Have You Had A V8 today?

That’s ARM v8, of course. Delaying the development of new software is only postponing the inevitable.


By Nithya Ruff
The quick road to the recommended daily allowance of vegetables and fruits is often a bottle of V8. It’s quick, nutritious, and it makes us feel less guilty about any of our nutritional imbalances. It makes us feel virtuous, because we have done something good for our body today.

So why do we postpone the inevitable? By this I mean developing new software for a new piece of hardware. The whole system is geared to putting it off as long as possible and then working insanely to finish it. Our excuses are many.

— I do not have hardware to start development…

— My software team is busy with the previous program….

To which I say, there is no better time than the present to start software development for ARMv8 processors.

At the 2011 ARMTechCon in Santa Clara, ARM announced the availability of ARMv8 architecture which will allow ARM-based processors to support 64-bit computing while leveraging ARM’s low power processing. The announcement of any new architecture set the ecosystem wheels in motion to support this new architecture.

There were multiple announcements at ARM TechCon 2012 on new licensees such as AMD, which will use the ARMv8 architecture to address their markets. The availability of 64-bit computing combined with the legendary power efficiency from ARM will lead to new market adoption and uses for this architecture such as servers, cloud computing, networking, as well as ARM’s traditional mobile and consumer markets.

With so many new customers adopting this new architecture, tools to allow porting of software and use of legacy software on this new architecture are critical. Tools are an absolute necessity for those very new to the ARM architecture, and even those used to the ARM architecture, to prove their code in the 64-bit processing environment.

ARM has been working hard along with its ecosystem partners to prepare for this migration, adoption of tools, education and communication. At Synopsys, it has been a busy time to extend our already available support for ARMv7 processors and our experience in this area to ARMv8 processors. With the announcement last week, we entered this exciting new world of ARMv8 architecture.

When there is no hardware and you just have to get started, especially with a new architecture, there is nothing better than Virtualizer Development Kits (VDKs) to start the work. What these VDKs do best is to allow you to not feel guilty but to start booting your legacy software now, develop drivers now and get it ready for when that hardware arrives. And when it does, you will be some of the first ones to be able to boot in minutes on the hardware and go to market quickly. Synopsys’ VDK for ARMv8 Processors comes with ARM’s Cortex-A57 Fast Model, popular DesignWare peripherals and IO models included so you can boot your OS or develop drivers. And it plugs into your debugging environment and gives you enhanced hardware/software views to tackle hard bugs. Just like drinking that V8 juice, it feels good and right.