One of the first steps in embedded design is choosing a system architecture. Traditionally there have been two main options, symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and asymmetric multiprocessing (ASMP). Today those two options are being combined using virtualization to form a new “soft ASMP” approach that offers many of the benefits of both SMP and ASMP. This article will look at the advantages of each approach and explain how Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) improves the performance of soft ASMP systems.