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Accelerated Linux boosts real-time performance on Zynq UltraScale+

Oct 4, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1471 views

Enea has launched a real-time “Accelerated Linux” version of its Enea Linux distro that targets the Zynq UltraScale+. The dual-OS hypervisor solution combines Enea Linux with an SMP micro-kernel executive.

In 2012, Swedish telecom-focused enterprise software vendor Enea, which is known for its Enea OSEck RTOS, launched a carrier-grade Enea Linux distribution, which combined its earlier Enea Linux Project Framework (ELPH) distro with a Yocto Project foundation. In 2014, Enea launched a free, community-backed Open Enea Linux, but that project appears to have folded. Now, Enea has returned with a new Accelerated Linux distro that offers even greater real-time capabilities than the standard Enea Linux. The initial version is optimized for Xilinx’s 64-bit Arm/FPGA hybrid Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC.

Announced in July, the Zynq UltraScale+ version of Accelerated Linux was officially launched this week at the Xilinx Developer Forum Silicon Valley. The distribution features a real-time SMP microkernel executive running side-by-side with Enea Linux on the SoC’s quad-core Cortex-A53 cluster using vertical partitions implemented by a type 1 hypervisor. The distro offers improved real-time response over Enea Linux, which already integrates the PREEMPT_RT Real-time Linux kernel patch.



Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Accelerated Linux is designed for “hard real-time applications that need very high processing capacity and determinism,” says Enea. It enables a “worst-case task response latency in the range of ~1 us and a task switch overhead 10-15 times less than Linux,” says the company.

With Enea’s dual-OS partitioning approach, individual cores can be assigned to either domain, depending on the application need. The distribution enables direct hardware access from applications running in the real-time domain, which can also be fully debugged and profiled.

Accelerated Linux supports “big data transfer between domains,” says Xilinx. A fast zero-copy IPC enables fast communications between the Linux domain and the real-time domain, enabling each to share services such as file system, debug channels, and hardware resources.



Dual OS partitioning with Accelerated Linux in two configurations: a real-time executive as a virtualized guest (left) and Linux on one core and OSE on three cores as a Jailhouse guest
(click images to enlarge)

Accelerated Linux exploits Zynq UltraScale+ support for the open source OpenAMP (Open Asymmetric Multi Processing Framework). This is said to enable communication between the Linux/Arm block and both the FPGA and the FreeRTOS distribution running on the SoC’s dual high-end, 600MHz Cortex-R5 MCU cores.

Enea plans to expand Accelerated Linux to other processors. Targeted platforms include the Zynq 70xx, Intel/Altera Stratix 10, Intel Denverton, Nvidia Tegra, TI Sitara, and NXP’s i.MX, LayerScape LS20XX, and B4860 (baseband) processors.

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This is not the first time Enea has used virtualization and core partitioning techniques with Enea Linux. In 2014, the company announced a LightWeight RunTime (LWRT) stack designed for telecom applications such as cellular base stations that run both Enea Linux and OSEck. LWRT gets the most out of the real-time capabilities of both OSes. With Enea LWRT, OSEck handles most of the lightweight scheduling and IPC tasks within real-time applications, while Enea Linux is used for real-time functions only when an interrupt requires true preemption.

 
Further information

Enea’s Accelerated Linux appears to be available now for the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC. More information may be found in the Accelerated Linux announcement and product page.

 

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