In a recent post, I discussed the need for cross-vendor cooperation in EDA, especially in my world
of functional verification. It takes a blend of innovative technologies and
methodologies to verify a modern system-on-chip (SoC). Customers also need
training, consulting services to fill short-term needs or expand current skill
sets, and providers of verification IP (VIP) for multiple purposes. As we say
on our Web site, no one company can do it alone. Both the Cadence Connections
program for EDA vendors and our Verification Alliance (VA) provide solutions.
I mentioned in my post that I lead the VA program, so
I'd like to talk about it a bit more and discuss why many of you readers should
care about this alliance. I'll start with a bit of history: the VA was started
more than ten years ago by Verisity
Design as a way to rally partners around their innovative e
verification language. The VA contained numerous companies providing training
and consulting services for e-based verification. These partners
played an important role in helping customers get up to speed on the language
and object-oriented programming.
One critical segment of the VA was the partners providing
VIP. The SoCs that were verified with Verisity's Specman Elite tool often contained
standard interfaces. Licensing robust e VIP saved customers considerable
time and effort while increasing confidence in the implementation of the
standards. The range of protocols required was more than any one small company
could provide, so Verisity proactively built a VIP ecosystem within VA. After Cadence acquired Verisity in 2005, the focus of the VA
program broadened to include companies with expertise in SystemVerilog,
SystemC, and formal analysis.
Today the Verification Alliance remains very much alive and
active. There are currently more than 40 members spanning 14 counties, ranging from solo consultants to some rather large firms. As the primary
approver for membership, I actively seek appropriate companies and invite them
to join. We typically provide a few copies of relevant products so that members
can train their staffs on Cadence verification solutions. Every year we license
several million dollars' worth of our products to our VA partners in exchange
for a small fee.
So what do we get in return? In cases where a VA member is a
product company, they may provide reciprocal copies of their tools or VIP. The
VA consulting and training companies offer a trusty place to send our customers
who might benefit from their services. Sure, Cadence has consulting and
training services too, but we can't always satisfy every demand in every corner
of the world so the VA partners are a welcome backup. As experts in their
fields, many VA partners also provide feedback to help us improve our solutions
for our customers.
Finally, we actively look for opportunities to work with our
partners in public events, especially those reporting on mutual customer
success. For example, Oski Technology gave a presentation at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) last year on a consulting project
for Cisco. Using Cadence's formal-analysis tools, they successfully verified a
complex statistics block in only 3 months versus the 18 months projected for
simulation. As another example, when we launched the UVM World site we called on VA partners to
endorse it, contribute content, and later present at the DAC UVM booth.
I could give lots more examples (AMIQ presenting at
CDNLive!, joint seminars with Doulos, etc.) but I'm sure that you get the
point. The Verification Alliance is an essential program with many proven
benefits to customers, partners, and Cadence. It's a big deal for me, but it's
just one of six major alliance programs here
at Cadence. In my next post I'll pass on some information and thoughts about
the Connections Program. Until then, please let me know if you have any questions
about the VA program or any of its members.
The truth is out there...sometimes
it's in a blog.