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RTC/MLTnet
RTCEXEC
MLTnetEXEC

RTC/MLTnet:
Distributed Real-Time Software Development System

 

ARS Real-Time Control System: RTC
ARS Multipurpose Networking System: MLTnet

Advanced Realtime Systems, Inc. (ARS) RTC Version 5.0 and MLTnet Version 5.0 use the “ARS Generic Distributed Real-Time Software Architecture” (ASA) technology allowing developers to quickly “plug-in” applications into a self-contained, high-performance, fully-featured, “out-of-the-box” distributed real-time control system. In addition, ARS products can support a company's already deployed "legacy" devices/systems (not running RTC/MLTnet). This can save tremendous amounts of software development effort.


RTC/MLTnet Benefits

Essentially any real-time project would benefit greatly from using RTC/MLTnet because:


  • RTC/MLTnet can eliminate years of complicated, high-risk software effort. ARS products have relieved up to 90% of a project’s software development effort.

  • Your developers will not have to develop nor worry about any real-time control and networking software. They can concentrate strictly on your application.

  • Since the complicated, high-risk software is completely written and tested via RTC/MLTnet, your time to market is reduced significantly.

  • RTC/MLTnet is a stable and mature technology. It can be used in any embedded system running a supported RTOS.

  • Since ARS products use a “platform independent” technology, they can be used repeatedly in current and future projects utilizing different hardware configurations.

  • RTC/MLTnet allows your application software to “plug-and-play.” It also supports any development process.

  • If your current project needs to interface to a previously deployed device/system (which is not running RTC/MLTnet), no problem. RTC/MLTnet is designed to package raw data from your legacy system, pass it to your applications, then unpackage it, and transfer it back to your legacy system (using its original format).

  • A common problem today in developing real-time embedded systems is trying to troubleshoot real-time intermittent bugs. RTC/MLTnet provides a toolset allowing you to obtain unparalleled real-time visibility into your complex embedded software system.

 

RTC/MLTnet Concept

The concept behind the RTC/MLTnet products is not to have applications sit "on top" of "middleware." Instead, applications "sit inside" of the RTC/MLTnet "infrastructure." The primary idea behind the RTC/MLTnet system is to allow applications to simply “plug into” its framework by quickly and easily tailoring the template files provided. This process of “tailoring” is called RTCGEN.

 

 

 

Essentially, you write your application routines and perform an RTCGEN to package them into special items called subcomponents (i.e., a class in object-oriented design). After packaging all subcomponents of your application, RTC/MLTnet “covers” them with “special software” such that each subcomponent can be placed into any executable task (also via RTCGEN). Note that this technology allows your application subcomponents to be moved (via “plug-and-play”, without recoding) into another execution thread dynamically, even while the system is running!

RTC/MLTnet is a mail-driven/event-driven system. Your subcomponents simply receive incoming mail, process the mail, and send mail out to other subcomponents, not knowing or caring if the sending or receiving subcomponents are in the same executable task, in different tasks on the same platform, or located on different nodes or processors – anywhere throughout the LAN, WAN, or even the Internet.

Packaged via the RTCGEN process, a subcomponent is configured to consist of a set of “mail” callback routines, along with any other internal application routines desired in the subcomponent. Once mail for a subcomponent is received by the RTC/MLTnet system, the mail item is dispatched to the appropriate subcomponent by invoking the configured “mail callback routine.”

RTC/MLTnet Version 5.0 is "bus independent." It will run with any bus (providing device drivers and a proper board support package are available for the platform). In addition, RTC/MLTnet will run over any physical/data link layer medium (e.g., Ethernet, etc.) which supports a network stack (like TCP/IP).

 

RTC/MLTnet Real-Time Functions


RTC/MLTnet performs the following complex real-time computing functions:

  • Data Acquisition
  • Interprocess Communication
  • System Control
  • Equipment Status Monitoring and Control
  • Software Fault Tolerance
  • Time-Driven and Interrupt-Driven Event Processing
  • Network Communication
  • Network Fault Tolerance

In addition, RTC/MLTnet helps you meet all timing requirements, response-time requirements, data throughput requirements, and I/O requirements.

 

RTC/MLTnet Product Features



RTC/MLTnet includes the following general features:

Platform Independence

ARS products use a “platform independent” technology. They can be used repeatedly in current and future projects utilizing different hardware configurations.

RTC/MLTnet was developed specifically to operate independently of your hardware platform’s bus architecture -- whether you are using VME, Compact PCI, etc.

RTC/MLTnet is built on top of your RTOS, libraries, and tools. This allows your application to be built with maximum scalability and portability.

RTC/MLTnet users require no knowledge of operating system principles, networking protocols, RTOS and network APIs, or system service calls to generate high-performance real-time embedded applications. They simply and easily interface to RTC/MLTnet, which performs all the real-time and networking software functionality on behalf of your application. Your embedded applications need never change -- even if your hardware does!

Your applications simply “plug into” the RTC/MLTnet framework by quickly and easily tailoring the template files provided.

RTC/MLTnet can be easily integrated into your Web applications.

