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RedHawk Linux RTOS

Real-time performance in mission-critical applications

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What is RedHawk Linux?

The RedHawk™ Linux® operating system is the foundation of Concurrent’s entire real-time product portfolio. RedHawk is the most advanced open-source RTOS available in the marketplace today. With extremely low latency, advanced tuning features and real-time determinism, RedHawk gives your business the advantage it needs to compete – and win – in today’s evolving, technology-driven markets.

RedHawk guarantees real-time performance in mission-critical applications where failing to respond on-time is simply not an option. RedHawk fully leverages the power of multi-processor, multi-core technology, making it ideally suited for challenging server-class and embedded software applications that require superior performance. RedHawk comes installed on all Concurrent iHawk and ImaGen platforms, and is also available as a software-only product.

Learn more about RedHawk

RedHawk Linux


Bringing Real-Time to Linux Since 2002

Since the very first release of RedHawk Linux in September 2002, RedHawk’s true symmetric multiprocessing support includes load-balancing and CPU shielding to maximize determinism and real-time performance in mission-critical solutions. Today, the RedHawk Linux team makes over 350-400 enhancements to open source Linux to deliver a fully preemptible Linux kernel with low-latency, high I/O throughput and fast response to external events.

Scalable Processor Shielding

CPU shielding allows the user to dynamically shield a set of processor from interrupts and other background activities that can interfere with determinism in an application’s execution time. All the interrupts are passed on to unshielded processors leaving the shielded core to dedicate all the resources to the real-time application running on that core. Users can also choose to allow certain interrupts to passthrough to their applications running on shielded processors lowering latencies and providing fast interrupt response times.

Compatible with Popular Linux Distros

RedHawk Linux user-level commands, utilities, and system administration are fully compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Rocky, and Ubuntu. RedHawk achieves its superior real-time performance by integrating the latest official release from with key open source patches and kernel enhancements developed by Concurrent. RedHawk user libraries provide access to value-add features that are not part of other Linux offerings. In addition, RedHawk seamlessly supports digital twins, offering a robust environment for applications that require synchronized real-world and digital representations. RedHawk is fully compatible with standard Linux user-level APIs; thus, Linux applications written for other Linux distributions will run on RedHawk without modification. Furthermore, RedHawk Linux is certified as IPv6 Ready.

RedHawk compatibility with Linux distros

Guaranteed Real-Time Response

RedHawk Linux provides the guaranteed performance needed in mission-critical, hard real-time environments. RedHawk is the ideal Linux solution for a broad range of server and embedded applications such as hardware-in-the loop simulation, training systems, data acquisition, industrial control and medical imaging systems. RedHawk guarantees that a user-level application can respond to an external event in less than 5 microseconds on certified platforms. Concurrent tests RedHawk on a wide range of commercial hardware systems to ensure your solution can meet its performance requirements.

Integration with NVIDIA Drive and Jetson Hardware

RedHawk includes full support for NVIDIA Drive and Jetson hardware. Since March 2019, RedHawk has provided the development environment for Aitech’s A176 Cyclone, an NVIDIA Jetson TX2-based supercomputer. And since June 2019, RedHawk has fully supported the Jetson AGX Xavier platform. RedHawk is perfect for these high performance embedded computing solutions, thanks to its powerful NightStar debugging tools and multi-core architecture support.

Read more about our partnership with NVIDIA

ROS on the NVIDIA Jetson TX2

On systems utilizing RedHawk Linux’s real-time features, significant performance gains can be seen when running ROS. Using the Pendulum Control demo, the sampled latency was 69 times lower, the average latency was 95 times lower, and the worst-case latency was 319 times lower. Our experts have created detailed documentation regarding how to install and run ROS 2 under the RedHawk Linux kernel, as well as an overview of the performance improvements you can expect to see.

Read the white paper

NUMA Performance Optimization

RedHawk NUMA optimization dramatically improves the determinism of real-time process memory access on modern NUMA architectures. RedHawk can ensure that pages of a real-time process are local to a given NUMA node and that no other process’s pages are using that same node. RedHawk can automatically duplicate libraries and other modules as needed and hold them simultaneously in multiple nodes to maximize performance. RedHawk also improves real-time performance by replicating kernel code and read-only data in each NUMA node.

Military-Grade Security Capabilities

RedHawk Linux provides several kernel-level and user-level security features that together can provide powerful levels of security capable of hardening RedHawk systems to military-grade standards. These features include SELinux, Secure Boot, FIPS, STIG, LUKS and TPM.

Architect Tool for Embedded Applications

RedHawk’s Architect is a powerful tool with an easy-to-use GUI that lets a developer choose the Linux and application modules to be included in RedHawk target images, catering to the specific needs of embedded software development. Designed especially for embedded applications, users can select as few or as many packages as desired from many different package groups. Architect allows the file system to be customized and minimized for diskless operation using flash. Architect’s cluster manager software enables users to install and configure systems as highly-integrated, high-performance computing clusters, addressing the demands of embedded software environments.

Learn more about Architect

Advanced Debugging and Analysis Tools

RedHawk Linux users can take full advantage of NightStar, Concurrent’s powerful, integrated tool set for developing time-critical CPU and GPU applications. NightStar tools run with minimal intrusion, thus preserving application execution behavior and determinism. Users can quickly and easily debug, monitor, schedule, analyze and tune applications in real-time. NightStar GUI-based tools reduce test time, increase productivity and lower development costs. Time-critical applications require debugging tools that can handle the complexities of multiple processors and cores, multitask interaction and multi-threading. NightStar’s advanced features enable system builders to solve difficult problems quickly.

Learn more about NightStar Tools


PREEMPT_RT is patch set that attempts to convert Linux into a generic RTOS. Though, RedHawk Linux’s approach to real-time is simpler and far more maintainable, the PREEMPT_RT model may offer some advantages for soft real-time applications utilizing more threads than available CPU cores. For customers already using PREEMPT_RT and attempting to move towards the hard real-time spectrum, Concurrent Real-Time has combined both RedHawk’s proven processor shielding approach with PREEMPT_RT’s generic RTOS model. This integration with PREEMPT_RT helps customers use RedHawk’s hard real-time shielding with dedicated processor cores, while offering soft real-time on all the other cores that can then run hundreds of soft real-time threads simultaneously.

Why choose RedHawk Linux over PREEMPT_RT?


Docker Containers in RedHawk Linux

Docker is a popular container solution that uses a client-server architecture, with the client communicating with the Docker daemon to handle tasks like building, running, and distributing containers. A container is a self-contained unit of software that includes all the necessary components for an application to run smoothly across different computing environments.

Click to find out more about how to create and run a basic “Hello, World!” application container on systems running RedHawk Linux 8.x. The instructions cover both RedHawk Linux systems that use a RHEL base distribution and those that use an Ubuntu base distribution.

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