floor to Enea for their OSE Multicore Edition announcement. The solution, available now, offers development organizations the simplicity of the Symmetrical Multiprocessing (SMP) model with the performance of Asymmetric Multiprocessing (AMP), scalability across cores, and a migration path for legacy applications. The company also announced a new focused strategy with two business units, Software and Consulting. The Software business unit, which includes Enea's global software business and related services, will focus on the company's position in the real-time operating system (RTOS) market. The Consulting business unit, which consists of the professional services business in Sweden, Romania and the United States, focus on local expertise combined with off-shoring services.

Honorable Mention

Microsoft released a series of announcements at the show around Windows 7 technologies and connectivity, including:

  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3, the next-generation platform of the componentized, real-time Windows Embedded CE operating system which includes the Silverlight for Windows Embedded user interface (UI) framework. This assists original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in delivering devices with immersive user experiences, animated UIs and seamless connections to Windows 7-based PCs, servers and online services.
  • Initial rollout of Windows 7 technologies for Windows Embedded Enterprise and Windows Embedded Server for specialized devices with connectivity to Windows-based PCs, servers and online services. These releases offer technology refresh and alignment with Windows 7 technologies to the embedded community in next-generation devices and to the established Windows ecosystem.”

Best Demos

ARM, together with NXP, announced and demonstrated mbed, an online platform for rapid prototyping microcontroller-based systems. The mbed platform is intended to enable the creation of low risk, proof-of-concept designs so that engineers can explore the functionality and potential cost saving opportunities presented through the use of an advanced microcontroller in the system. The first mbed microcontroller hardware package is based on a NXP Cortex-M3 processor-based MCU and includes C/C++ libraries to provide high-level interfaces to microcontroller peripherals

Cypress Semiconductor briefed and demonstrated their PSoC Creator Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the new PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 programmable system-on-chip families. The unique new design software enables engineers to design the way they think, using schematic-based design capture along with certified, pre-packaged peripherals to keep system creation independent of the target PSoC device.


AdaCore, a leading supplier of Ada development tools and support services, announced the release of the GNAT Pro Ada development environment for the LynuxWorks LynxOS 5.0 operating system. This release allows GNAT Pro users to develop applications for both LynxOS 4.x and 5.0, and also provides a smooth migration path from older versions of the operating system to LynxOS 5.0. GNAT Pro for LynxOS 5.0 is available for both Linux and Windows host platforms, and for both PowerPC and x86 embedded targets.

Certicom briefed VDC on their new Asset Management System, a comprehensive infrastructure solution designed to help semiconductor companies manage, secure and control manufacturing processes in a global, outsourced manufacturing environment. Some of these processes include timely, secure and reliable capture and reporting of multi-point yield data, virtual SKUing, secure key injection and anti-counterfeit protection.

Real-time Operating System vendor ExpressLogic announced the integration of Real-Time Logic’s popular Barracuda Embedded Web Server with Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS and NetX TCP/IP Stack. Optimized for the embedded market, the joint technologies form a small footprint solution ideal for the remote connected devices needed in medical, industrial, military and consumer applications.

Static analysis tool vendor GrammaTech announced that the next version of CodeSonar will support the secure coding rules developed by US-CERT. The coding standard provides secure coding rules and recommendations, which reduce insecure coding practices that can create vulnerabilities. CodeSonar's automated analysis will review code and quickly identify problematic sections of code that violate US-CERT secure coding guidelines. CodeSonar's automated enforcement will reduce the need for manual review, making it easier for organizations to adopt the coding standard.

Green Hills Software made several announcements at the conference including:

  • A new Embedded Virtualization Business Unit, representing a significant investment and commitment to virtualization in the embedded and special-purpose computing market. The business unit’s INTEGRITY Secure Virtualization (ISV), supports hosting of Windows, Linux, VxWorks and other general purpose operating systems in secure virtual containers on ARM, Intel, Power and other processor architectures.
  • Green Hills Probe support for Intel architecture to include the Intel Atom, Intel Core 2 Duo, and Intel Core i7.
  • A new Networking Solutions Center based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Solutions Center is staffed by a team of engineering veterans dedicated to advancing network protocol technology, industry protocol collaboration, and network security.

IBM Rational was also in attendance, highlighting some of the advanced features in Rational Quality Manager and the Systems Engineering Toolkit from this year’s release of Rhapsody 7.5. In addition, IBM also highlighted at the show how developers can use Rational Rhapsody to help create applications for the Open Handset Alliance’s Android mobile platform.

Lantronix briefed VDC on their XPort and WiPort embedded networking servers. The implementation of Lantronix wired and wireless connectivity solutions eliminate design complexity by providing self-contained embedded networking systems.

LDRA announced a new security-critical development and certification solution to ensure that the LDRA tool suite can meet today’s growing demand for security-critical software. LDRA has extended its implementation of the CERT C secure coding standard to also meet Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) and new Homeland Security criteria for security-critical software development. Recognizing that static analysis does not expose all software security vulnerabilities, LDRA has integrated this solution into its entire tool suite from analysis through test and requirements traceability.

LynuxWorks announced the release of LynxSecure 3.1, the newest version of its next generation separation kernel and embedded hypervisor. This update to LynxSecure takes advantage of new technologies, including guest operating support for the latest Microsoft Windows and the latest Intel Core2 Duo systems.

Programming Research (PRQA) announced the availability of a DO-178B Qualification Pack for QA·C++, its high fidelity language analysis tool. The QA·C++ Qualification Pack includes Tool Operational Requirements (TOR), Tool Qualification Data (TQD), and Tool Qualification Plan (TQP) documents, along with a user-activated Certification Report to provide users with automated project-based artifact documentation.

