Case Study: Virtualization of Legacy IPCs in the Automotive Industry

Case study PDF

"Using Nerve, an old IPC can be replaced with a modern IPC, without the customer having to port their existing software to new Windows versions. This saves considerable engineering effort for porting applications to a new system or recreating legacy functionality with new software on modern hardware.”

  • The Japanese automotive industry delivers quality through continuous improvement of their production processes. However, well-honed processes that work for the organization are often maintained for many years with minimal adaptations.

    In such cases, the software involved may outlive the industrial PCs (IPCs) it was installed on. As a result, hardware may need to be replaced, but the software needs to be maintained as is. However, the software and the respective operating systems, in most cases Microsoft Windows versions (ranging from Windows XP to Windows 2003), do not generally run on newer hardware.

    Additionally, legacy installations do not provide up-to-date features of centralized supervision and management which are desirable in a modern IT infrastructure to reduce the cost of operation.

  • Introducing Nerve as managed edge computing platform addresses the challenges mentioned above by providing legacy IPC virtualization, enriched with software management, monitoring, and remote access capabilities.

    Virtualization is commonly used in data centers and on server-class hardware. Nerve brings virtualization to IPC-class hardware. The hypervisor, core component of any virtualization system, in Nerve is configured to support legacy Windows operating systems by emulating hardware drivers which are not available in modern IPCs.

    Customers replacing hardware often face the challenge of porting existing software, a capability that even the original software vendor may not be able to provide. Using Nerve, an old IPC can be replaced with a modern IPC, without the customer having to port their existing software to new Windows versions. This saves considerable engineering effort for porting applications to a new system or recreating legacy functionality with new software on modern hardware.

    In addition, by migrating the existing application to a virtual machine on a managed virtualization platform, new functionalities become available without any further software changes. As a result, the virtualization of old IPCs is not just a makeshift solution but an actual improvement of the system’s functionality.

    As modern IPCs provide much more computational power than the legacy IPCs which are being replaced, it is often possible to run multiple virtual machines on a single hardware device and to run additional IoT functions on the same device. Such a consolidation of multiple legacy IPCs into a single modern IPC also provides immediate cost reductions.

  • The key benefits for the system integrator and its customer are the lifetime extension of existing software, monitoring, and remote access to their machines on any day and at any time. Furthermore, customers can decouple their hardware from the software infrastructure to reposition applications more flexibly.

    With Nerve, downtime can be reduced by backups, snapshots, and the monitoring capabilities of the centralized Management System. The reduction of downtime increases production efficiency.

The Japanese automotive industry delivers quality through continuous improvement of their production processes. However, well-honed processes that work for the organization are often maintained for many years with minimal adaptations.

In such cases, the software involved may outlive the industrial PCs (IPCs) it was installed on. As a result, hardware may need to be replaced, but the software needs to be maintained as is. However, the software and the respective operating systems, in most cases Microsoft Windows versions (ranging from Windows XP to Windows 2003), do not generally run on newer hardware.

Additionally, legacy installations do not provide up-to-date features of centralized supervision and management which are desirable in a modern IT infrastructure to reduce the cost of operation.

Introducing Nerve as managed edge computing platform addresses the challenges mentioned above by providing legacy IPC virtualization, enriched with software management, monitoring, and remote access capabilities.

Virtualization is commonly used in data centers and on server-class hardware. Nerve brings virtualization to IPC-class hardware. The hypervisor, core component of any virtualization system, in Nerve is configured to support legacy Windows operating systems by emulating hardware drivers which are not available in modern IPCs.

Customers replacing hardware often face the challenge of porting existing software, a capability that even the original software vendor may not be able to provide. Using Nerve, an old IPC can be replaced with a modern IPC, without the customer having to port their existing software to new Windows versions. This saves considerable engineering effort for porting applications to a new system or recreating legacy functionality with new software on modern hardware.

In addition, by migrating the existing application to a virtual machine on a managed virtualization platform, new functionalities become available without any further software changes. As a result, the virtualization of old IPCs is not just a makeshift solution but an actual improvement of the system’s functionality.

As modern IPCs provide much more computational power than the legacy IPCs which are being replaced, it is often possible to run multiple virtual machines on a single hardware device and to run additional IoT functions on the same device. Such a consolidation of multiple legacy IPCs into a single modern IPC also provides immediate cost reductions.

The key benefits for the system integrator and its customer are the lifetime extension of existing software, monitoring, and remote access to their machines on any day and at any time. Furthermore, customers can decouple their hardware from the software infrastructure to reposition applications more flexibly.

With Nerve, downtime can be reduced by backups, snapshots, and the monitoring capabilities of the centralized Management System. The reduction of downtime increases production efficiency.

About the customer

The customer is a Japanese system integrator in the automotive industry with a focus on supporting customers on their way to digital transformation.