Freescale Licenses Virtutech Virtualization Platform

Freescale, which had used Virtutech's Simics virtualized development platform to create a couple of chips, is now expanding that licensing agreement. Freescale will license the Simics platform for three years, a move officials say will help not only Freescale engineers but also those of its partners. The move comes after Freescale successfully used the Simics virtualization platform to create its 8572 system-on-a-chip and, later, its QorIQ P4080 multicore processor.

After successfully using Virtutech's Simics virtualized development simulation platform to create a system-on-chip design and, later, a multicore processor, Freescale Semiconductor is extending its licensing of Simics.

In addition to the three-year licensing deal announced April 20, the Freescale Network Systems Division also is designating Virtutech as its preferred simulation partner for its QorIQ line of processors.

Freescale officials said the licensing deal is a win for both its own designers and its partners.

Raja Tabet, vice president of solutions enablement technology for Freescale's Networking and Multimedia Group, said the Virtutech virtualization platform was a key tool behind Freescale's launch last year of its QorIQ P4080 multicore processor.

The p4080 offers eight Power Architecture e500mc cores and consumes less than 30 watts of power. Freescale officials said the chip is aimed at applications that are compute-intensive or I/O-intensive, or both. It can be used in such devices as routers, switches and embedded computing systems in the networking, telecommunications, wireless infrastructure, military and aerospace markets.

Tabet also credited the Virtutech virtualization platform for enabling Freescale and various development partners to create software for the new chip ahead of the time the silicon was available.

Freescale initially licensed Virtutech's platform for its 8572 system-on-a-chip.

"We're taking this partnership and expanding it to support additional devices," Tabet said.

The Simics system simulator lets engineers develop, debug, test and run their application stack on a virtual representation of their desired hardware.

Michel Genard, vice president of marketing for Virtutech, said the virtualized platform gives engineers flexibility in developing their products. For example, the Simics platform can virtualize any processor technology, not just x86-based chips.

The Simics licenses include Virtutech's core Hindsight platform, TLM (transaction-level modeling)-based Model Builder, networking interface, multithreading capabilities, Accelerator and the Simics Model Architecture processors.