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) announced the release of RTI Routing Service, which dramatically eases the scaling and integration of real-time systems across Wide Area Networks (WANs) and Systems of Systems. RTI Routing Service enables seamless communication between applications deployed in different locations or even applications supporting different external interfaces—without any changes to existing software.

Other leading embedded systems vendors in attendance at ESC/Boston included AMD, aicas, Arium, Altera, Birdstep Technology, Black Duck Software, Bluespec, BSQUARE, Coverity, Datalight, eCosCentric, Electric Cloud, IAR Systems Software, Klocwork, Lauterbach, The MathWorks, McObject, Nokia, Perforce Software, RadiSys, Segger Microcontroller, Synopsys, Texas Instruments, Vast Systems, and many others.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The 2009 Embedded Systems Conference Boston is Fast Approaching

When: September 21 – 24, 2009

Where: Hynes Convention Center, Boston

Click here for more information and registration for the event!

VDC Research will once again be attending the conference and meeting with exhibitors at the show. VDC will be presenting their annual “Embeddie” awards for best in show on the show floor at ESC Boston 2009 and would like all exhibitors who are announcing or demonstrating significant new software or hardware products to have the chance to submit themselves for consideration. This year VDC will be announcing a best of show for both software and hardware. To be considered you MUST do one of two things:

Make an appointment (slots filling up fast!) by September 18 to meet at the show with either:

  • Stephen Balacco, Director, Embedded Software & Tools Practice, VDC Research Group by contacting Stephen at: sbalacco@vdcresearch.com or 508.653.9000 x 124 for software related announcements or;

  • Eric Heikkila, Director, Embedded Hardware and Systems Practice, VDC Research Group by contacting Eric directly at erich@vdcresearch.com or 310.393.9086 for hardware related announcements.


Submit your company information here!

VDC looks forward to meeting with you at the conference and stay tuned for more information on the Embeddie award ceremony.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

VDC Embedded Linux Webinar

Linux in the Embedded Systems Market:
Project Requirements, Preferences, Trends & More

Although originally developed for general-purpose use on desktops and servers, the use of Linux within embedded devices continues to increase. The licensing cost advantages associated with Linux, the flexibility provided through access to source code, and general familiarity with its use provide a compelling value proposition to embedded system manufacturers.

VDC conducts an annual embedded engineering survey that covers embedded software, hardware, tools, and development practices. Focused on the embedded developer community, the survey offers insights into current development projects – requirements, preferences and trends.

Based on real data, this eg3.com Tech Choice Webinar explores:

  • What are the factors for designing in Linux?

  • What types of industries and applications is Linux targeted for?

  • What’s the migration path in the use of Linux?

  • Which Linux distributions are being used?

Register for this FREE webinar if:

  • You or your company, or teams are using Linux or contemplating the use of Linux in an embedded development project or just curious about Linux.

  • Your company is a software/hardware solution provider participating in the embedded market and interested in understanding how Linux is being used to engineer embedded devices/systems.

Click here to register for this ARCHIVED event hosted by eg3.com.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Intel Strengthens Multi-core Software Tool Portfolio with RapidMind Acquisition

What Happened?

On August 19th, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) announced that it had purchased multi-core software development tool vendor RapidMind. This acquisition is Intel’s third in as many months targeted to offer its customers additional options to meet the software development challenges presented by multi-core processors.

Primarily targeted at enterprise and high performance computing, RapidMind’s development and runtime platform analyzes and optimizes C++ code to run on multi-core processors. Last month, Intel acquired Cilk Arts, a company who offers a compiler-based parallel programming solution also targeted at C ++. While the aforementioned companies were both small private companies with little potential for a near term impact on Intel’s bottom line, the company’s acquisition of embedded system solution provider Wind River Systems (Delisted – NASDAQ: WIND) in June provides Intel with immediate relevance within embedded software multi-core solution discussion.

VDC’s View

For years, mark pundits (ourselves included) have mused about the software gap limiting the adoption and effective utilization of multi-core processors. Semiconductor product roadmaps are quickly forcing development teams to reevaluate their current or future processor migration paths in order to protect the investments represented by their software code bases.

Preliminary results from our 2009 Embedded System Engineering Survey show that 18% of respondents cite either a multi-core or multi-core and multiprocessor design on their current project, compared to approximately 7% of last year’s respondents. Although engineers surveyed in past years had anticipated higher rates of adoption – it appears as if additional knowledge of and experiences with the various technical and commercial challenges associated with migration to multi-core processors have allowed OEMs to begin broader implementation.

In 2008, VDC’s study of the embedded software multi-core component and tools market revealed Wind River in the top spot as a percent of 2007 commercial market revenues. Since that time, Wind River has enhanced its multi-core solution portfolio with the extension of SMP and AMP capabilities for its run-time solutions in combination with the release of its hypervisor this spring.

While there is a possibility that Wind’s acquisition by Intel may limit the former’s access to and development around non-IA architectures in the long term, it is clear that Intel is committed to providing its customers – both embedded and enterprise – with the software solutions necessary to successfully develop and deploy next generation multi-core systems.

In case you missed it, check out our other commentary on Intel’s acquisition of Wind River Systems:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tough Times, Tough Choices: Maximizing Device Software ROI with Open Source

On Wednesday August 26th, we will be participating in two live discussion panels that will explore how intelligent device manufacturers can leverage Linux and other Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the current challenging economic environment.

