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Case Study

EASi Supports Crucial Migration to Windows Embedded Compact 7

EASi helps a client migrate to Windows Embedded Compact 7 in order to support the manufacturing of it productivity-enhancing instrumentation for cleanroom contamination monitoring.

The client and challenge
Our client is the largest particle counter manufacturer in the world and a leading supplier of productivity-enhancing instrumentation for cleanroom contamination monitoring. One of its products, a hand-held particulate measurement tool, ran on a Variscite System-on-Module (SoM) that used a Texas Instruments DM/AM 37xx-based CPU/micro-controller in Windows CE 6 OS. With Win CE 6’s extended support expiring, our customer needed to migrate this product to Windows Embedded Compact 7 to continue receiving security patches and other updates. Our customer faced several challenges to completing this work:

  • The original software had incomplete design documentation and no version control for its source code.
  • Variscite no longer natively supported Windows board support packages (BSP) and online help for Win 6 was extremely sparse.
  • Our customer’s internal team lacked expertise in Windows migration and did not want to hire or train internal resources for this one-time effort.
  • Our customer sought external support for the migration so that internal resources could continue their focus on core work while still updating and sustaining a key product on the market.

The EASi solution
EASi developed a work package for this project and executed it from one of our delivery centers. Our team was responsible for migrating and porting Windows bootloader, Windows OS, custom drivers and C/C++/C# applications running on the Variscite SoM from Win CE 6 to Windows Embedded Compact 7.

Using an agile approach, EASi regularly communicated with the customer regarding project progress and the status of our investigations into known/newly identified challenges. We researched the feasibility of several migration options using our prior experience with Windows OS and application migration, Microsoft product support documentation and online communities/coding forums.

Based on this research and the known limitations of the source code having no version control, we decided to create a new OS design by copying our customer’s BSP and selectively copying contents from the Variscite BSP in Windows Embedded Compact 7. This method presented the least risk. Using this approach, we did not lose any custom changes, enhancements or defect-fixes from our customer’s code-base and did not add any unnecessary new features coming in with the Variscite BSP for Windows 7.

To provide quality assurance, we executed a test suite of nearly 350 sanity tests, defined by the customer, as part of acceptance. About five issues were found, and all were resolved during the one allotted week for sanity testing.

The results
The project was originally scheduled for eight weeks, with the assumption that sufficient documentation existed. Upon discovering the required research and solutioning, we extended the project via change order for an additional eight weeks. Over the course of the project, we delivered:

Documentation:

  • BSP and Application Migration Guides
  • BSP Building Guides
  • Migrating the following from Win 6 to Win 7:
  • Windows BSP, including boot-loader and x-loader
  • Windows Kernel drivers
  • Windows Core OS and C/C++/C# applications

Our customer recognized the challenges associated with this project and that these challenges were the reason it sought external expertise. By successfully finishing a technically challenging project, a key product for this customer continues to receive critical security and other updates and serve as a revenue stream for the customer.