The project team saw the opportunity to dramatically extend functionality and to position its platforms for the future by adopting a new approach, based on a full-featured embedded processor and OS. As Hydrosix engineers explored their options, a number of limitations arose, including the following:
Cost constraints. As a small company, Hydrosix found the expense of product development based on a commercial OS to be prohibitive.
Time limitations. A built-from-scratch alternative based on free open-source components offered lower up-front costs but would have added undesirable complexity and time requirements to the project.
The Yocto Project proved to be a powerful way to address both these challenges. By streamlining the development of a custom Linux OS, this set of tools and technologies helped Hydrosix develop its new solutions within its cost constraints. Moreover, the entire development cycle from concept to production was completed within two calendar quarters, which is a short period for such a complex body of work, given the adoption of an entirely new hardware and software architecture.2
In addition to these cost and time successes, Hydrosix also reports that the Yocto Project helped optimize solution flexibility and performance. Platform standardization offers a wealth of compatible hardware and software components.
In particular, the company benefits from the breadth of the opensource ecosystem, including optimizations contributed by Intel. Current Hydrosix solutions also incorporate open-source building blocks that include Perl*, SQLite*, and jQuery*.