Kontron and SolidRun Linux-on-NXP Cards Achieve Arm SystemReady Compliance



Kontron and SolidRun each announced several NXP-based embedded products that have achieved Arm SystemReady certification for interoperable Linux stacks and boot systems.

Following Arm’s official announcement of its Arm SystemReady initiative in October 2020, support for the interoperability program began to accelerate. Yesterday, Kontron announced three embedded Linux products based on NXP processors that have received Arm SystemReady certification for standardized firmware and hardware running on Arm-based CPUs. Products include its pITX-iMX8M Pico-ITX SBC and its sandwich-style BL i.MX8M Mini, as well as a new KBox A-203-LS network box with an NXP LS1028A.

Kontron Arm SystemReady IR compatible products (left to right): its pITX-iMX8M, BL i.MX8M Mini and the new KBox A-203-LS
(Click on the image to enlarge)

Earlier this month, SolidRun announced that its HoneyComb LX2K powered by NXP LX2160A card was certified for Arm SystemReady, and at the end of last year Eurotech promised general support. Earlier this year, NXP achieved SystemReady ES certification for its LX2160RDB development platform and is working on certification for two LS104x cards. (See further below for brief summaries of Kontron, SolidRun, and NXP products.)

Arm SystemReady is a compliance certification program that enables interoperability with standard commercial operating systems and hypervisors. The program became the core offering of Arm’s Cassini Project, an “open, collaborative, standards-based initiative to deliver a seamless cloud native software experience for Arm Cortex-A-based devices.” Last month, Arm announced a similar Centauri project targeting Cortex-M microcontrollers as part of its Arm Total Solutions for IoT initiative.

Arm SystemReady specs (left) and an NXP graph showing SystemReady BSA and BBR specifics
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Kontron’s SystemReady certified products all use the SystemReady IR specification for Linux and BSD 32- and 64-bit IoT edge devices. SolidRun’s HoneyComb LX2K complies with the 64-bit SystemReady ES (Integrated Server) specification for deploying server workloads running Linux, Windows, BSD and other operating systems on edge compute platforms .

In addition to SystemReady IR and SystemReady ES, there is also a SystemReady LS (LinuxBoot Server) variant that ensures that a server platform is suitable for deployment on the LinuxBoot firmware stack. The Cassini project also defined a similar 64-bit SystemReady SR specification for cross-platform Arm servers based on the previous Arm ServerReady specification.

Arm SystemReady consists of two main components: the Base System Architecture (BSA), which defines the minimum hardware requirements required to deploy an operating system, and the Base Boot Requirement (BBR), which provides an interface to standard firmware to the operating system to start the firmware. The Architecture Compliance Suite validates BSA at the hardware level and includes extensive tests that cover different aspects of BBR, which is available in EBBR and SBBR variants.

The SystemReady LS and SystemReady SR specifications also define a Server Base System Architecture (SBSA). Finally, Project Cassini has developed an Arm SystemReady security interface extension that certifies that UEFI Secure Boot, Secure Firmware Update, and TPM interfaces are implemented, as prescribed in the Arm Base Boot Security Requirements specification.

pITX-iMX8M, BL i.MX8M Mini and KBox A-203-LS from Kontron

The three Kontron products with Arm SystemReady IR compliance run a Linux stack based on the Yocto project. Earlier this week, we announced that Kontron’s pITX-iMX8M will be offered in a pITX-iMX8M-AI-H8 version with a Hailo08 NPU preinstalled. The Pico-ITX card runs Yocto Linux on the -A53 i.MX8M Mini quad and offers 4 GB of soldered LPDDR4 and up to 64 GB of eMMC 5.1.


The pITX-iMX8M provides Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI ports for 4K video. There are also 2x GbE and 2x USB 3.0 and an M.2 slot with micro-SIM.

Kontron’s i.MX8M Mini SoM SL compute module and sandwich-style mini SBC BL i.MX8M powered by it appear to have been released in 2020. The SoM SL i.MX8M Mini 30x30mm deploys the i. MX8M Mini with 1 GB to 4 GB LPDDR4, 2 MB NOR flash and 8 GB to 128 GB eMMC.

The BL i.MX8M Mini expands the module with GbE and 10/100 Ethernet ports plus 2x USB 2.0 hosts, micro-USB 2.0 OTG and HDMI ports. There is also an LVDS touchscreen interface, microSD slot, and internal I / O including MIPI-CSI, PCIe, USB, serial, CAN, DIO, etc. The 105.5 x 67mm card has a 24VDC terminal socket interface, cryptographic chip and 0-70 ° C support. SystemReady certification seems to apply only to the BL i.MX8M Mini card, not to the module.

We were unable to find any product pages for the apparently new KBox A-203-LS, an IoT gateway with NXP’s dual core, Cortex-A72 LayerScape LS1028A, found on products such as the MBLS1028A -IND SBC from TQ. The compact KBox A-203-LS has 5 GbE ports with TSN (Time Sensitive Networking). The image at the top also shows a WAN port, 2x USB, 2x COM and a DisplayPort.

SolidRun LX2K and NXP LayerScape HoneyComb Cards

SolidRun’s Arm SystemReady ES Compliant Mini-ITX HoneyComb LX2K is equipped with a CEx7 LX2160A COM Express module with up to 64 GB of DDR4 that runs Linux on the Cortex-A72 LX2160A 2.0 GHz, 16 cores from NXP . The network card has two 10GbE SFP + ports and one GbE port.

Detail view of HoneyComb LX2K (left) and NXP SystemReady compatible boards
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them)

The HoneyComb LX2K is further equipped with a microSD slot, 4x SATA III, 3x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0 and a micro-USB serial debugging port. There is an optional M.2 slot for SSDs and an open PCIe x8 Gen 3.0 slot for x16 cards, among other features.

NXP announced its SystemReady ES compliance for the LX2160RDB Reference Design Board in May. The board features the same 16-core LX2160A as the HoneyComb LX2K. Offered in a rack mount format, the LX2160RDB offers multiple 10GbE, 25GbE, and 40GbE ports as well as PCIe and SATA III interfaces and more.

In May, NXP announced that SystemReady ES compliance testing was underway for two additional LayerScape NICs running the -A72 LS1046A quad and the -A53 LS1043A quad. The compact Freeway LS1046A-RDB card based on the LS1046A (FRWY-LS1046A) offers up to 4 GB of DDR4 memory and 4 GB of NAND flash memory, as well as a microSD slot, 4 GbE ports, 2 M.2 slots and 2 USB 3.0 ports. There is also a MikroBus header and Google’s Coral TPU AI chip.

NXP’s LS1043A-RDB Reference Design Card (LS1043A-RDB) offers 6x GbE, 10GbE SFP cage, mini-PCIe, and PCIe. Other features include 2x USB 3.0, 2x COM, and more.

More information

Two of Kontron’s three Arm SystemReady IR compatible products are currently available – the pITX-iMX8M and the BL i.MX8M Mini – while the KBox A-203-LS appears to be in development. SolidRun’s HoneyComb LX2K cards and NXP’s three LayerScape cards, all SystemReady ES compliant, also appear to be available.

More information can be found in the Kontron and SolidRun announcements, as well as on the Arm’s Arm SystemReady product page.



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