What are Embedded Containers?

Embedded Containers package code and its dependencies to enable any software application to run safely and reliably on any hardware platform.


Software Containers Have Taken Over The World

While container technology has been around since at least 2008, it only gained significant notice in IT circles after Docker, Kubernetes, and other related technologies catalyzed a flurry of interest and engagement in this topic. Since then, containerization has gained widespread adoption in organizations due to its ability to accelerate software development and its strong focus on cloud native solutions. With its ability to provide a consistent and portable runtime environment, containerization has become an essential part of modern software development and deployment.

To understand containers is to understand the future of software development”, stated Andrew Hayzen on embedded.com, and it can’t be more true today. Here are a few figures to illustrate this statement:

Most organizations now fully understand the advantages of software containers. Containers enable greater agility and flexibility across the entire product development process, including post-release upgrades, allowing for more responsive and adaptive product development. Furthermore, these cloud-native technologies have expanded beyond their initial use cases and are now being applied to other domains, such as embedded development.


Why Use Embedded Containers?

Following its success in the cloud and IT world, the adoption of containers is gaining momentum in the embedded world due to the real business and technical value they deliver. They can effectively address some of the most pressing challenges faced by the embedded industry, such as the costly and time-consuming outdated development methods, and the cumbersome process of porting software components to other projects.

Embedded containers isolate software from its technical environment, promoting uniformity and reliability across different computing environments. In contrast, traditional embedded software is often monolithic and closely tied to a specific architecture, which can hinder the ability to adapt and scale to new environments or requirements.
The emergence of new breeds of containers, such as MICROEJ VEE, specifically tailored to embedded systems with limited resources, has expanded the benefits of agility and portability beyond cloud, smartphone, or IT domains. These tiny containers provide the same functionality as their larger counterparts but with a fraction of the footprint, making them ideal for resource-constrained embedded systems.


What Are The Benefits MICROEJ VEE Embedded Container?MICROEJ VEE Embedded Containers

MicroEJ developed and launched the standard VEE embedded container in 2012 to alleviate the embedded complexity faced by electronic and industrial manufacturers, enabling them to unleash their product development. As of 2023, more than 200 million MICROEJ VEE containers have been sold to leading customers across various industries, including wearables, smart home, appliances, industrial automation, smart metering, medical devices, and more.


There are multiple benefits to using MICROEJ VEE software container for embedded systems projects. Here are just a few examples:

  • Accelerated Development

MICROEJ VEE embedded container offer a solution to reduce hardware and software dependencies, enabling parallel design and expediting innovation through the reuse of software assets. With the ability to design these assets in different languages by different teams, maintenance can be done separately, allowing for greater flexibility and agility in development. By reducing dependencies, embedded containers not only streamline development, but also minimize hand-offs between hardware and software teams and enabling parallel development, resulting in faster time-to-market and increased efficiency.

  • Increased portability

MICROEJ VEE containers offer a key advantage by creating a portable and consistent runtime environment, independent of specific hardware. This allows for easy portability of applications to different environments in a matter of weeks, instead of months. This flexibility is especially valuable in situations where hardware becomes unavailable, obsolete or when a manufacturer seeks to expand its product line. With embedded containers, businesses can adapt quickly to changing technology landscapes, leading to reduced downtime and improved efficiency.

  • Incremental innovations

Embedded containers are invaluable to developers, simplifying the development and testing of new features, and enabling more efficient troubleshooting of bugs. Continuous integration facilitates incremental innovation, and containerized applications maintenance through over-the-air updates. Developers can easily incorporate the latest machine learning models, security features, and UI features to keep up with IoT and industrial industry requirements. This is crucial in ensuring the smooth functioning of system components over extended periods of time, where regular updates are necessary.

  • Enhanced security and reliability

Containers provide superior IoT security by compartmentalizing applications within secure sandboxes that have dedicated memory space. In the event of unexpected behavior, faulty applications are offloaded without impacting the rest of the system. This design also enhances security by enforcing separation of concerns. With MicroEJ, apps are considered untrusted by default, and the MICROEJ VEE ensures binary compatibility and system safety. A security manager grants access to critical device functions only when explicitly permitted.

  • Increased Sustainability

While all embedded containers provide these advantages, only small software containers capable of operating on memory-constrained, low-power devices can maintain a low carbon footprint for IoT devices by optimizing hardware requirements.Compared to high-end application containers, these tiny containers, like MICROEJ VEE, not only reduces carbon emissions during production but also minimizes energy consumption throughout the device’s lifespan. In addition to being environmentally friendly, smaller hardware requirements result in cost savings in the bill of materials. Thus, embracing this technology not only benefits the environment but also improves the bottom line.


How Can MicroEJ Help in Your Embedded Container Strategy?

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive market, businesses need to be agile and efficient to stay ahead of the game. Embedded containers have emerged as a game-changer, offering the flexibility to rapidly launch new products and create new business models based on servitization. However, to fully realize the potential of this technology, organizations need proven and optimized solutions.

That’s where MicroEJ comes in. Its VEE software container is the first and only container proven to support low-power and cost-efficient MCUs, MPUs, and SoCs. With MICROEJ VEE, businesses can benefit from traditional IT-like technology to rapidly develop edge devices without compromising performance or user experience. The software container is perfectly suited for use cases in the Internet of Things (IoT), industrial automation, and consumer electronics, where resource efficiency, portability, and standardization are essential.

By leveraging MICROEJ VEE embedded container, organizations can achieve unparalleled agility and efficiency by bringing the world and the culture of the server to the edge. Whether launching new products more rapidly, responding to supply chain disruptions, or meeting the demands of today’s fast-paced market, MICROEJ VEE empowers businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

Stay ahead of the competition by taking advantage of MICROEJ VEE’s capabilities today.

Additional Resources

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