Simulating AXI-based Designs in Active-HDL

Introduction

The full list of Xilinx IPs with an AXI4 interface can be accessed directly from the IP catalog in CORE Generator. The AXI BFM can be used to verify connectivity and basic functionality of AXI masters and AXI slaves with the custom RTL design flow. The component is a part of the secureip library delivered with ISE Design Suite and Xilinx Vivado installations.

Requirements

This application note assumes the following:

  1. You have an AXI license (AXI BFM simulation model) which is separately available from Xilinx. Please contact Xilinx if you do not have an AXI license.

  2. You have Active-HDL installed.

  3. You have Xilinx ISE or Xilinx Vivado installed and licensed from Xilinx.

  4. You have created your design with all necessary AXI BFM and other IPs in place.

  5. Make sure that Active-HDL has the required Xilinx simulation libraries attached.

NOTE: You may refer to http://www.aldec.com/en/support/resources/documentation/articles/1269 on how to create AXI based systems using Xilinx platform studio.

You may refer to http://www.aldec.com/en/support/resources/documentation/articles/1270 on how to try AXI BFM examples available in Xilinx CORE Generator.

Running AXI BFM Simulation for Xilinx ISE

Launching Active-HDL

  1. Make sure that the AXI BFM license is set (i.e. your LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable points to the license server with the AXI BFM license available).

  2. The easiest way to ensure that all necessary Xilinx environment variables are set is to launch Active-HDL directly from the ISE Design Suite Command Prompt which you can access from the Windows Start menu.

    Figure 1. Opening Xilinx command prompt.

    NOTE: The versions of the ISE Design Suite Command Prompt and Active-HDL must be compliant. If you are using the 64-bit edition of Active-HDL, select the 64-bit command prompt. If you are using the 32-bit edition, select the 32-bit command prompt version.

  3. To launch Active-HDL GUI type avhdl.exe in the ISE Design Suite command prompt.

    Figure 2. Invoking Active-HDL.

    Once Active-HDL is invoked, create a new workspace and a design, and add all required source files and scripts.

Compiling and simulating the design

  1. Once you have the workspace and the design, you can proceed with compiling the source files. You can either compile them manually, use your own script file, or use the *.do script generated by Xilinx. Refer to the Figure 3 for an example.

    Figure 3. Running Compilation and Simulation script.

  2. Once the design is compiled, you can initialize the simulation. Simulation can be initialized either through the GUI or by executing the vsim command from the script file or the Console (refer to Figure 3). Whichever way the simulation is initialized, make sure the secureip library and the Xilinx PLI library (libxil_riviera.dll) responsible for the AXI BFM Simulation Model license checks are used.

    Here is how a sample command for simulation initialization should look like:

    vsim +access +r -L secureip -lib work top_level -pli libxil_riviera.dll
    

    NOTE: The PLI libraries referenced above are a part of Xilinx ISE installation at <XILINX_ISE_INSTALL_DIR>/ISE_DES/ISE/lib/<platform>/libxil_riviera.<extension> (the accurate platform-dependent location is already on your search path provided that you followed Step 3 and 4 of the Requirements section).

  3. Once the simulation initialization completes, you may proceed to running the simulation by issuing the run -all command or clicking the Run button on the toolbar.

    Figure 4. AXI BFM License Notification.

    If your design has AXI BFM and the license for it is available, you will see the appropriate notification in the console/shell window (Figure 4).

Running AXI BFM Simulation for Xilinx Vivado

Launching Active-HDL

  1. Make sure that the AXI BFM license is set (i.e. your LM_LICENSE_FILE environment variable points to the license server with the AXI BFM license available).

  2. The easiest way to ensure that all necessary Xilinx environment variables are set is to launch Active-HDL directly from the Vivado Tcl Shell Prompt which you can access from the Windows Start menu.

    Figure 1. Opening Vivado Tcl Shell.

    Note: The versions of Vivado Tcl Shell and Active-HDL must be compliant. If you are using the 64-bit edition of Active-HDL, select the 64-bit shell. If you are using the 32-bit edition, select the 32-bit shell version.

    For users of Vivado 64-bit and Active-HDL 32-bit ONLY: In Vivado 2015.2 and later, the 32-bit support was removed. To allow Active-HDL to run with a 64-bit Vivado, perform the following additional steps:

    • Make sure the following values exist in the System PATH environment variable. C:\Xilinx\Vivado\2015.2\bin;C:\Xilinx\Vivado\2015.2\lib\win32.o (The path may change depending in the Xilinx install directory)

    • Download and install vcredist_x86.exe from Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679

  3. To launch Active-HDL GUI, type the path to avhdl.exe.

    Figure 2. Invoking Active-HDL.

    Once Active-HDL is invoked, create a new workspace and a design, and add all required source files and scripts.

Compiling and simulating the design

  1. Once you have the workspace and the design, you can proceed with compiling the source files. You can either compile them manually, use your own script file, or use the *.do script generated by Xilinx. Refer to the Figure 3 for an example.

    Figure 3. Running Compilation and Simulation script.

  2. Once the design is compiled, you can initialize the simulation. Simulation can be initialized either through the GUI or by executing the vsim command from the script file or the Console (refer to Figure 3). Make sure the secureip library and the Xilinx PLI library (libxil_riviera.dll) responsible for the AXI BFM Simulation Model license checks are used.

    Here is how a sample command for simulation initialization should look like:

    vsim +access +r -L secureip -lib work top_level -pli libxil_riviera.dll
    

    NOTE: The PLI libraries referenced above are a part of Xilinx Vivado installation at <XILINX_INSTALL_DIR>/Vivado/<version>/lib/<platform>/libxil_riviera.<extension> (the accurate platform-dependent location is already on your search path provided that you followed Step 3 and 4 of the Requirements section).

  3. Once the simulation initialization completes, you may proceed to running the simulation by issuing the run -all command or clicking the Run button on the toolbar.

    Figure 4. AXI BFM License Notification.

    If your design has AXI BFM and the license for it is available, you will see the appropriate notification in the console/shell window (Figure 4).

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