Windows Migration Solution Brief for Medical

September 16, 2019


From pacemakers to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, the medical device industry relies on various embedded devices that still run on Windows® 7. However, on January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will reach end-of-life and thus will no longer be supported by Microsoft.1 Running unsupported versions of Windows is incredibly risky, because vulnerability to the latest security threats grows exponentially with time when the operating system is no longer receiving regular patches.

The logical next step would be to upgrade to Windows 10, the latest version supported by Microsoft. However, doing so might require replacing older processors and internal hardware in various medical machines that are not able to run directly with Windows 10, creating a significant expense that most companies would rather not incur.2 For example, in the banking industry, replacing internal ATM hardware in order to be able to upgrade to the latest release of the Windows operating system is a $4–$6 billion problem.3 Because Windows 10 has already been in use for five years, assuming the typical 10-year Windows operating system life cycle, upgrading now would leave only five more years before the need to upgrade rises again.4 Clearly, companies need a way out of this cycle.

Wind River® offers a better approach, providing two options to save cost, effort, and time without putting your business at risk.

Keep Current Hardware While Also Running Windows 10
Adding Wind River Linux® and a hypervisor into the software stack makes it possible for the existing hardware in embedded medical devices to run Windows 10. The hypervisor runs on top of Wind River Linux, and Windows 10, with its 64-bit drivers, runs as a guest on a virtual machine (VM). Wind River offers an open-source, commercially supported version of Linux targeted at embedded devices, in addition to offering long-term support that includes kernel patches and ongoing security monitoring.

This solution can help reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by circumventing the need to upgrade to a motherboard that supports Windows 10, in addition to avoiding the need to re-architect applications. All Windows 10 functions work as designed, with no performance degradation. Choosing this solution can help prevent the need to send IT workers for major hardware upgrades or monthly Windows patches, because there is an over-the-air option. Additionally, this solution can run both stacks side by side while implementing and testing the replacement. When it comes to security, Wind River Linux offers advanced security measures, including secure boot chains, advanced hard-disk encryption, whitelisting, and product attestation.

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