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Improve embedded system development with simulation

3rd February 2020
Anna Flockett

Many organisations rely on traditional embedded system development processes. These processes work fine – but ultimately prevents the organisation from advancing further. Relying on physical labs for testing and development holds back innovation and slows things down.

Guest blog written by Sean Evoy, Wind River.

Advanced hardware and system simulation solutions reshape this entire dynamic. Wind River Simics software enables developers and testers to work in virtual lab environments so teams can quickly build software-based simulations for any target environment they need.

Get all the details on the benefits and uses of simulation in our eBook:

The Business Case for Full System Simulation in Embedded Development (download here).


Use hardware and system simulation

One way to address the varied challenges inherent in relying on physical labs for dev, test, and support is to use software to simulate hardware and system functionality. Using a full system simulator like Wind River Simics allows teams to take a different, more efficient approach by decoupling the software development process from hardware availability. Using advanced software, Simics can mimic a wide variety of hardware types and operating systems along with an extensive array of peripherals, boards, and networks.

Simulation eliminates embedded development roadblocks.

Complex simulation

The concept of using hardware simulation is not new, but Simics takes the capability to a higher level. While most simulators can validate hardware, most are too slow to run anything except simple code. In contrast, Simics can run a full software stack, including a full Linux environment. It can simulate systems of any size, from a single microcontroller to large-scale networks with hundreds or even thousands of nodes. Users can run the same binary (compiled software code) on Simics as they do on a physical hardware board.

Productive modelling

Simics enables the user to model large interconnected systems. This might include multiple combinations of devices, architectures, and operating systems. It also provides the ability to simulate systems that don’t exist yet by mimicking the activities of boards and peripherals based on their design specifications. For example, it could simulate the functioning and speed of a new, not-yet-on-the-market Intel chip. In addition, Simics can create a realistic simulation of systems with multiple components, like satellites or IoT devices in the field.

Once the user has created a model of the system in Simics, he or she can simulate numerous operational scenarios with multiple tests running concurrently. For instance, the user can manipulate time running forward and backward, or perform deterministic bug recreations. Once a bug has been identified, the Simics user can easily pinpoint and recreate it as many times as necessary.

In short, companies can use Simics at all phases of the product lifecycle.

  • In the design phase, they can experiment with different hardware setups to validate design assumptions before committing.
  • In the development phase, they test and run software on virtual systems that perform exactly as they would in the physical world.
  • In the testing phase, software debugging no longer requires expensive hardware setups and provides perfect control over the virtual target, to isolate problems efficiently.
  • Throughout the entire process, developers work on the real target system with the same toolchain, libraries, operating system API, and operating system behaviour.

Simulation streamlines embedded system development

Simics is the solution organisations need to improve embedded system development. By decoupling hardware and software, teams can begin testing sooner and accelerate the entire development cycle. These advances put products into the revenue stage more quickly which increases market share to provide numerous business and financial benefits. Don’t let physical labs hold you back – implement simulation with Wind River Simics to improve embedded development.

Interested in learning more about how simulation can support your embedded system development? Download the complete eBook.

If you’re ready to get started with Simics, talk to one of our simulation experts.

Courtesy of Wind River.

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