Network distribution of kernels

In its simplest form, local area networking provides a mechanism for sharing files and peripheral devices among several interconnected computers. BlackBerry 10 OS goes far beyond this simple concept and integrates the entire network into a single, homogeneous set of resources. Any thread on any machine in the network can directly make use of any resource on any other machine. From the application's perspective, there's no difference between a local or remote resource—no special facilities need to be built into applications to allow them to make use of remote resources.

Users may access files anywhere on the network, take advantage of any peripheral device, and run applications on any machine on the network (provided they have the appropriate authority). Processes can communicate in the same manner anywhere throughout the entire network. Again, the OS's all-pervasive message-passing IPC accounts for such fluid, transparent networking.

Single-computer model

BlackBerry 10 OS is designed from the ground up as a network-wide operating system. In some ways, a native BlackBerry 10 OS network feels more like a mainframe computer than a set of individual micros. Users are simply aware of a large set of resources available for use by any application. But unlike a mainframe, BlackBerry 10 OS provides a highly responsive environment, since the appropriate amount of computing power can be made available at each node to meet the needs of each user.

In a mission-critical environment, for example, applications that control realtime I/O devices may require more performance than other, less critical, applications, such as a web browser. The network is responsive enough to support both types of applications at the same time—the OS lets you focus computing power on the devices in your hard realtime system where and when it's needed, without sacrificing concurrent connectivity to the desktop. Moreover, critical aspects of realtime computing, such as priority inheritance, function seamlessly across a BlackBerry 10 OS network, regardless of the physical media employed (switch fabric, serial, and so on.).

Flexible networking

BlackBerry 10 OS networks can be put together using various hardware and industry-standard protocols. Since these are completely transparent to application programs and users, new network architectures can be introduced at any time without disturbing the OS. Each node in the network is assigned a unique name that becomes its identifier. This name is the only visible means to determine whether the OS is running as a network or as a standalone operating system.

This degree of transparency is yet another example of the distinctive power of BlackBerry 10 OS's message-passing architecture. In many systems, important functions such as networking, IPC, or even message passing are built on top of the OS, rather than integrated directly into its core. The result is often an awkward, inefficient double standard interface, whereby communication between processes is one thing, while penetrating the private interface of a mysterious monolithic kernel is another matter altogether.

In contrast to monolithic systems, BlackBerry 10 OS is grounded on the principle that effective communication is the key to effective operation. Message passing thus forms the cornerstone of our microkernel architecture and enhances the efficiency of all transactions among all processes throughout the entire system, whether across a PC backplane or across a mile of twisted pair.

Last modified: 2015-03-31

Got questions about leaving a comment? Get answers from our Disqus FAQ.

comments powered by Disqus