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Enea, MontaVista put 'telecom in a box'

Posted: 16 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Richard Goering? EE Times? Enea Embedded Technology? MontaVista Software? network application system platform?

Promising an integrated development suite for distributed telecommunications applications, Enea Embedded Technology teamed up with Linux provider MontaVista Software at last April's Embedded Systems Conference to offer the Network Application System Platform (NASP), a so-called "telecom in a box" solution.

The NASP combines MontaVista's carrier-grade Linux with Enea's OSE RTOS, Element middleware, Polyhedra fault-tolerant database and Eclipse-based development tools. It uses Enea's recently introduced Linx interprocess communications (IPC) protocol to support applications spanning multiple OS, CPUs and DSPs. "A lot of our customers are trying to reduce development times and the cost of systems, and they're increasingly RTOS-agnostic," said Johan Wall, Enea CEO. "This platform really has everything an applications-focused company needs to get its product quickly to market."

"Our customers are looking for more complete solutions that go beyond the platform OS offering we bring to bear," said Paxton Cooper, director of product marketing at MontaVista. NASP, he said, "lets customers get to market quickly with a truly integrated offering, as opposed to disparate off-the-shelf components that come from various vendors."

Because NASP provides an OS, high-availability middleware and an IPC, it can save the six to 12 months of development time that many companies spend pulling these resources together, said Dan Cauchy, director of product management at MontaVista. "And then you can start coding the applications on top of it, which is the stuff that really matters," he said.

The NASP offering reinforces Enea's bid to position itself as more than just an RTOS company. Part of that strategy, said Michael Christofferson, director of product marketing at Enea, is coexistence and cooperation with embedded Linux.

"Linux is good for a great many things, and so are RTOS," Christofferson said. "We see value in offering an integrated platform that gives a choice of deploying either where it makes sense." In complex networking systems, he noted, it's commonplace for Linux to be deployed in the control plane, while processors in the data plane run an RTOS. And until now, he noted, that kind of system required different tools from different companies.

The Linx IPC protocol, said Christofferson, is "the glue that holds it all together." All components of the NASP, including Linux, OSE and Element middleware, use Linx for message-passing communications. Enea announced the open-source Linx IPC last March.

Enea then proposed Linx as an IPC that can scale from multicore ICs to large distributed networks. So, too, can the NASP offering, said Christofferson. Multicore ICs will likely be nodes within larger distributed networks.

The first release of NASP, scheduled for September, will include OSEck, a version of OSE for DSPs. A follow-on release in December will include the full OSE along with a second release of Element. Christofferson said pricing will be around $20,000 per user, not including Element.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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