This live event will examine how building with and on open source technologies can impact product lifecyles, from prototyping through development and deployment in terms of capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenses (OpEx). In particular, the on-line roundtable will consider CapEx-OpEx trade-offs in platform acquisition, development tools, testing and bill of materials for FOSS-based devices, and how to maximize return from increasingly limited resources and budgets.

Please join moderator Bill Weinberg from LinuxPundit.com and panelists Michael O'Donnell of Freescale, Wind River's Sven Dummer and Alex deVries, and VDC's own Steve Balacco for a lively on-line discussion - and don't hesitate to share your own recession challenges and questions with the webinar team, live, on August 26th.

Wednesday, August 26th
06:00 AM PDT / 09:00 EDT / 15:00 CET or
4:00 PM PDT/ 7:00 PM EDT / 8:00 AM Tokyo UTC- (Thursday)

Click here to register for this ARCHIVED event hosted by Open Systems Media.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The WINDs of Change Reveal Embedded Linux Constants

A recently published report by VDC Research indicates that Wind River Systems is now the leading commercial supplier of solutions for the embedded Linux market, ranked as a percentage of total market revenue.

After Wind River’s ascension to the top spot, we thought it would be fitting to take a look back at the competitive landscape when Wind first entered the market. Although the landscape has changed rather significantly over just a five year period, Wind River’s chief competitor within the space, MontaVista Software, has maintained a position of leadership within this dynamic market.

In fact – until this most recent report – MontaVista Software had resided atop the competitive landscape since VDC published its first Linux report covering the 2000 market, which is an especially significant achievement given the number and magnitude of other changes within this market.

“The embedded Linux ecosystem remains highly fragmented due to the large number of public and commercial distributions and tools available to embedded systems manufacturers, said Chris Rommel, Analyst with VDC’s Embedded Software and Tools Practice. “The commercial embedded Linux market, however, has remained a two horse race over the past few years and Wind River finally caught up. It will be interesting to see if it was just a short sprint or if they can hold their lead going forward.”

Will the Wind Shift Again?

While it appears as though Wind River has maintained their momentum and lead through the first half of 2009, this significant shift in the competitive landscape may only be temporary given Intel’s recent acquisition of Wind River Systems. Although Wind River’s products and services portfolio may strengthen Intel’s semiconductor value proposition, VDC estimates that Intel architecture designs currently represent less than 15% of Wind River’s overall revenue. As a result, a significant amount of Wind River’s market share will rest on Intel’s ability and willingness (not to mention that of their competitors) to maintain support for non Intel processing platforms.

This acquisition might just provide MontaVista the second wind it needs, enabling them to alter their go-to-market strategy and regain lost market share.

VDC explores these industry trends and other critical issues affecting this market in the recently released report, Linux in the Embedded Systems Market, Volume 2 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2009 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Welcome, Mentor Graphics. Seriously.

What Happened?

Mentor Graphics announced at the Design Automation Conference a new strategy to target the next generation of mobile and non-mobile Linux devices. This expansion into the embedded Linux market will be supported by their acquisition of Embedded Alley, an embedded Linux product and services firm headquartered in San Jose with development offices in Russia. Oddly enough, no terms of the acquisition were disclosed as part of the announcement.

Similarly to IBM’s entrance into the PC market over twenty-five years ago, the magnitude of recent commitments to mobile Linux by tech industry stalwarts Google, Intel, and now Mentor Graphics help to validate Linux as a consumer-facing embedded operating system.

VDC’s View

Mentor’s market share in the embedded and real-time operating systems market has eroded over recent years, particularly with respect to its business in the mobile phone market and their inability to scale revenue from the no royalty-based Nucleus operating system in hundreds of millions of cell phones.

At the same time, advances in semiconductor technologies and the continued reductions in the cost of memory have allowed many device classes to deploy larger footprint embedded operating systems, such as Linux, than previously possible. Moreover, the Open Handset Alliance and the LiMo Foundation have generated a substantial amount of interest in and momentum for Linux as a mobile phone OS.

This acquisition signifies a renewed focus on the embedded software market as Mentor’s core EDA market stagnates. Much of the upside for Mentor, however, resides beyond mobile in the other application classes, such as telecom/datacom and military/aerospace, where their Nucleus RTOS is also widely deployed. Mentor can now offer their current and potential clients a choice or combination of operating systems to meet their varying project requirements.

Conversely, while a Linux offering will certainly aid Mentor’s embedded software value proposition, they acquired a company focused on professional services. As such, much of the acquisition’s value rests on the talent and retention of Embedded Alley’s team.

Although professional service capabilities continue to gain importance in the commercial embedded Linux market, Mentor has never had much services revenue around its traditional product offerings. As a result, we expect that Mentor’s ability to support and expand their professional services will ultimately dictate the success of entrance into the embedded Linux market.

The timing of this announcement is also rather fortuitous for Mentor given Intel’s recent acquisition of Wind River Systems. Wind River’s acquisition not only validates the growing importance of Linux in embedded systems, but it also presents other market participants with an opportunity to capitalize on any of the ensuing uncertainty or reevaluation in the market around Intel/Wind River’s support for non-Intel architectures..

This announcement is, in fact, just the latest action in a string of moves by other operating system vendors over recent years to offer Linux in addition to a proprietary real-time OS solution (i.e. Enea, LynuxWorks, SYSGO AG, and Wind River Systems, etc.).

