The Xilinx® Virtual Cable (XVC) allows the Vivado® Design Suite to connect to FPGA debug cores through non-JTAG interfaces. The standard Vivado® Design Suite debug feature uses JTAG to connect to physical hardware FPGA resources and perform debug through Vivado. This section focuses on using XVC to perform debug over a PCIe® link rather than the standard JTAG debug interface. This is referred to as XVC-over-PCIe and allows for Vivado ILA waveform capture, VIO debug control, and interaction with other Xilinx debug cores using the PCIe link as the communication channel.
XVC-over-PCIe should be used to perform FPGA debug remotely using the Vivado Design Suite debug feature when JTAG debug is not available. This is commonly used for data center applications where the FPGA is connected to a PCIe Host system without any other connections to the hardware device.
Using debug over XVC requires software, driver, and FPGA hardware design components. Since there is an FPGA hardware design component to XVC-over-PCIe debug, you cannot perform debug until the FPGA is already loaded with an FPGA hardware design that implements XVC-over-PCIe and the PCIe link to the Host PC is established. This is normally accomplished by loading an XVC-over-PCIe enabled design into the configuration flash on the board prior to inserting the card into the data center location. Since debug using XVC-over-PCIe is dependent on the PCIe communication channel this should not be used to debug PCIe link related issue.