Emulation platform with VirtuaLAB capabilities can run 24/7 across multiple teams

Emulation platform with VirtuaLAB capabilities can run 24/7 across multiple teams

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By eeNews Europe

Veloce2 is built upon a totally new full custom emulation IC Crystal2, developed from the ground up in a 65nm technology by the EDA vendor. The platform is so fast that emulation can be run several times per day, compared to what used to take several days or weeks for the software emulation of large designs. As an example, VP & General Manager Eric Selosse gave the example of a digital camera SoC that would take 13 days of software emulation but only 20mn on Veloce2. Five years ago, compiling a design for hardware emulation was not easy, but the company says it has invested heavily in the front-end software to prepare the designs for the emulator (without asking the designer to do it). This was a major barrier to the adoption of hardware emulation, says the company, despite the need for more and more software verification and the time limitations of sofware emulation.


The ASIC specifically designed for the Veloce2 emulator.


In addition, a new concept called Veloce VirtuaLAB gives verification engineers access to easy-to-use software-based peripherals, connected to the Veloce platform, which provide a “virtual lab” environment to verify complex electronics systems including the embedded software and the SoCs that make up the system prior to first silicon availability. The Veloce VirtuaLAB builds on the emulator’s ability to run hardware designs written in RTL at megahertz speeds. By integrating RTL models of key peripheral like USB, Ethernet, PCIe, and the like the Veloce VirtuaLAB is able to create a full target environment that allows developers to validate both the hardware and embedded software, before any hardware is manufactured. This means that an emulator could sit in a cooled IT room and be bombarded with compliance test cases from different teams around the world without having to set it up physically in a lab for every new peripheral. The company had been working on such a virtual lab environment for the last 8 years, but it only became a reality over the last two years, explained Selosse.

Previously, system developers had to connect physical peripherals to the emulator via hardware speed adaptors, making the process cumbersome, and expensive to support multiple users simultaneously. Veloce VirtuaLAB peripherals are available for most popular protocols, such as multimedia video/audio standards, Gigabit Ethernet, USB, PCI Express, SATA, and SAS with more to come.

Another interesting feature of Veloce2 is the capability to save and restore the state of booted RTOS as a shortcut to uninteresting run time. Designers can also offload the code logfiles to export the emulation data and debug their design offline, freeing the emulator for other tasks. In the future, Mentor plans to leverage its investments in the software front end by updating its emulation platform with higher capacity ASICs.

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