In similar fashion to Wind River’s recent gains in the embedded Linux market, Mentor’s new offerings may allow it to recapture lost customers who had previously migrated from Nucleus to Linux as well as attract new device designs where Linux is a requirement. As a result, we expect that the collective smiles at MontaVista Software that appeared after Intel’s announced acquisition of WRS may be more tempered as they come to terms with the entrance of another deep-pocketed competitor offering Linux support.

Although Mentor was late to the party, it may turn out that they were just in time. In either case, welcome, Mentor Graphics. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Down 2009 Expected to Lead to Growth in 2010 Embedded/Real-time Operating System Market

A recently published report by VDC Research indicates that embedded system manufacturers’ requirements and end-consumers’ expectations continue to drive substantial investment in embedded software and development tools.

The embedded and real-time operating system market, in particular, has faired better than many other sectors of the broader embedded market, with 2008 revenue demonstrating 9% growth over 2007. However, even this achievement is qualified with the expectation of the first industry contraction in 2009 since 2002.

“As a whole, the embedded operating system market has been greatly affected by the reduction in unit shipments over the past nine months due to the substantial percentage of market revenues typically derived from production licenses,” says Chris Rommel, Analyst with VDC’s Embedded Software and Tools Practice. “However, the magnitude of the recession’s impact has been tempered within the embedded and real-time segment due to the growing demands for software-driven functionality coupled with mounting device safety and security considerations and new device requirements.”

Although the recession has and is expected to continue to negatively impact the market for embedded and real-time operating systems in 2009, certain vertical markets have been less affected in the short term while others hold the potential to rebound significantly in 2010.

For example, innovation within the medical device industry will drive growth as cart-mounted devices consolidate sensing and computing components into smaller, mobile form factors and device software is placed under greater regulatory scrutiny. By contrast, the retail automation industry market is expected to demonstrate the largest percent decrease from 2008 to 2009 as retail stores combat falling revenues by limiting capital expenditures on new kiosks and POS equipment. However, VDC expects the retail segment to rebound significantly after showing modest growth in 2010 to grow in excess of 20% in 2011 as these companies begin to parlay increased cash flow into investments in enhancing efficiencies and consumer experiences.

VDC expects market participants who – in spite of the current economic climate – remain focused on targeted product development for and marketing to these and other key vertical markets will improve their ability to emerge from this downturn with greater revenue growth and market share.

VDC explores these industry trends and other critical issues affecting this market in the recently released report, Embedded/Real-time and Mobile Application Operating Systems, Volume 1 from Track 1 of VDC’s 2009 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

To view a PDF of the press release, Click Here.


Yesterday, VDC published the 2009 Linux in Embedded Systems report in which a major change in the competitive landscape was announced.
Stay tuned for more highlights from that report.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Intel to Acquire Wind River Systems ~ Update 2

VDC’s Continuing Analysis

As we said last week, “one could well imagine the discussions that are going on both sides of the embedded market”. Most likely this included many, many calls from both Intel and Wind River with their various strategic partners. Some partners may be satisfied, at least in the near term, and others more skeptical on Wind River’s position to continue to enable multiple hardware architectures and the ways in which they plan to securely partition sensitive, confidential company information between the subsidiary and mother Intel going forward.

Business as usual?

We suspect that software partners are less skeptical in the near term over the agreement and in some cases delighted to hear the news. Why? Because it creates an opening that many hope to explore and take advantage of to increase market share. These opportunities scale both VxWorks and Linux development on non-Intel architectures.

Never mind discussions on just both sides of the hardware/software market – embedded manufacturers are also a major part of the conversation. Consider the fact that automotive, military, aerospace, telecom and other type of development projects can take years of development and life-cycle support. In the case of military and aerospace, you can be talking about decades of support.

Can Intel/Wind or WinDtel convince these types of embedded manufacturers that they will continue to support, optimize, and invest in multiple architectures over their product development life? What can these manufacturers expect from their silicon suppliers? Will these silicon suppliers continue to be engaged in the short- and long-term with Wind River? VDC expects that none of these questions have been answered at this time but we also expect that embedded manufacturers are already conducting their due diligence and asking a lot of questions as part of looking at contingency plans for existing and new project designs on the drawing board that design in non-Intel silicon.

From an engineering perspective, it is difficult to design out any one component of a platform -hardware, operating system, development tools, etc. - within existing projects. There’s any number of technical challenges, a comfort factor, in many cases years of experience, and a trusted supplier relationship that need to be weighed as part of any decision to transition. Hard decisions for sure, which could be necessary and costly for embedded manufacturers.

Could history be an indicator of what to expect?

Two examples come to mind. The first is from the 2000/2001 timeframe when Wind River System acquired ISI and questions abounded about support for pSOS and pRISM (development tool environment). For embedded manufacturers faced with the reality of having to move to the VxWorks platform (at some time), the competition seized on the opportunity and looked to take advantage of the situation by offering various migration and evacuation kits from pSOS to other platforms. Could we see similar moves like this from the marketplace in the near term?

The second was reminded to VDC as part of a discussion last week with a hardware market supplier - the acquisition of Metrowerks by Motorola. Metrowerks at the time was a leading supplier of software development tools with their CodeWarrior tool chain which supported multiple non-Moto architectures such as MIPS, Hitachi, etc. The acquisition resulted in Metrowerks becoming a subsidiary of Motorola with a corporate commitment to continue to invest in, support, and enable multiple hardware architectures via the CodeWarrior tool chain.

This acquisition in particular has an eerily similar ring to the Intel/Wind acquisition – subsidiaries, continuing to support multiple hardware architectures, looking for other opportunities to do business with embedded manufacturers. This may have worked in the short term for Motorola but over time the decision was made to pull support of non-Moto architectures and focus on offering a tool chain solely optimized for Motorola/Freescale silicon.

