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Advanced tracing support for ARM based chipsets: what this means for your embedded software development

Anil Khanna

Anil Khanna

Posted May 29, 2013

Yesterday, we announced new versions of the Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer products. Significant new functionality has been added to these releases. In particular, the focus has been given to enhancing the embedded software debugging flow. In relation to this, Sourcery CodeBench now includes trace capability and supports analysis of both software trace (via Sourcery Analyzer technology) and hardware trace via our integration with the Vitra-XD trace probe from Ashling Microsystems.

In this blog, I present Ashling’s thoughts, courtesy Atul Kapur (Director of Embedded Debug Tools division at Ashling Microsystem Ltd.), on the evolution of high-performance embedded architectures and how their debug technologies help address associated challenges.

With the advancements made by ARM™ in high performance high speed multi- core architectures, every major semi-conductor company is adopting ARM technology for their new silicon designs. Recognizing the need to provide software developers insight into the inner workings of these new silicon devices, ARM has made continuous strides in enhancing Debug and Trace IP via the ARM CoreSight™ technology. Here at Ashling Microsystems Ltd, we are extremely pleased to work closely with Mentor Graphics to release a new tracing solution for ARM devices that provides advanced capabilities enabling developers to work through their hard to find, hard to replicate bugs that typically creep up towards the end of a development cycle.

Two of the key guiding principles that have lead to the development of the solution are:

  • Developers should have the ability to capture cycle accurate instruction and data accesses non-intrusively, running the embedded system real-time over an extended period of time, to be analyzed at a later time
  • Developers should have the ability to capture & analyze their software program in real-time non-intrusively, while the system is running

From a hardware perspective, we made sure we built in the right Trace Buffer size, and support for Trace capture speeds that ensured developers would not require to slow down their systems or be forced to consider any other intrusive method to identify their system problems.

From a software debugger perspective, Sourcery CodeBench provides powerful display, analysis and visualization capabilities in handling large amounts of trace data both in real-time, and non real-time. This combined solution simply provides a level of advanced debug & Trace capability that is essential for markets that encompass performance and safety- critical applications. Learn more about the integrated Sourcery CodeBench-Vitra-XD solution.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on if and how you manage debugging high-performance embedded systems. Leave a comment here or start a discussion in the Sourcery user community.

More about Atul
Atul Kapur is Director of Embedded Debug Tools division at Ashling Microsystem Ltd, responsible for steering and managing Ashling’s Business Development and Marketing activities for WW markets. Prior to Ashling, Atul spent over a decade working at the bleeding edge of Embedded Technology in both hardware and software at Texas Instruments. Starting off as a pre-sales engineer demonstrating VoIP technology for the Embedded domain during its early stages of market adoption, Atul has always found himself as part of teams involved in launching innovative and disruptive products. Currently, Atul is focused on making the joint Sourcery CodeBench/ Vitra-XD solution a success in the market.

vitra-xd, tracing, ashling, CoreSight, ARM, trace probe, ETM, Sourcery Analyzer

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About Anil Khanna Follow on Twitter

Anil KhannaI am part of the marketing organization in the Embedded Software Division here at Mentor. Before this I spent 10 years marketing Mentor's hardware design products, specifically in the RTL and high-level synthesis domains. Moving from addressing the requirements of hardware designers to those of software designers has been quite the change. Throw in open-source and you have a heady mix - which keeps me on my toes! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading a good book or the occasional round of golf (in the few hours of sunshine we get in Portland!). I hope you find my thoughts interesting and look forward to your comments. Visit Embedded Blog

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