3 Methods for Monitoring Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are widely used in a number of industrial and consumer products, such as cars, coffee makers, home appliances, pacemakers, satellites, manufacturing equipment, and so on. They comprise both software and hardware components such as microprocessors, microcontrollers, and specially designed Digital Signal Processors (DSP).

Embedded systems are typically designed for the individual piece of hardware they run on. They are essentially programmed controlling systems with a dedicated function, and real-time constraints such as power usage, memory usage and so on. They play a crucial role in the overall success of the devices and systems that utilize them. A single device can contain multiple embedded software programs.

There are three possible methods for monitoring embedded systems. The best technique to use varies depending on the individual scenario.

Monitoring via hardware

Modern-day embedded systems designers, consider metrics like power, performance and so on for embedded systems.  Using a hardware device or probe to measure these metrics and verify them is monitoring via hardware.

This method minimizes the intrusion caused by the execution of the monitoring code to the target, thanks to the separate hardware for system monitoring. However, it has its own set of limitations like the reduction of the silicon platform size which makes it difficult to use additional hardware. Communicating via an external hardware also becomes difficult when there is a strict execution timeline.

Monitoring via software

As the name suggests, in this process, monitoring is done via software. Code is added into the system’s OS or by using a separate monitoring process for the target. The advantage of using this process is that the monitor is flooded with information, unlike the limited information obtained by hardware probes. However, this can result in a delay in the execution of the software code because of the execution of the monitoring codes.

Blending of probes

This hybrid monitoring blends both hardware and software techniques to monitor the target system.  This is entirely dependent on the advantages of the other two probing techniques, and could also try to dampen their limitations.

To conclude, we can see that monitoring embedded systems is beneficial for both the end-users and the industry. While the end-users enjoy rich and extensive experiences, industry players can enjoy many new business opportunities by creating general monitoring solutions to service the industry.

If you require any support developing embedded systems or support for embedded systems maintenance, please feel free to contact us. Our experts would love to hear from you and provide guidance and strategies that suit your organization.

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