For sure, Intel is serious about the embedded market with a goal to increase sales of embedded processors. Questions will continue and parties will look to posture themselves in ways that protect and/or seize on the opportunity to expand market share.

It may be business as usual in the short-term, but we expect to see some signals coming from the market as to which direction this acquisition will take.

Maybe some signs from silicon and software suppliers with new announcements of expanding strategic partnerships and/or support for new software platforms?

Or perhaps mid- to longer-term with software supplier announcements on new design wins in the key markets on which Wind River Systems has traditionally focused?

Only time will tell.

VDC will continue to follow this announcement and look to comment further so check back to the Blog or register via RSS or email to be notified when Blog updates are posted.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Intel to Acquire Wind River Systems ~ Update 1

VDC’s Analysis

VDC's investigation and analysis of Intel's planned acquisition of Wind River Systems is on going, but the following represents some of our initial thoughts and questions after considering today's news:

One could well imagine the discussions that are going on both sides of the embedded market. On one side, you have ARM, Freescale, MIPS and a host of other silicon partners. On the other side, you have software and tools suppliers such as Microsoft, Green Hills Software, LynuxWorks, QNX Software Systems, MontaVista Software, and a host of other software suppliers.

Today’s announcement indicates that “As an Intel subsidiary, Wind River will continue to develop innovative, commercial grade software platforms that support multiple hardware architectures …” Considering this statement, it’s somewhat easy to understand that questions are being raised and the implications being examined from both sides.

How might this acquisition limit the timely access to technology roadmaps and support for current relationships within the supply-side of the embedded software market? Could suppliers find themselves at a disadvantage somewhere down the road?

Wind River Systems supports a host of silicon architectures from multiple suppliers. It is critical for both the hardware and software segments to align silicon and software well in advance of availability. This requires strategic relationships in which technology roadmaps and engineering support is leveraged by both parties. Is it reasonable to expect that ARM or Freescale or MIPS amongst others would share their technology roadmaps with an Intel subsidiary so that their architectures could be enabled through Wind River’s software solutions?

There are certainly more questions than answers at this time and discussions on both sides of the embedded market will continue as they sort out the ramifications of such an acquisition.

Wind River is hosting their Q1 FY2010 earnings call this afternoon (June 4) at 5 p.m. EDT. This is certain to be topic discussed and questioned further during the course of the call. Details on the call can be found at" http://ir.windriver.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=91814&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1291330&highlight

Stay tuned as VDC looks to comment further.

Intel to Acquire Wind River Systems

What Happened?

In a mammoth, $884 million deal, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) announced its intent to acquire Wind River Systems (NASDAQ: WIND). The aggregate price tag puts approximately a 44% premium over the June 3rd closing price of $8.00 per share for WRS common stock.

After this acquisition, which is expected to close this summer, Wind River would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel and report into its Software and Services Group.

VDC’s View

This acquisition signifies a strategic extension of the partnership that Intel has been strengthening with WRS over recent years, as Intel has been attempting to extend its reach into more resource constrained, deeply embedded devices and as WRS has been positioning itself as a leading provider of software solutions for multi-core architectures.

Beyond the promise of offering enhanced system integration and faster time-to-market to their customers, VDC expects that this acquisition offers Intel the critical core competencies to expand its business within the mobile device segment. The maturation of Wind River's product and service offerings targeted at this device class - especially with respect to Linux - should help Intel better serve a mobile industry that has long been dominated by ARM IP-based silicon.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

VDC Launches its Annual Survey of Embedded Engineers

VDC is conducting its annual survey of embedded engineers, and if you are involved in the engineering of embedded systems, this is your chance to influence key embedded solution suppliers. The research covers embedded software, hardware, tools, and development practices.

VDC will provide all respondents who complete the survey:

* A summary of the 2009 survey findings
* A chance to win a $100 Amazon.com gift certificate
* Instant access to a summary of VDC's 2008 survey findings

To begin the survey, go to:

Thanks for your participation.

Best regards,
VDC Embedded Team

Friday, April 10, 2009

Embedded Systems Bulletin – April 2009

VDC attended the 2009 Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose on March 31st and April 1st. This bulletin presents a summary of the event.

Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) – Silicon Valley 2009

Despite this year’s murky global economic outlook, the 20th Embedded System Conference appeared to be moderately well attended on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a substantial number of exhibitors, fair floor traffic, and a cautiously optimistic murmur emanating from activities on the floor. As result of the weaker economy, few of the vendors we spoke to had expected the conference to offer a large attendance or significant new business opportunities, yet many indicated that they had generated a surprising percentage of quality leads as a result.

Multi-core, virtualization, and security continued to be strong themes among software solution providers. VDC also noted the substantial amount of positioning around test engineering and lifecycle management solutions among the exhibitors.


Best of Show

CriticalBlue announced Prism, a new analysis tool for multi-core programming. Prism allows software developers to analyze legacy serial code bases for concurrency opportunities and also enables them to test for the most efficient parallel configurations, thus limiting some of the risk and time associated with adopting new multi-core hardware architectures and programming methodologies, In times when there is continuing interest and movement to multi-core architectures and available engineering resources are even more critical to successful product development, the value proposition of tools such as Prism appears even more compelling.

Honorable Mention

QNX Software Systems announced that its Neutrino RTOS Secure Kernel v6.4.0 has been certified to the Common Criteria ISO/IEC 15408 Evaluation Assurance Level 4+ (EAL 4+). This marks the first such certification of an RTOS that implements symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and bound multiprocessing (SMP with application processor affinity). The company also announced that it will extend Neutrino’s multi-core solution to support the Intel Xeon processor 5500 (Nehalem) series in an effort to better target next generation networking devices.

