Is there an free alternative to National Instruments' NI Real-Time Hypervisor? National Instruments provides both a Windows and Linux versions.


I'm not sure what you're looking to accomplish, but it sounds like a mix of wanting a realtime OS, CPU shielding/affinity and a standard Linux or Windows userspace for development; all on standard hardware.

On the Linux side, this can definitely be accomplished with a realtime OS like RedHat MRG Realtime (commercial), Scientific Linux Realtime (Free) or SuSE's realtime offering (commercial).

That gets you a realtime kernel and OS. If you need to run specific tasks on a specific CPU or CPUs, you can use CPU shielding techniques to perhaps, create a group of CPUs for the OS and another group reserved for your realtime application execution.

Usually realtime and virtualization don't go hand-in-hand. The operating systems listed above provide extremely granular control over processes, scheduling, priority and interrupt handling.

  • Consider this target: - standard multicore PC. - Run a standard app that can manage a GUI, connections to DB, & Hi level communication with other devices using reserved RS232 /ethernet resources (like PC-SCADA-supervisor).- At the same time a CPU core works in a deterministic way(1 usec. resolution), controlling sennsor, digital/analog I/O, or motors, using reserved resources. Realtime and not realtime communicates through a virtual TCP/IP channel but are indipendent – Roberto Jun 1 '11 at 13:26
  • This is possible, I believe. I'll use the example from my industry (high-frequency financial trading). You have a standard OS userland like RedHat or CentOS, but maybe an FPGA or high-end 10GbE network card processing a 15Mb/sec stream of financial market data. Multiple cores are dedicated to one task. Hardware interrupts are assigned to specific CPUs. It'll take some research, but the tools are out there. I also updated my post with a link to CPU shielding resources. – ewwhite Jun 1 '11 at 15:51

I suppose that depends on what you want.

If what you need is a real-time OS to run some DAQ and/or control software, then yes, Linux with the RT patchset offers the usual real-time OS features.

If you want an alternative hypervisor for running Labview RT, then I don't know. It wouldn't surprise we if it refused to run on anything but their own hypervisor.


you mean like Hyper-v. I don't see from the link that the hypervisor your link to does anything special that every type 1 hypervisor doesn't do.

Update - after reviewing it further it appears it contains support for some specialized hardware : "In addition, the Real-Time Hypervisor is specially designed to maintain the determinism of LabVIEW Real-Time programs"

  • From the words "real-time" in the name of the product, presumably it offers deterministic interrupt latency which is not something a general purpose OS offers. – janneb Jun 1 '11 at 11:46
  • Yes. Hard real time + hypervisor - I am surprised there even is such a product. kudos to the manufacturer. – TomTom Jun 1 '11 at 12:14
  • You can run real time OSes in EVERY hypervisor AFAIK. You simply have to adjust the scheduler to prioritize the guests – Jim B Jun 1 '11 at 12:35
  • @janneb from the link "To ensure access to all Real-Time Hypervisor capabilities, use the LabVIEW 2009 Real-Time Module to program applications for the real-time side of hypervisor systems....In addition, the Real-Time Hypervisor is specially designed to maintain the determinism of LabVIEW Real-Time programs" at best this means it has specialized drivers for access to the hardware. – Jim B Jun 1 '11 at 12:39

VxWorks and LynuxWorks both have hypervisors based on hard-realtime schedulers, certified to go airplanes and such. They're NOT cheap, but they do their job.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.