Synopsys today announced release of the Virtualizer tool set: a virtual system prototyping platform that brings together tools the company acquired from Virtio (virtual prototyping for software development), VaST (subsystem models), and CoWare (hardware-software coverification).
The announcement is more than a simple rebranding of the acquired product lines, according to director of product marketing Marc Serughetti. Virtualizer includes the previous tools, but adds new models, assembles the capabilities into a single OSCI TLM 2.0-based environment, and provides links into Synopsys’s HAPS hardware prototyping system, instruction-set-level processor simulators, and analysis tools, including some third-party software debug and analysis products.
The concept, Serughetti said, is to create an environment in which a design team can assemble a virtual system prototype, including models at different levels of abstraction. Then designers can create whatever views of the system they need—behavioral, transaction-level, instruction-level, RT-level, or a mixture—to perform a simulation or analysis run.
Synopsys has added tools for model creation and debug, and also application-specific reference designs. Both are intended to get virtual system prototypes up and running quickly. There are also Virtualizer Development Kits: pre-configured subsets of the full Virtulaizer package for specific tasks such as software development, SoC verification, or system testing.
The announcement leaves out a great many details, such as what models are available, descriptions of the model-builder/debugger and various analysis tools, the mechanism for linking models at different levels of abstraction for simulation or—especially—analysis, and just how the user goes about instrumenting and controlling such a multimode prototype. It appears that the system may be assembled and controlled on a TLM 2.0 backplane, but that is not explicitly stated in the product materials.
What is clear is that Synopsys is attempting to meet the disparate needs of early software development and SoC architecture verification in the chip-design world, the needs of software developers working in the Linux/Android world, and the needs of system prototyping teams in specific applications such as automotive and aerospace, all from a single tool set. Given the tendency of tools to become application-specific as they move from conception into actual use, this could be a challenging and resource-consuming effort for the EDA giant. But clearly it is a move in concert with Cadence’s and Mentor’s increasing emphasis on system, and especially software, development needs. Virtualizer and some of the Development Kits are available now.