Wind River Systems Inc claims to have the completed the first real-time implementation of Microsoft Corp’s DCOM Distributed Component Object Model interface for embedded systems. VxDCOM extends Wind River’s VxWorks real-time operating system so that OEMs can connect embedded devices with PC-based applications in distributed environments. Wind River plans to demonstrate VxDCOM at the Embedded […]
Wind River Systems Inc claims to have the completed the first real-time implementation of Microsoft Corp’s DCOM Distributed Component Object Model interface for embedded systems. VxDCOM extends Wind River’s VxWorks real-time operating system so that OEMs can connect embedded devices with PC-based applications in distributed environments.
Wind River plans to demonstrate VxDCOM at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, California today. It says the demonstration will mark the first time that data has been extracted in real time from an embedded target and sent to a PC- based application using DCOM, without needing to customize the host. Previously, more cumbersome bridging technologies were needed between Windows NT and the VxWorks RTOS to carry out similar integration work. Built-in DCOM support simplifies and streamlines those efforts. Wind River already has integration support to Corba common object request broker technology through third parties.
VxDCOM is aimed at the industrial measurement and control, telecommunication, office automation, and consumer markets. It is language independent, so that PC applications can be written in Java, Visual Basic, C++, or any Active X-compatible language. It also shrinks the footprint of DCOM down to 280k, to fit in with the memory constraints of embedded applications, but maintains compatibility with DCOM (specifically full compatibility with its OLE for process control component). No one has built up COM and DCOM from step one for embedded systems says Wind River’s vice president of platform engineering, John Fogelin. We took a long look at what parts were relevant. Missed out is support for complex data types, typically not used for embedded applications, and some of the complexities of the registry.
Wind River’s implementation also adds automation-compatible interfaces, so that embedded targets can send commands to PC- based applications without requiring end-user action. Integration with applications such as Microsoft Excel will enable further processing and presentation of the data gathered by embedded devices, including statistical analysis. The technology isn’t operating system specific, but Fogelin said the company currently had no plans to license it to others. That’s obviously a strategic decision for Wind River, he said.
Wind River said the uses for VxDCOM are potentially huge, particularly in the industrial and process control sector where Microsoft’s component technology is already widely deployed on PCs and servers. Microsoft itself hasn’t persuaded industrial and process control companies that Windows-based operating systems – including its nearest fit, Win CE – are reliable and predicable enough for use in embedded applications.
The product is currently in beta test, and is expected to become generally available during the fourth quarter of the year. Early uses include Software Technology, Inc, a subsidiary of Exigent International Inc producing products for the software-definable radio market.