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Virtualization technology targets multi-core ARM

Nov 21, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

VirtualLogix is touting its virtualization firmware's ability to support multicore ARM processors. The company is demonstrating VLX on quad-core ARM11 chips, and says the product is ready for Cortex-A9 or any other multicore ARM processors that use ARM's five-year-old MPCore interconnect technology.

VirtualLogix has long marketed its VLX virtualization stack's ability to facilitate software migration, by letting legacy stacks run alongside newer stacks (typically Linux) on the same hardware. Now, it suggests the technology can help developers migrate to new hardware designs based on multicore processors, without having to first re-factor their code for parallel execution.

The announcement appears to anticipate the debut of chips based on ARM's multicore Cortex-A9 processor. Announced about a year ago, the Cortex-A9 took center stage at ARM's recent DevCon.

ARM Cortex-A9 in MPCore configuration
(Click to enlarge)

So far, no SoCs based on Cortex-A9 have appeared, as far as we know. However, TI has been an early leader in Cortex-based chips in general, with its Cortex-A8-based OMAP3 family. Last December, TI and VirtualLogix announced they would collaborate virtualization technology for future TI chips, and TI invested in VirtualLogix.

VirtualLogix's demo reportedly will show multiple concurrent operating systems running on a quadcore ARM11 chip. The OSes include a “T-Kernel” real-time operating system (RTOS) and several instances of Linux, says the company. ARM announced MPCore technology in 2004.

Stated Eric Schorn, VP of Marketing, Processor Division, ARM, “Virtualization is being more widely considered in auto-infotainment, mobile internet devices and other embedded applications because of the software integration advantages it brings for multicore architectures.”

Stated Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, VP Mobile Solutions, VirtualLogix, “VirtualLogix customers benefit from hardware advances in multicore without having to re-design their software or wait until they are fully multi-threaded.”

VirtualLogix also recently announced it would support the new Multicore Communications API (MCAPI), which standardizes communications among cores and between multi-core SoCs.


VirtualLogix VLX with ARM support is available now, says the company, which will demonstrate the technology at the ARM European Technical Conference today, in Paris, France.

VirtualLogix competitor Trango announced MPCore ARM11 virtualization more than a year ago. Trango was recently acquired by VMWare.

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