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Platform secures partitioning for multicore systems

Posted: 10 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multicore? QNX Secure Partitioning for Multi-Core Processors? platform partitioning for multicore processors? QNX multiprocessing solutions?

QNX Software Systems unveiled the world's 'first' secure memory and CPU partitioning platform for multicore systemsQNX Secure Partitioning for Multicore Processorsat last week's Embedded Systems Conference.

Available partitioning schemes are limited to uniprocessor designs. Because these current implementations do not offer a holistic view of multiple cores, developers who want to protect their systems from rogue attacks attempt to partition each core separately, usually by producing multiple copies of the OS on each core.

The QNX Secure Partitioning for Multicore Processors platform takes the current restrictive concepts of software partitioning and changes the rules. With the device, embedded system developers using multicore hardware can apply secure partitions in their designs to guarantee real-time response times and contain threats, while simultaneously maximizing resource usage and performance.

The platform offers designers the flexibility to either lock down a set of applications in fixed partitions or optimize CPU utilization through adaptive partitions. According to QNX, a multicore design can employ the two techniques simultaneously, depending on how each function is prioritized.

QNX partitioning technology guarantees CPU time for applications when the system is heavily loaded. It can also reassign unused resources from partitions, which not under full load, to those that require additional processing time thus, providing higher performance by increasing CPU utilization. This approach is proven more efficient than traditional partitioning solutions, which waste memory and CPU cycles through rigid and fixed resource allocations.

When combined with QNX's multiprocessing solutions, secure partitions can be implemented in different configurations for a multicore design. For example, by using QNX's unique Bound Multiprocessing option, designers can 'bind' selected applications to a specified set of CPU cores, creating a true hardware and software partitioning capability.

The QNX platform not only addresses the need for secure operation and real-time performance, it can also speed system design by allowing engineers to pre-allocate guaranteed system resources for subsystems added later in the design cycle.

To maximize ease-of-use and application portability, QNX Secure Partitioning for Multi-Core Processors and the QNX Neutrino microkernel RTOS use industry-standard POSIX APIs. This enables embedded developers to employ the exact same task-prioritization schemes that they use today. QNX Neutrino offers other inherent security benefits, such as isolating drivers, protocol stacks, and applications in separate, memory-protected virtual address spaces. As a result, malicious or poorly written software cannot corrupt, disrupt or spy on other processes.

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