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Yocto-based Torizon distro adds OTA updater

Nov 21, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 651 views

Toradex has released an experimental version of an OTA updater for its new Torizon embedded Linux distribution. Torizon OTA offers fault-tolerant features and supports web-based remote management including grouping of devices into fleets.

In May, Toradex announced an industrial grade Torizon Linux distribution aimed mostly at Windows developers looking for an easy entry into embedded Linux development. Now, the Swiss embedded board vendor has released an alpha version of a Torizon Over-The-Air (OTA) updating scheme for Torizon. Torizon OTA is available for customers of Toradex’s compute modules, such as the i.MX7-based Colibri iMX7.



TorizonCore architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Torizon OTA, which is developed by Toradex’s R&D wing, Toradex Labs, is built into TorizonCore, Torizon’s lightweight base system. TorizonCore also contains a Linux Kernel with support for both mainline and downstream kernels, as well as other basic services such as an optional Debian container with a Docker runtime.

Torizon OTA features a web interface that provides full control over which components to update and when, ranging from the hardware device-tree layers to application files. Customers can push out their own updates in addition to security patches and other updates provided by Toradex.

The updater offers a high-level view of all devices and their current status and enables the grouping of devices together into fleets. In addition, “Every device publishes information up to the server which can prove useful for evaluating device health, inconsistencies in deployed devices, etc.,” says Toradex. It’s ideally paired with Torizon’s optional container, says Toradex.

Torizon OTA offers fault-tolerant features including the ability to withstand power outages and drops in network connectivity. It’s said to be especially suitable for devices that have limited or lightweight data connections such as a cellular network. To reduce data throughput, it employs a differential update scheme, which transfers only those portions of an update that have changed since the last update.

The updating mechanism is based on OSTree as well as HERE.com’s open source OTA Community Edition updating software for automotive applications and the related Aktualizr client. Aktualizr and Torizon OTA also incorporate the Uptane daemon and security framework “to secure and verify updates received on the device,” says Toradex. Uptane is built into Automotive Grade Linux and Airbiquity’s OTAmatic software. It’s also available on OES’ Allwinner H5-based Prime Series 1 SBC.


Colibri iMX8X

Torizon is designed for its Arm-based SODIMM-style Colibri and Apalis compute modules. Colibri modules include the recent, i.MX8X-based Colibri iMX8X. The latest Apalis model is the i.MX8 QuadMax based Apalis iMX8.

Torizon is built on Foundries.io’s continuously managed Linux microPlatform IoT service, which is in turn based on OE/Yocto and Docker container code. Toradex continues to offer a more traditional Yocto Project based Linux stack.



Torizon installation environment (left) and container architecture
(click images to enlarge)

The Torizon distro includes a Torizon Microsoft Developer Environment that integrates with Visual Studio. The distro also supports .Net, which will be more tightly integrated in the future.




Torizon OTA demo

 
Further information

The alpha-stage Torizon OTA service is available free for all Toradex customers with a current Toradex support plan. More information may be found in Toradex’s announcement and the Torizon OTA product page.

 

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