By Eva Skoglund
You may have seen it already – we’ve started to gradually roll out a preview of Wind River Helix Lab Cloud – a new type of environment to demonstrate the concept of having a lab in the cloud. It gives you instant access to embedded targets for Intel®, ARM®, and PowerPC® running Wind River Linux.
We think Lab Cloud has the potential to define how embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) systems will be evaluated, developed and tested. Development can now happen in the cloud. What embedded developers and IoT developers used to do on their desktop or in physical labs, with disparate systems, can now happen in Lab Cloud.
In Lab Cloud, vertical replicas of your production system are hosted. Everything is software based and possible to clone. Developers can code, test, integrate, run and share their systems in the lab cloud. It’s instant and immediate, no installation or license keys required. It’s immediately sharable, no messing around with physical equipment, sending files or missing components. It’s on-demand and scalable, how big a lab do you need? It’s unbreakable, have you ever come into your physical lab in the morning only to find that the nightly test suite stopped executing after one third of the time due to a board that refused to boot correctly? I could go on, but you get the point – labs are a hassle from an access point of view. A lab cloud is something different…. Just imagine what you could do with instant, unlimited and reliable access.
Another aspect is collaboration, and also communication. Are you using social media for staying in contact with friends and family? Do you remember the days when you only used phone or letters (!), and when your communication was mostly 1-to-1? If you compare to modern days with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, what would you say is the biggest difference? To me, it’s about keeping many more relationships up-to-date and close, and finding new friends and interests by sharing thoughts and photos, and by defining input streams to match what you want to follow. I instantly show what I want to share by sending a photo instead of describing something on the phone. It’s a new way of communicating that is based on easy sharing and communication of things that I create. Now think about this in the lab cloud context and your world as an IoT or embedded developer. How do you collaborate with your fellow developers? In the lab cloud, you can share what you do, and your results, with many people. You can create virtual assets and show what you mean. You can deploy virtual targets and share with anyone. Your lab cloud is virtual, and completely software based, so you can send your colleague a snapshot to a full system set up including its current state and just run, no sharing of files and re-creating of systems, no booting, etc. Collaborate live with your colleagues on the same target system.
These are just a few things of what Lab Cloud enables you to do today, with this preview version. Currently the functionality is simple and new features will be released on a continuous basis to expand the functionality. What we envision for the future, is something even bigger. Imagine having your deployed IoT system or network, running side by side with a full scale lab cloud version. A virtual sandbox, a staging area if you will, where you validate, experiment and test new functionality before going live. You could even take live traces or execution data from your production system and replay them in the lab cloud for analysis or optimization.
Last but not least – did I mention it’s free? Starting this month, we’re offering free preview version of Lab Cloud. Be sure to sign up for an account here, and be part of our journey from the very start. We’ll expand and build out, so expect more to come… And we want your feedback, so make sure to try out Lab Cloud and let us know how you use it today, and how you’d want to use it tomorrow. Envision its potential and provide feedback using the Lab Cloud feedback tool. We’re looking forward to your input!