Today’s embedded development projects are more complex than ever – but the good news is that designers have never been better supported with hardware and software tools that can help make their ideas a reality. At UltraSoC we see ourselves as very much a part of that enabling ecosystem: and that’s why we partner with providers of best-in-class development tools that can help engineers to make maximum use of our monitoring and analytics products.
Debugging and integration consumes about one-third of the total time (and therefore cost) of development: anything that makes this more efficient has a huge impact on the commercial success of a project. Engineering cost, time-to-market, and competive advantage all depend crucially on the effectiveness of development tools.
The embedded eco-system is all about partners, and a key partnership we announced recently is our collaboration with Lauterbach, the leading manufacturer of complete, modular and upgradeable microprocessor development tools.
With nearly 40 years of experience in embedded design, Lauterbach is probably as close as our industry gets to a “household name”. Better still, our two companies have much in common in our vision for embedded systems development. We share a fundamental belief that embedded designers need and desire access to a comprehensive range of high-quality IP-vendor-independent tools when they are developing their SoCs.
The collaboration between UltraSoC and Lauterbach creates a powerful, independent system-on-chip (SoC) development and debug environment by bringing together the TRACE32 integrated, universal development system and our own on-chip debug and analytics IP. It’s a combination that significantly simplifies the work of engineering teams creating advanced SoCs.
TRACE32 is a set of modular embedded development tools with integrated debug environments that support a wide variety of processor architectures – including all of the most popular cores in use today. Integration with UltraSoC allows monitoring of any on-chip structure, including busses and custom logic, in addition to the tools’ existing CPU support. UltraSoC’s message-based on-chip communications fabric and high-speed external interface capabilities – USB for example – open up even more possibilities. Together, TRACE32 and UltraSoC’s IP give design teams a uniquely intimate understanding of the internal operation of their devices – at wire speed and under real-world conditions.
Lauterbach’s debug tools provide run control, OS-support, multicore debugging and on-chip trace. The debugger itself supports more than 80 processor architectures, multiple programming languages and most compilers and hosts. It is particularly suitable for chips that use multiple heterogeneous CPUs, and is specifically designed to suit any multicore architecture.
By providing a direct interface to the UltraSoC on-chip debug and analytics fabric, we have given TRACE32 users complete control over the debug features of UltraSoC’s silicon IP, and full access to the information generated by our range of on-chip monitors and analytics engines. The result is exactly what embedded designers are looking for today: a holistic, overarching SoC development and analytics solution.
There is a growing awareness of the importance of a development continuum: having a toolflow that links from modeling, simulation, development, and debug, and on into the field. By integrating UltraSoC’s IP into a device, the developer can, post-silicon, better understand their device.
Tools like Lauterbach’s have traditionally been used in the lab, with probes connecting to specialist debug ports that are disabled in final product. But by integrating with UltraSoC those tools gain a new area of applicability: they become valuable for in-life and in-field applications too. This makes it dramatically easier to identify hard-to-find bugs that only crop up in real applications, or to help understand and optimize actual performance. What is more, UltraSoC provides a secure mechanism for connections, eliminating the need for debug ports with their security concerns.
Our partnership with Lauterbach is just one example of the power of a strong, independent embedded development ecosystem. At UltraSoC we’re committed to extending and deepening that ecosystem, through partnerships with companies like Lauterbach and Teledyne LeCroy, as well as our work with processor vendors such as ARM, Cadence XTensa, CEVA and MIPS – and there are some other very significant ones coming along.
You can read more about UltraSoC’s vendor-independent debug and performance analysis architecture by downloading our white paper, “Performance monitoring using UltraSoC”.