LxWin V7.0: New Features

acontis technologies has recently released version 7.0 of its leading LxWin real-time extension. LxWin enables customers to consolidate hardware using a real-time Hypervisor solution to run Windows and real-time Linux concurrently on a single PC. Furthermore, LxWin has been established as the most sophisticated solution for customers looking for Windows real-time extensions.

Intel® Resource Director Technology (Intel® RDT) Support

Intel® RDT provides monitoring and control over shared platform resources. This helps ensure that application Quality of Service (QoS) targets can be met. The technology enables monitoring and allocation of memory bandwidth or Last Level Cache (LLC), per application, container, virtual machine (VM), or even per-thread if necessary.

Cache Allocation Technology (CAT)

Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) Software-guided redistribution of cache capacity is enabled by CAT. This enables the real-time part to benefit from improved cache capacity and reduced cache contention. CAT thus will enhance runtime determinism and prioritize real-time applications over Windows.

Memory Bandwith Allocation (MBA)

Memory Bandwidth Allocation (MBA) enables approximate and indirect control over memory bandwidth available to workloads, enabling new levels of interference mitigation and bandwidth shaping for “noisy neighbors” present on the system. Utilizing MBA will limit memory bandwidth for Windows and thus can significantly reduce the jitter of the real-time part.

Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) Support

Hardware virtualization is a technology that was introduced to run multiple operating systems on one computer. This technology typically is used for virtualization of servers as well as for desktop virtualization to improve performance. For real-time virtualization, this technology is not necessarily required as real-time needs non-virtualized hardware access as well as deterministic behavior. However, utilizing this technology in real-time virtualization software introduces benefits to customers, without introducing additional latencies.

Operating System Isolation

Hardware virtualization technology can be used to better isolate the operating systems from each other. Even as it is almost impossible to crash the Linux kernel from within customer’s real-time application, there is still a minimal risk that buggy device drivers may lead to system crashes. Such crash in some cases could lead to rebooting the computer which makes diagnosis rather difficult. In such cases, using Intel VT would lead to a so called VM exit and the LxWin runtime environment will print out an appropriate error message that can help customers to find the driver bug.

Memory utilization

The real-time part runs in 32 Bit mode and thus cannot access physical memory above 4 GByte. On some systems this can become a serious limitation. Intel VT offers an additional memory management layer that enables the Linux operating system to use memory above 4 GByte without the need to change any applications or device drivers within the real-time part.

Suppress System Management Interrupts (SMIs)

SMIs are the deadly enemies of real-time and determinism. In new versions of Windows 10, such SMIs may be vastly generated by the operating system and if the BIOS does not suppress disable these SMIs, such PC cannot be used at all for real-time virtualization applications. With Intel VT enabled, LxWin can monitor such SMI generation by the Windows 10 operating system and thus suppress the majority of these SMIs.

Performance Optimizations

Due to improved interrupt handling real-time latencies are significantly shorter.

Single boot image

LxWin now supports being launched via a single boot image lxwinboot.bin. In the past, the initial RAM filesystem, which contains drivers and applications had been separated from the kernel and two images had been required for running Linux. This simplifies daily work as well as product deployment.

Kernel and C Library Update

LxWin now supports glibc version 2.28 and has been updated to Linux kernel 4.9.201 including respective security updates.