McObject®, developer of the eXtremeDB[tm] embedded database product family, and LynuxWorks, a world leader in the embedded software market, announced a technology alliance in which McObject has ported its eXtremeDB Kernel Mode (KM) embedded database to LynuxWorks’ BlueCat Embedded Linux 5.6 operating system. The companies will jointly target the medical technology market with this software combination, which accelerates development of Linux-based time- and safety-critical applications ranging from personal carry-along medical devices to larger-scale clinical systems.
Effective immediately, McObject is offering eXtremeDB-KM on LynuxWorks’ open source BlueCat Embedded Linux platform. Released in 2008, eXtremeDB-KM is the first database system designed for deployment in the operating system kernel, where it leverages the high priority, zero-latency responsiveness afforded to kernel tasks—and meets the data sorting, access and retrieval needs of applications that place key functions there.
BlueCat Embedded Linux 5.6, based on the 2.6.23 kernel, is an implementation of the Linux model enhanced for use in embedded systems ranging from small consumer-type devices to large-scale, multi-CPU systems. Delivering the flexibility and cost benefits of open-source software, BlueCat is uniquely constructed to be a stable, commercial-grade embedded operating system, providing immediate productivity and optimized performance.
The combination of eXtremeDB Kernel Mode and BlueCat Embedded Linux is ideally timed, as medical applications shift from proprietary solutions to open, standards-based platforms and also manage growing volumes of complex data. McObject’s and LynuxWorks’ technologies combine to meet critical requirements of this market:
Real-time performance. When developers deploy application code in the OS kernel, the context switching imposed by accessing a user-mode database imposes significant latency. By placing the DBMS in the kernel, eXtremeDB-KM runs an order of magnitude faster. BlueCat Embedded Linux’s pre-emptible kernel and advanced scheduler further enhance performance.
Reliability. Medical systems demand the highest level of safety. By moving to eXtremeDB-KM and BlueCat Embedded Linux from self-developed solutions, applications gain the stability of proven software components, supported by companies with long track records in embedded software. eXtremeDB’s support for ACID (Atomic, Consistent, Isolated and Durable) transactions safeguards data integrity, which is critical when information is used in patient care decisions.
Low overhead. Minimizing a device’s memory and CPU requirements meets an important healthcare industry imperative of lowering medical device cost. Reducing power requirements is also a key goal for manufacturers, as more medical devices become portable, and Baby Boomers and other users demand “un-tethered” usage via longer battery life. Both eXtremeDB-KM and BlueCat Embedded Linux impose only modest overhead and provide configuration options to minimize RAM, CPU and power requirements.
Support for complex data. Many medical systems save lives by recognizing patterns in collected data, and triggering alarms or automated responses. eXtremeDB-KM excels in representing such complex data efficiently with its support for virtually all data types, including structures, arrays, vectors and BLOBs. Searches are optimized via the database’s wide range of available index types, including b-trees, hash tables, custom indexes and more.
Code re-usability. Both eXtremeDB-KM and BlueCat Embedded Linux are part of larger technology families that provide the opportunity to gain additional features while economically re-using code. BlueCat Linux permits easy migration to LynuxWorks’ entire product line of embedded platform solutions, including the LynxSecure embedded hypervisor, which is particularly applicable to medical devices that have both real-time and non-real-time applications. The eXtremeDB product line includes database editions with high availability, 64-bit, and hybrid (combined in-memory and on-disk) storage, among other features.
“Technology has been rightly identified as the means by which our country will improve quality of medical care while reducing costs. Both eXtremeDB Kernel Mode and BlueCat Embedded Linux offer strong advantages that help achieve these goals at the level of individual medical devices and applications, and we look forward to working closely with LynuxWorks to deliver these benefits to more developers,” Chris Mureen, McObject’s chief operating officer, said.
“Medical device manufacturers continue to look to commercial vendors to provide and support the latest tested and stable versions of Linux on the latest platforms, delivering the performance, power, and cost benefits they desire,” said Sonia Leal, senior product manager at LynuxWorks. “Partnering with McObject adds a commercial database offering to our BlueCat Linux product line, addressing application-level customer requirements.”
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