Saturday, August 6, 2011

Military Embedded Systems 2011 07-08

Multicore platforms are capable of delivering higher performance, lower power consumption, a smaller physical footprint, and even a lower bill of material costs as compared to single-core platforms. However, none of those benefits will come unless legacy single-core optimized software applications are successfully moved onto multicore architectures. This does not necessarily mean that lots of software refactoring work needs to be done. But it does mean that developers need to have the right knowledge and tools to assess their options and select the right one. The most straightforward approach to legacy software migration is to consider the multicore platform as the same collection of single-core processing engines in use today, except that the cores are now all in one physical package. In other words, for each processor, developers will select the appropriate OS and application to run on it. Virtualization is a popular method to achieve this and is sometimes seen as the first step in the multicore journey. This approach consolidates discrete processing functionality onto a multicore platform and requires limited new knowledge and software refactoring, although it will only deliver a fraction of the performance, power, size, and cost benefits mentioned earlier because it does not utilize the inherent parallel processing available.