Western Digital + PlatformIO Partner to Accelerate Data-Centric Innovation

SAN JOSE, CA — Western Digital has announced a new a strategic partnership with PlatformIO Labs, OÜ, in collaboration with SiFive, Inc., to extend the openness of PlatformIO vendor-agnostic embedded development platform to include new tools, thereby providing an end-to-end, open environment for innovation, including development for RISC-V.

Western Digital also unveiled key new enhancements to its open-sourced RISC-V SweRV Core and cache-coherent fabric, OmniXten. Together, these announcements further the company’s support of the RISC-V initiative and extend its leadership in the development of new open, purpose-built compute architectures to address the explosive increase in data driven by high-growth applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), and more.

Martin Fink, Chief Technology Officer, Western Digital

“By teaming up with PlatformIO, we are bringing the entirety of its multi-architecture embedded design environment, including debug and trace, to the open-source community. With deep libraries and automated support already built-in, this will allow programmers to easily transition among development platforms, including RISC-V,” said Martin Fink, Chief Technology Officer, Western Digital. “The expanded openness of PlatformIO, along with our recent enhancements to our SweRV Core and OmniXtend cache-coherent fabric, further lowers the barrier for RISC-V development and expands the potential for innovation that will enable us to realize the benefits of bringing compute power closer to data.”

PlatformIO enables the streamlined design of a wide range of embedded hardware and software technology, supporting numerous leading operating systems (OS) and development platforms, as well as hundreds of boards. Its unified project configuration capabilities leverage built-in package and library managers automatically install the required library and toolchains depending on a project build environment.

With support from strategic investments from Western Digital and SiFive, software programmers developing for RISC-V and other architectures can use now use PlatformIO’s previously paid PlatformIO Plus™ features at no cost, including the PIO Plus Unified Debugger and PIO Uniting Testing Engine tools, as well as remote access capabilities. Engineers can also replicate their project in multiple OS environments, thereby providing greater design flexibility, and eliminating the need to learn complex vendor-specific toolkits. With the openness of these unique, multi-architecture testing and debugging resources, PlatformIO is now a fully open-source supportive environment for end-to-end design of embedded technology, including those by the RISC-V ecosystem.

Western Digital is also accelerating RISC-V hardware design with an updated SweRV Core. Integrated into SweRV Core 1.1 are a wide range of improvements that notably enhance its performance and reliability. These include faster divide and fetch functions, the incorporation of I/O timing control, better error correction capabilities, multi-core debug improvements and more. The 32-bit, in-order core was designed for internal usage and open-sourced to the RISC-V ecosystem by Western Digital earlier this year.

In addition, Western Digital’s OmniXtend memory-centric system architecture can now operate with Barefoot Network’s end-user P4-programmable Tofino Ethernet switch ASIC. OmniXtend, a new, open approach to providing cache coherent memory-over-an-Ethernet fabric, enables access to and data sharing with a wide variety of components. The compatibility with the Tofino switch ASIC is significant as it allows data center architects to implement innovative architectures where the main memory is central to the network. OmniXtend enables cache coherency to be equally shared with GPUs, FPGAs, machine-learning accelerators and CPUs. This can support further advancements in data center architectures and purpose-built compute acceleration in data-centric devices.