Best Demos

Freescale’s booth drew a consistent crowd with its AC Flexis air hockey table that allowed attendees to compete against a robot-arm-controlled competitor built by Nuvation. The system combined a vision system and robotic arm controlled by a combination of Freescale’s 8-bit MC9S08AC128 and 32-bit ColdFire MCF51AC256 products. Though beatable, the system proved to be a remarkably skilled opponent.

Showcasing its NI Compact Vision System, National Instruments exhibited its NI Guitar Hero Challenge. Attendees could face-off against the Cythbot, a robot built by Cynth Systems capable of skillfully playing the popular video game. While the use of Guitar Hero to draw a crowd is by no means unique (VDC saw at least two others offering game play at this show alone), NI’s exhibit proved to be an interesting twist on the theme while elegantly demonstrated the utility of its products.


With 10 product-related announcements in the month on March alone, Atmel Corporation had plenty to talk about at this year’s conference. The company’s most recent announcements included the introduction of a new family of 0.7V tinyAVR microcontrollers, new products targeting the mobile device market with its AT42QT1040 is based on Atmel's patented QTouch charge-transfer sensing method, and the launch of new solutions around the AVR32 product line supporting digital audio streaming and playback. Surprisingly, the company also hinted that more important announcements would be on the way.

ARM also attended the conference and featured a number of new announcements. The company announced the expansion of its System Generator product with the introduction of two new fast models for the Cortex-A9 MPCore multicore processor and for the Cortex-M3 processor. ARM also announced the Keil Microcontroller Prototyping System (MPS), in which ARM Cortex-M class processors and user-defined peripherals can be prototyped and more easily evaluated. Keil MPS allows the silicon manufacturers to implement a Cortex-M system without needing access to the RTL code. Moreover, since the system is fully configured, the integration and development of additional IP and software can begin sooner.

After having announced their initial partnership last year, AdaCore and Praxis launched SPARK Pro, which combines the SPARK language and tool set within AdaCore’s GNAT Programming Studio IDE. AdaCore also announced that GNAT Pro now supports the Atmel VR 8-bit microcontroller and launched a GNAT-on-MINDSTORMS product to support the LEGO robotic building system as part of their GNAT Academic Program.

Real-time Operating System vendor ExpressLogic announced the latest addition to its growing suite of development tools, StackX. This interesting new offering analyzes a program’s executable (.elf) file, enabling the calculation of each thread’s maximum stack memory requirements, therefore reducing the use of unneeded memory, and solving a critical challenge for developers in determining the appropriate stack size. In addition, the company also released version 5 of its TraceX product, which includes deterministic and undeterministic priority inversions, advanced search facilities, and enhanced integrations with their FileX and NetX solutions.

Green Hills Software announced that their Platform for Secure Networking now supports the RADVISION SIP protocol development suite for Voice and Video over IP solutions. In addition, Green Hills has added virtualization to that platform, allowing Linux to run on the same processor in secure isolation from application functions designated to run on the company’s INTEGRITY real-time operating system. The company also announced that Datamax-O’Neil is using INTEGRITY within its microFlash 2te serial and wireless portable thermal printers. Green Hills Software also announced that they achieved record sales and earnings in 2008.

Static analysis tool vendor GrammaTech announced that version 3.4 of their Code Sonar tool - due to be released later this quarter - will incorporate checks compliant with the Power of 10 coding rules for developing safety-critical code created by Gerard Holzmann, director of NASA/JPL's Laboratory for Reliable Software.

The Rational Software team from IBM was also in attendance and highlighted enhancements to its Telelogic Rhapsody software and system modeling tool for developing applications for the Android platform and for the efficient development of applications for multi-core processors.

LDRA announced version 8.0 of their automated test tool suite, which incorporates requirements management, static analysis, dynamic analysis, unit- and system-level test tools. The new release includes speed improvements and enhanced requirements traceability, an advancement that should prove valuable among organizations with highly requirements-driven engineering methodologies.

With the launch of LynxSecure 3.0, LynuxWorks will add full virtualization capabilities to its hypervisor solution. These full virtualization capabilities are initially available for Windows operating systems when implemented in conjunction with Intel VT-x and VT-d hardware virtualization technology. In addition, the company also announced that its secure separation kernel had been selected for incorporation as part of the Navy’s $83 million Open Architecture Computing Environment project.

In addition to their recently announced DO-178B solution, static analysis tool vendor Klocwork highlighted Klocwork Solo. Offering a limited-time subscription pricing of only $99 per user, the company is hoping to enhance adoption of their solutions virally, via individual developers, at a time when higher priced licenses for new tools are likely harder to justify. Available for Java, Solo also includes functionality specifically tailored for code developed for the Android platform.

Embedded database vendor McObject announced a partnership with LynuxWorks in which its eXtremeDB Kernel Mode database has been ported to LynuxWorks’ BlueCat Embedded Linux 5.6 operating system. The companies expect that this partnership will be especially beneficial when targeting the medical device industry, in which many OEMs are moving away from proprietary systems toward Linux and other off-the-shelf solutions.

Mentor Graphics did not feature any specifically announcements at the show and the company’s name was noticeably absent from its exhibit in favor of the name of its flagship operating system - Nucleus. VDC expects that this branding strategy likely signifies the strength of the Nucleus name in embedded and a deliberate focus on the part of Mentor to draw upon the core technologies that helped establish Mentor (and Accelerated Technology Incorporated) within the embedded software marketplace.

