By Michel Genard
Two months ago, I wrote about a new offering, Wind River Helix Lab Cloud, which we introduced as a preview to offer a cloud-based solution that enables makers to access hardware targets in a very different way than the traditional method of sourcing physical boards.
I want to take this opportunity to share with you what I consider to be the fundamentals of Lab Cloud.
- Why Lab Cloud? At some point in the development lifecycle of your project you need to have access to hardware – whatever you want to do, like prototype something, develop or test an application, validate an update, etc,. The challenge you may find could be issues like boards not being available yet, or not being at the right level of revision, you might simply have too few, or the boards aren’t easy to work with so you need to get expert help, not counting the possible hardware failures. In Lab Cloud, we virtualize the boards and make them available in the cloud, so you have access anytime from anywhere. We also load them with runtime software, so they are ready to be used for application software, out-of-the box. By the way, you can access multiple instances of the board as well as different boards.
- What are the key benefits I can expect? Access and collaboration are the obvious values you see immediately. You can instantly grab a board with a pre-configured software stack, ready for you to use. You can share your workspace with other users. You can collaborate live, online in the same session, with your fellow colleagues or friends. You will experience some neat features as well, like recording a session for you to replay later, clone the boards, and take snapshots of the system for archiving of future use. If you are the kind of engineer who is eager to expand our lab, the published Web APIs will let you express your creativity – you can integrate the lab with other cloud tools or software. If you are already a Simics customer, you will enjoy the capability to upload your current Simics models in the cloud, making your assets available to whomever you want and under your control.
- What is the business model? We want everyone to benefit from Lab Cloud, therefore we have a free version available to all. For corporate users we have enterprise accounts that unleash the potential of what a cloud-based lab can offer. In the enterprise account, what you pay for is the service to use the Lab Cloud, you are not paying for each individual board that is available. Similar to a streaming music model where you pay for time of use and not the individual songs. For about $2 per hour for an enterprise account, you can access and use whatever boards you have in the lab.
- What’s next? We are going to upload and make more virtual boards available to users frequently, so keep visiting Lab Cloud. We are planning to introduce new services as well, all aiming at helping engineers in the creation of software based electronics systems.
Don’t wait, create your free account here: https://lab.cloud.windriver.com and please share your feedback! This lab is here for you, so if you want to see additional or different virtual boards, different pre-configured software stacks, or just have an idea of a new feature or service for the lab, don’t hesitate to contact us.