Follow a few simple interface rules and you’re ready to go. Your mission-critical applications will now work together seamlessly within the RTC/MLTnet high-performance distributed real-time control system. You write no high-risk software to handle data acquisition, interprocess communication, system control, equipment status monitoring and control, software fault tolerance, time-driven and interrupt-driven event processing, network communication, and network fault tolerance. RTC/MLTnet handles it all!

Dynamic Configuration

With RTC/MLTnet’s Dynamic Configuration Facility, you may dynamically (during system execution) configure the message communication facility to transmit data to any single component or group of components throughout your network. In addition, pieces of your application can actually be placed into another execution thread while the system is running! This technology allows your application software “plug-and-play” interoperability over a diverse computing environment. It also allows your application to quickly and easily “load balance” in an effort to tune itself for maximum performance.

Data Acquisition

RTC/MLTnet supports real-time data acquisition from and to your embedded devices. If your current project needs to interface to a previously deployed device/system (which is not running RTC/MLTnet), no problem. The RTC/MLTnet non-native mode is designed to package raw data from your legacy system, pass it to your applications, then unpackage it, and transfer it back to your legacy system (using its original format).

Once your data is collected, it is passed to your application in real-time, using a state-of-the-art, high-performance, robust message communication facility.

Interprocess Communication

RTC/MLTnet applications communicate with each other by one consistent interface, whether they are in the same executable task, in different tasks on the same platform, or located on different nodes or processors – anywhere throughout the LAN, WAN, or even the Internet.

This technology allows your embedded project to be easily scalable, without modifications to your applications. In other words, by using RTC’s subcomponent multicasting, redundant path, and aliasing features, additional hardware cards can be added (even dynamically), without changes in application software. This can be very useful for embedded projects that contain identical software components executing on more than one node or processor.

System Control

With RTC’s System Control Facility, you write no complicated software to handle overall system startup, initialization, termination, shutdown, or failing over to a backup or hot standby system. While RTC contains very elaborate startup, initialization, termination, and shutdown protocols, you simply “plug in” your application initialization and termination routines. RTC will automatically call them when required.

Software Fault Tolerance

RTC supports a software fault tolerance feature where tasks may be configured with certain attributes indicating course of actions to occur when RTC detects a task has died or hung. Options include: operator notification, automatic system shutdown, automatic system failover to a backup or hot standby system, allowing the system to continue executing in a "degraded-mode," as well as other system control options.

Error Reporting

The RTC Error Reporting Facility allows time-critical tasks to report errors (as well as other events) in real time to a variety of local or remote logging devices -- without delaying mission-critical system operation.

Equipment Status Monitoring and Control

RTC includes an Equipment Status Monitoring and Control Facility allowing software fault tolerant treatment for your embedded devices and equipment. Devices may be configured with certain attributes indicating course of actions to occur upon device failure. Options include: operator notification, automatic system shutdown, automatic system failover to a backup or hot standby system, allowing the system to continue executing in a "degraded-mode," as well as other system control options.

Network Communication and Fault Tolerance

MLTnet utilizes the TCP/IP protocol suite for point-to-point network communication over local and wide area networks (LAN/WAN, and the Internet). MLTnet includes TCP and UDP support for connection-oriented and connectionless communication.

It is important to note that your application components need to know nothing about networking protocols, etc. Your applications simply “send mail” to/from each other, not knowing or caring if the sender or receiver are in the same executable task, in different tasks on the same platform, or located on different nodes or processors – anywhere throughout the LAN, WAN, or even the Internet.

MLTnet contains many features supporting network fault tolerance, such as automatic detection when network connections are lost, automatically attempting to re-establish a connection (if desired), allowing for a group of redundant connections by which data will be automatically transmitted over all connections, if desired, and allowing for a group of failover connections by which data will be transmitted over only one link, i.e., the primary connection. The other connections will be automatically used as “failover connections,” should the primary connection become lost.

MLTnet can also be used in conjunction with RTC to support already deployed "in-field legacy" devices/systems (not currently running RTC/MLTnet).

Simply configure MLTnet and let it go!

Real-Time Visibility Toolset

A common problem today in developing real-time embedded systems is trying to troubleshoot real-time intermittent bugs. RTC/MLTnet provides a toolset allowing you to obtain unparalleled real-time visibility into your complex embedded software system. Real-time updates can be obtained for RTCGEN configuration items of both RTC and MLTnet. In addition, the RTC/MLTnet visibility tools need no “host” services generally required by an RTOS in a lab environment – they are designed to be used even while your embedded application is deployed.

 

Using RTC/MLTnet

To use RTC/MLTnet, you first perform an RTCGEN. Next, each application subcomponent supplies a callback routine for system initialization and termination. RTC will automatically invoke the supplied subcomponent initialization callbacks once the system starts up. RTC will automatically invoke the supplied subcomponent termination callbacks once your system enters the “controlled termination phase,” and is ready to shutdown (if applicable to your system). Next, your application subcomponents simply follow a few simple interface rules, and your embedded application is ready to run. Power up your box or boxes and “let it go.” Use the supplied RTC/MLTnet toolset to obtain unparalleled real-time visibility into your complex embedded software system.


 
 

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