Programming Research (PRQA) announced Management Information System (MIS), a new product designed to articulate metric trending and summaries to development managers. The solution provides the ability to create custom metrics as well as the ability to limit unneeded noise by ignoring the diagnostics for sections of legacy code..

Virtualization solution provider Open Kernel Labs was also in attendance and announced that the new Motorola eVoke phone employed their OKL4 software to perform both application and baseband processing on the same processing core. VDC expects that a number of mobile phone manufacturers will be closely tracking the success of the eVoke product, and assess for themselves whether virtualization can help them to offer an enhanced user experience while reducing their hardware bill of material costs in future products.

National Instruments announced a new programming interface for LabVIEW that eases the ability of C/C++ software developers to program NI FPGAs-based hardware. The NI LabVIEW FPGA module abstracts the communication between the FPGA and the general purpose processor so that software developers can avoid using VHDL.

Microsoft featured announcements around its Windows Embedded product line, including the launch of Windows Embedded Server and MSDN Embedded and Windows Embedded Developer Update, a consolidated subscription offering to access the portfolio of Microsoft’s embedded operating systems and tools. The Update service includes access to drivers, BSPs, and other technologies from Microsoft’s partners.

Embedded Linux solution vendor MontaVista Software highlighted several of their recent announcements at the show, including the launch of their embedded Linux developer community, MELD, and their Montabello platform for Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). An extension of their Mobilinux platform, Montabello includes middleware and applications for power management, fast boot, and connectivity management.

Lantronix’s announced the first step in their plan to migrate their secure, embedded networking solutions to Linux as their base platform with the release of their new MatchPort AR Software Development Kit. The move underscores the industry’s shift to more powerful processing platforms away from the 16 bit architectures for which the company’s Evolution OS had been designed.

Phoenix Technologies demonstrated the new version of their Firmbase environment, which allows firmware-based applications to run at high availability, outside the main operating system. The company offers a quick start Embedded BIOS and HyperSpace, an always connected, instant-on operating environment that can run independently or alongside Windows as a virtualization solution.

Real-Time Innovations (RTI)
version 4.4 of their Data Distribution Service (DDS) middleware, that includes the ability to dynamically update communication interfaces at runtime as well as enhanced integration with XML-based applications. The company also noted OGM’s recent successful demonstration of the integration of DDS implementations among multiple vendors. RTI also announced that they have integrated their DDS product with Wind River's VxWorks MILS Platform 2.0, and strengthened their partnership with Aonix in the process in order to better serve their joint customers going forward.

Virtutech announced the release of Simics 4.2. The new product offers a number of enhancements, including faster performance for complex distributed systems, improved extensibility, more robust support for key industry standards such as Eclipse, System C, and IP-XACT, support for ENEA’s OSE operating system, features for hierarchical system model representation, and the enablement of hybrid (functional vs. cycle accurate) model simulation.

Other leading embedded systems vendors in attendance at ESC included American Arium, Altera, Black Duck Software, Birdstep Technology, BSQUARE, CMX Systems, Coverity, Datalight, Electric Cloud, IAR Systems, Lauterbach, Perforce Software, QualiSystems, Segger Microcontroller, Synopsys, Texas Instruments, Wind River Systems, and many others.

If you would like to view a PDF file of this bulletin, go to:

Friday, March 27, 2009

VDC’s Unveils Unique New Research Program for The OEM Community

VDC announces the release of a unique research program targeted specifically to the needs of senior embedded engineering and program managers called The Embedded Advantage™. More information about the Embedded Advantage™ Research Program can be found here. The subscription service draws upon VDC’s two decades of experience covering the embedded computing market and helps managers compare the performance of their project teams against others within the embedded industry, learn more about best practices and emerging trends in embedded software development, and track new products and services from the leading embedded technology suppliers. According to Mitch Solomon, CEO of VDC Research “The Embedded Advantage™ leverages what we believe is the largest – and continuously expanding – database of information about embedded systems engineering in the world. Subscribers to the service will have access to an extremely robust set of tools to help them better design and manage their projects.”

For more information about The Embedded Advantage™, click here. To learn more about VDC Research Group, please visit our web site at http://www.vdcresearch.com/.

We are interested in your thoughts and suggestions for our new research program. Please feel free to post your comments.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Enea Appoints New President and CEO

Per Åkerberg, a long time Enea senior executive has been appointed President and CEO. Per has been with Enea since 2004 and has served in a number of roles within the company. This should serve Enea well as Per can hit the ground running hard based on his operations experience, understanding of the market, and the company’s software product solutions and services.

Per Åkerberg will start as President and CEO of Enea on March 27.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Over $25 Billion: VDC Research Releases New Metric Measuring the Total Size of the Embedded Software Engineering Market

VDC Research recently released a series of Embedded Systems Market Statistics reports providing a detailed, vertical-by-vertical analysis of key embedded industries. Within these reports, VDC provides estimates for the Total Market for Embedded Software Engineering (TMESE), which VDC believes represents more than $25 billion worldwide.

While spending on commercial software and tools for embedded software engineering represents a large portion of the TMESE, spending on engineering labor continues to represent a substantial piece of this market opportunity. VDC views this larger market size to be most representative of the total revenue opportunity for software vendors. Vendors who provide solutions able to increase developer efficiency, improve time-to-market, and reduce labor costs can potentially capture a greater portion of the value of the engineering effort that the software they provide replaces.

