Hardware-Software Integration Real-Time Stress Test for Congatec's Server-on-Module

Server-on-Module conga-TS170.
Server-on-Module conga-TS170.

Congatec works with OSADL to optimize board support for Real-Time Linux. At OSADL's test farm, a server module runs around the clock.

OSADL supports and coordinates the development of Preemt-RT patches for the Linux mainline kernel and operates a test platform for validation and quality assurance with »QA Farm Realtime«. The farm currently consists of 13 racks with 8 slots each. In each slot, a computer system runs 24x7. According to the best open source philosophy, all collected log data is public and can be viewed at any time via the OSADL website. These include, for example, the so-called latency plots, which dominate real-time behavior.

In a first step, OSADL qualified the latest real-time Linux implementation from Congatec, which uses the Linux kernel 4.9.47-rt37 on the conga-TS170 server module, which is equipped with the embedded server class Xeon processor (E3-1578L v5 @ 2.00 GHz). The COM Express Type 6 module on Congatec's evaluation carrier board made an impression with the best real-time capabilities in its class.

All Software Layers Optimized for Real-Time

The challenge when implementing hard real-time Linux behavior lies in mastering all processing layers from BIOS to Linux kernel to user space, since the overall real-time capabilities are only as good as the weakest link in the chain. In addition, modern processors such as Intel’s Skylake family offer a wide range of energy saving features that must be balanced to the requirements of real-time computing. The OSADL quality assurance that is executed in standardized racks testifies that conga-TS170 Server-on-Modules are perfect for any real-time application. Target markets for these high-end modules for workstations and servers that also provide high-end graphics include high-speed test and measurement equipment, back-end systems in medical imaging, high-performance industrial workstations as well as vision-based inspection systems and situational awareness platforms.

Good Report from OSADL

»The congatec module with the Intel Xeon E3 processor of the Skylake generation passed all tests and showed excellent response times,« Dr. Carsten Emde, General Manager of OSADL eG, sums up. »We at OSADL are very pleased that congatec has joined our organization. Congatec and OSADL fit together very well; our customers and members come from virtually the same industries and therefore benefit equally from our services. One of these services is the OSADL QA farm, where embedded systems with very high test depths are tested for their real-time capability and other features important for industry.«

Linux and real-time Linux implementations dominate in embedded system designs, with 58% of all new projects expected to start with Open Source (OS) and nearly the same amount of projects (59%) involving real-time, as the latest surveys indicate . Because of this outstanding importance of real-time computing, congatec products support all major real-time capable OS from both x86 and ARM technologies. These first and foremost include real-time Linux but further also RTOS such as VxWorks or QNX, as well as deterministic hypervisor and virtualization technologies from vendors such as Real-Time Systems. Congatec’s membership in the OSADL foundation rounds off this engagement. More information about the performance of the conga-TS170 Server-on-Module can be found at OSADL QA Farm rack no. 5, slot no.3 (https://www.osadl.org/?id=1305).