By Jakob Engblom
When you explain what a virtual platform or full-system simulation solution like Wind River Simics is, a key part is that it runs the same software as a physical board or physical system. This does capture the core of the idea – but it does not mean that the virtual platform is only "just like the real thing".
Comparing virtual and physical systems is like comparing apples and apples, not apples and oranges: while apples are mostly interchangeable, they is certainly variation between them. Some apples are best for eating, some are better for making sauce, some are pie material, and some are best for fermenting cider. The type you select depends on what you want to cook. The difference between physical and virtual hardware is similar: they can be used as replacements for each other to some extent, but the connoisseur can make much better use of both by looking at the differences.