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SoC System Manager white paper delivered for the IP-SOC Conference in Grenoble, France (November 2010).
One of the key challenges associated with designing SoC system management schemes stems from the growing number of programmable devices on-chip. Programmable devices exponentially increase the number of combination's of software operations that drive hardware state changes in real time. This in turn complicates system level testing in order to achieve reasonable test coverage. Optimizing the SoC design for a single operating system provides little relief, because the diversity of applications running on the SoC continues to multiply the testing complexities at the system level.
This paper will discuss design considerations and compare and contrast three system management architectures. The first is an ad hoc system management, which is comprised of combination's of hardware and software elements that serve a dual purpose, one being normal operation, and one for system management. The second is including system management as part of the on-chip interconnects implementation. The third architecture introduces a control plane approach for system management which complements the data centric global interconnect.