Home > 40nm, embedded processor, FPGA, Linux, Nios II processor, Open Source, Wind River > Altera Nios II processor gets Wind River Linux support

Altera Nios II processor gets Wind River Linux support

March 5, 2009

Wind River recently announced the Wind River Linux support for Altera’s Nios II embedded processor.

Commenting on the Nios II processor adoptiion, Mikeson Wang, Product Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific, Altera Corp., in Hong Kong, highlighted that it has over 20,000 licensees worldwide, and is used by each one of the top 20 OEMs. The Nios II processor happens to be the industry’s #1 soft core CPU, as per Gartner Dataquest. There exists a very vibrant Nios Forum community of over 10,000 users. It is also used by developers in all Altera markets.

Wind River delivers Linux support for the Nios II processor also means that the #1 FPGA processor is now supported by best-in-class embedded Linux. Also, Nios II plus embedded Linux = BOM cost reduction.

It is a compelling alternative to discrete off-the-shelf processors. Wind River customers have access to Altera’s full spectrum of FPGA and HardCopy ASIC solutions as well.

Wang added that the Nios II is popular because of providing design flexibility. Being a custom fit solution, it is also easy to modify hardware at any time.

Why Linux + Nios II
There are several reasons. First, it provides cost reduction through integration. Users can replace the existing CPU with an FPGA running Embedded Linux. Next, it provides protection from processor obsolescence. This in turn, protects the software legacy code, which happens to be a customer’s biggest investment.

This combination also allows design flexibility. Besides providing access to open source software, the time to market gets reduced as well.

Highlighting the reasons for the Altera-Wind River partnership, he added that Wind River is the best-in-class Linux partner, with worldwide sales, support, training and service infrastructure. Wind River is also the no. 1 embedded OS supplier for the communications market.

Altera itself has a strong presence in the communications market. Also, the FPGA processor use is a growing trend in embedded applications; and Nios II is leading FPGA soft processor. There is also a significant overlap of Altera and Wind River’s customer base, such as Huawei, ZTE, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent, etc., to name a few.

Deliveables include:
Altera
* Cyclone III FPGA Development Kit (3C120)
– DK-DEV-3C120
* Linux Hardware Reference Design (Quartus II Project)
– Current design: 125 MHz in 3C120
– Nios II performance: 150 – 300 DMIPS *

Wind River
* Wind River Linux Distribution
* Wind River Workbench for Nios II
– Workbench IDE with Nios II Support
– GNU Tool Chain, Board Support Package
* Flash files (HW & SW for 3C120 board)

The Cyclone III FPGA development kit is a complete platform for prototyping embedded systems.

In summary, the Wind River-Altera partnership helps reduce system cost and TTM, and increases system flexibility. Altera and Wind River already share several customers, and hence, this is a win-win partnership. The strategic partnership with Wind River complements Altera’s silicon, soft processor and FPGA development, besides, Wind River’s industry-leading embedded Linux distribution.

How will this partnership boost FPGA sales? According to Wang: “The current weak demand is due to recession. We see weak demand in every segment. However, we are still outperforming the market.”

Although leading-edge FPGAs are scaling to 40nm and beyond, have the tools caught up with these new and complex processes? Wang added that the process does not have any significant impact.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: