The folks at ARM have a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem that any creator of a new CPU instruction set is likely to face. How exactly do they enable the creation of ARMv8-compatible chips, devices, drivers, and software without any functioning hardware available for testing?
More acutely, how do they make sure the transition to the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set happens quickly enough to keep up with the crazy-short design cycles of today's tech gear?
The answer, it turns out, is for ARM to build its very own reference platform, complete with a six-core custom SoC. That platform is dubbed Juno, and ARM says it's just now becoming available to customers who could make use of that sort of thing—think SoC makers, kernel and hypervisor developers, the creators of driver software, and the low-level programmers who build things like game engines.