By Mark Hermeling
Bill-of-material is something that is important in many devices and I have argued before that virtualization can help with this. Say you have a medical device like an MRI scanner, it is not uncommon that this device has three processors that collaborate. One processor, often in a separate box like an industrial PC, runs MS Windows and is the operator interface, possibly with touch-screen GUI. This is where the results are displayed.
The three processor configuration makes it that the three pieces of functionality don't negatively influence each other. However, it also makes the system rather expensive from a hardware perspective. The Windows PC can easily run $1000, the data and control processor about $500, to a total cost of $2000 for the system.
A system utilizing virtualization can perform all three tasks on a single multicore processor. This would bring the cost down to about $1000 for the system. While the $1000 delta may not be shocking on it's own, keep in mind that this is per system shipped. If you ship 5000 systems per year, then you are up to a cool $5M cost savings.
Can virtualization really deliver this? Yes, have a look at the demonstration to see how the Wind River Hypervisor can combine Microsoft Windows with VxWorks (or Linux).