The TMESE “Iceberg”

The TMESE calculation stems from recent upgrades to VDC’s Embedded Systems Market Statistics Model. This model also provides key metrics regarding the global engineering population and embedded projects, with an emphasis on vertically-, regionally-, and task-specific analysis.

“Leaders within the embedded industry are looking for more segment-specific intelligence to inform their assessments of current market opportunities and better align their offerings with customer requirements,” says Matt Volckmann, Senior Analyst and Program Manager, VDC’s Embedded Software and Tools practice. “VDC’s latest Embedded Systems Market Statistics model provides our customers with a more detailed view into the embedded software market as well as improved access to data specific to certain segments of interest across geographies, industries, and engineer types. The model also puts VDC clients in a better position to address key questions about the larger systems engineering industry.”

VDC reviews these and other critical statistics by vertical within the recently released Track 3 Embedded Systems Market Statistics reports, Volumes 1 through 7, from VDC’s 2008 Embedded Software Market Intelligence Service.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Virtualization for Embedded Systems - Market Update

For enterprise IT applications, virtualization has emerged as a key strategy to control costs by consolidating servers, therefore reducing the related hardware, floor space, power consumption, and cooling. Over the last several years, the number of virtualization solutions specifically targeted at embedded applications has increased dramatically.


VDC considers “virtualization for embedded systems” to be a condition whereby executable software technologies running on a target embedded system/device that enable other guest operating systems or software to execute while either fully or partially separated from direct exchanges with the underlying processor(s) or hardware.

The executable software technology can include:

  • Hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM) – Software running directly on the hardware that primarily functions as a host for one or more guest operating systems.
  • Microkernel or real-time operating system – Software that can serve as a host for one or more guest operating systems but also serves as an operating system itself typically providing key features required by or desirable to the function of the target system (e.g., real-time performance, secure partitioning, and small footprint).

“Virtualization for embedded systems” should not be confused with another similar class of tools that allows embedded engineers to simulate the function of a range of processors and/or hardware systems (often under development and unavailable to a developer). VDC refers to these solutions as virtual system prototyping/simulation tools. Within the embedded tools market these solutions are also commonly referred to as:

  • Virtual system prototyping;
  • Virtual system simulation;
  • Virtual platforms; and/or
  • Virtualized software development.


The value proposition of virtualization in the Enterprise/IT space is well understood; however, the value proposition for embedded solutions extends beyond those driving growth within the IT market. Some of these drivers include:

  • Migration and adoption of new hardware architectures, such as multi-core processors, as a result of processor obsolescence, semiconductor advances, etc.
  • Ability to consolidate and make better use of hardware and application software
  • Need to leverage/re-use legacy software code, especially in instances where significant investment has been spent on development, testing and/or certification by one or more regulatory bodies
  • Continued importance of safety- and security-critical requirements
    Ability to enable a desired “user experience” while still ensuring determinism and/or security

  • Desire to isolate GPL-licensed or other open source code from proprietary code


Some of the vendors currently offering or developing virtualization solutions for embedded systems include:

  • Green Hills Software
  • LynuxWorks
  • Open Kernel Labs
  • Real Time Systems GmbH
  • TenAsys
  • VirtualLogix
  • VMware (recently acquired TRANGO Virtual Processors)
  • Wind River Systems

So What?

The diversity of embedded project requirements, software, and hardware, has created an opportunity for solutions that can ease the integration of applications, operating systems, and hardware platforms while also providing a vehicle to preserve legacy investments. We expect that an increasing number of embedded engineering teams will look toward virtualization as a development solution for their projects going forward.

Based on VDC’s 2008 Embedded Systems Engineering survey less than 5% of developers reported the use of virtualization in their current development project. Virtualization can certainly be employed to solve a variety of problems, but its value as a solution (and thus its adoption) will be measured against the potential for added cost, latency, resource consumption, and system complexity that comes with it.

Although developers’ expectations suggest that adoption is increasing, this growth is expected to remain moderate with use remaining below 10% for their next project. The intriguing questions going forward will be how this technology will be positioned and how it affects the greater embedded software and tool vendor competitive landscape.

  • What more can suppliers of virtualization technology do to help engineers understand what this technology offers and how this technology can be employed to solve real problems?
  • What will happen to the commercial viability of standalone virtualization vendors as larger companies with broader solution sets develop their own offerings?
  • Will the presence of a virtualization solution within a company’s product suite affect a development team’s choice of an OS (regardless of current need for virtualization)?
  • Will the evolution of advanced multiprocessing operating systems cannibalize any of the need or commercial market for virtualization solutions?
  • Finally, how will the current economy affect the adoption of new technologies like virtualization or multi-core processors?

VDC examines virtualization in greater depth in the recently published Industry Brief 1: Virtualization for Embedded Systems. The brief also includes profiles of the competing vendors as well as an examination of current and future project use of virtualization for embedded systems development.

We are interested in your thoughts. Please feel free to post comments.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mentor Graphics to Acquire ESL Products from Agility, Agility to Close

Yesterday, Mentor Graphics announced that it would be acquiring the
high level synthesis technologies of Agility (previously from Celoxica). The acquisiton, along with its existing Catapult C solutions, further strengthens Mentor's current leadership position within the ESL sysnthesis space. Mentor plans to also acquire key employees related to the product line.

Earlier in the week, Agility had indicated in an EE Times article that it would shortly be confirming the sale and that, as the company was unable to renegotiate its line of credit or find new financing, it would soon be ceasing its operations. Its MATLAB to C translation products (previously from Catalytic) will be sold at auction on January 28th.