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Wind River extends support for MIPS64 SoCs

Mar 22, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Wind River and Cavium Networks announced a partnership to co-market Linux- and VxWorks-based multi-core solutions. Aiming Cavium's MIPS64-based Octeon and Octeon II system-on-chips at the networking and telecom markets, the partnership is the first deal between the companies since Cavium acquired Wind River rival MontaVista in December.

The "multi-year strategic partnership" calls for Wind River to support Cavium's Octeon, Octeon II, and "a subsequent processor family" of system-on-chips (SoCs) with board support packages (BSPs) based on its commercial Linux distribution Wind River Linux, as well as its VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS). In addition, the companies will align long-term product roadmaps, says Intel subsidiary Wind River.

In addition to providing distribution support, Wind River will support the Cavium SoCs with various multi-core enabled technologies, including its Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) and Asymmetric Multiprocessing (AMP) technologies, as well as network acceleration and offload tools. Wind River says it will also support the Octeon and Octeon II with "virtualization," likely referring to Wind River Hypervisor, which was recently upgraded to version 1.1. The new version adds support for Intel Nehalem and Core i5/i7 processors, enables new inter-virtual machine communications, and debuts virtual board debugging via Wind River On-Chip Debugging.

Other tools supporting the SoCs are said to include Wind River's Eclipse-based Wind River Workbench integrated development environment (IDE), which was recently upgraded with improved multi-core support. Workbench includes the aforementioned On-Chip Debugging product, among other development tools.

Octeon II architecture

Cavium announced its next-generation Octeon II processors last April, with a goal of sampling the SoCs by the fourth quarter. Like Cavium's previous Octeon Plus SoCs (which are part of the original "Octeon" family), the Octeon II targets networking, storage, wireless, and control applications.

The Octeon II combines up to 75 application acceleration engines, power optimization components, and virtualization support features. Unlike the Octeon Plus processors, which topped out at 16 cores with its top-of-the line CN5860, the Octeon II offers versions that combine up to 32 MIPS64 cores. Cavium further claims that the Octeon II offers more than twice the performance per Watt and performance per dollar than the Octeon Plus. The SoCs are said to support networking equipment running at speeds ranging from 100Mbps to 40Gbps, and support throughput and programmability for Layer 2 through Layer 7 networking processing requirements.

Partnership reignited despite MontaVista acquisition

Wind River and Cavium launched their original partnership to support the Octeon processors back in 2007. In September of last year, after Wind River was acquired by Intel, the company signaled that it would continue to work with Cavium when it announced that Wind River Linux 3.0 for MIPS complied with the Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) 4.0 networking equipment specification, thereby extending CGL 4.0 support for Cavium's Octeon processors. The support was also extended to MIPS64-based multi-core processors from RMI Corp., which has been acquired by NetLogic Microsystems.

Wind River has so far shown itself to be serious about continuing to support processors from a wide variety of semiconductor vendors other than its new owner, Intel Corp. However, "support" is not quite the same as a multi-year strategic partnership, and the Cavium relationship was thrown into doubt in December when Cavium acquired MontaVista Software, a long-time rival of Wind River in the commercial Linux distribution business. MontaVista also supports the Octeon processors, with its MontaVista Linux 6 distribution.

Stated Roger Williams, VP, Alliances and Business Development, Wind River, "Our partnership no doubt sends a strong message to the market about our long-term commitment to support multiple generations of Cavium products, and equally significant is the importance of aligning and optimizing the two companies' leading multicore hardware and software solutions."

Stated Rajiv Khemani, VP and GM, Networking and Communications Division, Cavium Networks, "In addition to the current Octeon family of processors, customers can expect future Octeon processors will be supported and optimized by Wind River quickly after market launch."


More information on Wind River may be found here, and more on Cavium Networks should be here.

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