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Embedded Board Farm service enables remote testing and development

Jun 10, 2021 — by Eric Brown — 721 views

Timesys has launched an Embedded Board Farm service that provides secure remote access to embedded hardware and BSPs for Linux, Android, QNX, and FreeRTOS for software development, test automation, and debugging.

Long-time embedded Linux software developer Timesys has announced the launch of Timesys Embedded Board Farm (EBF). The service “provides a secured, user-owned infrastructure solution for remote access to hardware for software development, test automation, and debugging across an organization,” says the company.

Timesys EBF offers remote availability to hardware and Board Support Packages (BSPs) for embedded operating systems including Linux, Android, QNX, and FreeRTOS. A centralized EBF server grants users full control of remote devices, with security enabled by securing the platform behind the customer’s firewall. Typical users would include developers, testers, support engineers, and sales engineers.



Timesys Embedded Board Farm conceptual diagram (left) and test hardware and specs
(click images to enlarge)

Companies producing embedded hardware and software face numerous challenges due to limited access to physical boards for development teams, says Timesys. Test infrastructure for automation is often fragmented and redundant, and it is often difficult to access hardware for demos and customer evaluation, says the company.

The result is said to be reduced device development and testing productivity, lengthened time-to-market, and higher development costs. The need for remote access to test platforms has expanded with the increased adoption of remote technology development due to the pandemic.

Timesys’ EBF “eliminates hardware access bottlenecks for higher efficiency and reduced budget and schedule; shortens test cycles with test automation framework plugins; and allows teams to remotely develop and debug BSPs from anywhere in the world,” says the company. The platform lets users see all inputs and outputs as well as live encrypted video/audio streaming “securely behind a firewall,” says Timesys. Customers do not need to switch from their preferred workflow for debugging, and they can automate processes for testing with EBF’s command line interface.

Testing and quality assurance can be streamlined with the platform’s test automation framework plugins. EBF can integrate with platforms including Fuego, Squish, and Timesys Test Project to enable test coverage including UI testing.

Timesys EBF is built with Rest APIs and supports all major browsers. The software offers centralized board inventory management, device-specific dashboards, multi-user support, expansion via I2C, USB, and GPIO, and support for different power modules such as network and GPIO.

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Other features include console access and sharing, hot plugs, boot medias, SD and USB mux, file management, and remote monitoring. The platform uses Zombie automation systems, each of which provides remote access to up to 4x boards via IO/CX devices (see image and specs above).

Timesys has long embraced remote Linux development with services such as its discontinued LinuxLink. More recently, Timesys has launched a Vigiles security monitoring and management platform with CVE tracking for embedded Linux, and last year announced a BSP Lifecycle Maintenance Service for embedded Linux products using NXP processors. Other embedded Linux test farms include FØCAL.

“With many companies considering a permanent move to working remotely, the need for remote access to hardware boards has never been greater,” stated Timesys CEO Atul Bansal. “Our Embedded Board Farm provides unlimited board access so every team member has the access they need.”

“This tool is exactly what we’ve been looking for,” stated Reginald Stadlbauer, Business Development Director, QA Tools at Qt. “Using Timesys EBF along with our Squish GUI Test Automation Tool, our customers are able to automate remote UI testing on the actual hardware, even with different versions of boards at multiple locations, saving them time and money.”

 
Further information

The Timesys Embedded Board Farm service is available now with undisclosed pricing. More information may be found in the announcement and product page. You can request a personalized EBF demo and view a YouTube video here.
 

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