Best Practices: Managed Control of Networked Embedded Systems

By Ardence, a Citrix Company

As the performance and manageability requirements for embedded and enterprise computing environments continue to converge, embedded IT executives face formidable new challenges in attaining the levels of managed control that enable them to create and maintain optimized systems.

Fortunately, by taking advantage of innovative embedded and enterprise technologies, IT and the business can achieve the desired performance, manageability, security, reliability, and supportability – whether the target device is a point-of-sale kiosk, a HIPAA-compliant medical instrument running XP-embedded, or an industrial controller.

From an embedded computing perspective let’s first overview some key criteria for meeting IT’s desired managed control needs as well as the business goals for managed control and then look at best practices that can be brought to bear to assure success.

    • Performance optimization for embedded systems includes precision accuracy, high availability, direct access to hardware, and real-time processing. Manageability includes centrally managed system delivery and upgradeability, as well as re-configurability

    • Security for embedded systems entails protection from data theft and elimination of the possibility that malware installs via networked access.Reliability involves failover protection, and reducing or eliminating downtime from corruption.

    • Supportability is attained by using standards-based hardware/ software platforms, and ensuring compatibility by using tools that simplify and streamline system development, maintenance, and diagnostics

Clearly, three of these criteria – performance optimization, reliability, and security – have long been strong points for traditional embedded systems. And while the trend toward networked deployments provides the opportunity for increased manageability and supportability, there is a risk that embedded system strong points can become vulnerabilities.

For example, networked industrial controllers that run time-critical motion-control applications can suffer from unacceptable performance degradation caused by malware being installed, or from over-reliance on a server’s processor.

For example, networked industrial controllers that run time-critical motion-control applications can suffer from unacceptable performance degradation caused by malware being installed, or from over-reliance on a server’s processor.How then can managed control be attained in the new networked world of embedded devices?

Ardence, a Citrix Company, with significant experience and expertise in both the embedded and enterprise markets, has developed best practices for delivering managed control through software solutions that enable Dynamic Devices™.

A dynamic device comprises standards-based hardware/software; the OS/applications are delivered on-demand – not deployed. By streaming the device’s required OS and software on demand – including hard real-time control capabilities for Windows – Ardence can provide all of the desired managed control advantages while eliminating vulnerabilities.

Take the example of networked factory-floor controllers, using a combination of on-demand OS/application-streaming technology developed by Ardence and Ardence® RTX®, the highest-performing deterministic control solution for Microsoft® Windows, the controllers are performance optimized, secure, centrally managed, reliable and supportable. Security, manageability and supportability are achieved by on-demand streaming of the OS/ application image. And with RTX included in the device image, optimized performance and reliability are assured.

Developers are creating and optimizing a variety of dynamic devices by utilizing Ardence software in a variety of combinations to address the required criteria for a fully controlled, networked system.

A good example of creativity is a national retail POS company, using Windows XP and XPe devices, deploying diskless and updateable transactional devices across all of their U.S. locations that are modifiable and serviceable from a central remote location.

As global gaming companies become increasingly aware that server-based delivery changes the economic and security model for re-purposing games, XP and XPe based games can be rapidly reconfigured, secured, modified, updated and serviced without a tech visit. The ultimate in managed control for a regulated industry that is laser focused on control.

The Ardence Product Suite

Ardence® RTX® is the highest-performing deterministic control solution for Microsoft® Windows – saving developers time, reducing system costs and getting products to market faster. It is the only complete solution that supports standards-based multi-processor and multi-core platforms. RTX enhances Windows® universally adopted look/feel with features that give developers real-time determinism, better control, and unmatched dependability.

The Ardence® Software-Streaming Platform™ enables cost reductions and productivity gains by centralizing the delivery and control of the operating system and applications. Streaming the OS and applications from the network provides devices with unmatched manageability and reliability, while reducing operating costs. PCs and devices can be operated without a hard-disk drive and be managed remotely via a local or remote server. The OS and application are processed locally on the client devices, without the need for increased RAM, and the clients maintain direct access to peripheral devices.

Ardence® ReadyOn® enables OEMs to integrate instant availability with enhanced reliability and corruption protection into their Windows-based designs. Additional benefits include reducing manufacturing costs and speeding time to market. The enhanced end-user experience of instant-on/off functionality and secure, corruption proof reliability in devices using the Windows operating system provides OEMs with clear competitive advantages and the required functionality to compete in tomorrow’s markets.

About Ardence, a Citrix Company:

Ardence develops real-time software platforms for the embedded world. The Ardence Embedded OEM Development Platform delivers market-leading operating system control capabilities that enable OEMs to optimize system performance, device configuration and management. The Ardence product portfolio encompasses RTX®, ReadyOn® and ETS. RTX is the leading solution to provide hard real-time performance to the Microsoft Windows® operating system on single and multicore architectures. ReadyOn® manages and greatly reduces the boot-up time of the Windows operating system while eliminating the need to shutdown the computer before turning off power. ETS, the Ardence real-time operating system, is one of the most widely deployed real time systems in the industry. With more than 25 years of industry experience, Ardence is the leader in hard real-time embedded solutions for Windows environments.

About Citrix

Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CTXS) is the global leader and the most trusted name in application delivery infrastructure. More than 180,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to deliver any application to users anywhere with the best performance, highest security and lowest cost. Citrix customers include 100% of the Fortune 100 companies and 98% of the Fortune Global 500, as well as hundreds of thousands of small businesses and prosumers. Citrix has approximately 6,200 channel and alliance partners in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2006 was $1.1 billion.






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