Charlie Giorgetti is corporate vice president of solutions and product marketing at Cadence. In this interview, he discusses Cadence’s product strategy, and outlines five “solutions” that are the current focus of Cadence’s marketing efforts. These solutions will be highlighted at next week’s Design Automation Conference.
Q: How has Cadence’s product strategy changed or evolved over the past few years, given the current economic challenges?
A: Over the past few years, we’ve evolved from products to platforms to solutions. We are becoming more aligned with what our customers are doing through an integrated solutions orientation because that is how they are communicating with their customers.. When I worked at Intel, we weren’t just building a network processor, we were building a software environment for it with sample applications. It was a solution that was close to the needs of the customer. Our customers expect the same from us now -- a set of capabilities that are closely aligned to what they are trying to achieve with a deep understanding of their technical and business problems.
We’re looking at our product strategy from a solution orientation, whether it be low power, or mixed-signal, or advanced nodes. Our roadmaps are being driven by a deeper understanding of our customer’s problems more and more, and the platforms and products roll from that understanding. Certainly we’ve had to curtail some of our investments, but we are maintaining our overall strategy of being a full-line supplier. We are making investments in system-level design, logic design, verification, implementation, PCB, and manufacturing. We are continuing to focus on our core capabilities while refining our focus.
Q: What are you seeing in the customer base with respect to buying and purchasing decisions?
A: With the economic conditions our customers are facing, they’ve had to become much more focused on first-time success – both technically and from a business perspective. Obviously they are looking at ways to mitigate risk. Our solution orientation helps them look at the broader problems they’re dealing with, as opposed to just the application of a tool. They want to push decisions further and further up into the design cycle, so they’re taking a look at system-level approaches and considering how they can add more confidence to decisions they’re making.
Another trend we’re seeing is a lot more derivative designs. People are taking existing designs and making refinements to them, or looking at ways in which they can be applied to new applications.
Q: What is Cadence’s message going into DAC this year?
A: DAC is a place where Cadence wants to be seen, and be perceived as a leader in EDA. You’ll see us talking about how we’re a vital and integral part of the EDA community, and that we’re here to actively participate in that community.
We will have a presence on the trade show floor with a number of our ecosystem partners and we’ll focus on our five solutions. We want to communicate the great technology we have to help our customers solve problems that are critical to their success.
Q: What are those five solutions?
A: The first one is the Low Power Solution. We will continue to discuss the importance of low power across many design domains and disciplines. The second is the Mixed-Signal Solution. We will show how Virtuoso and Encounter technologies work together to provide an incredible mixed-signal implementation capability, and also show a linkage to mixed-signal verification. The third one is the Advanced Node Solution, which is not just about implementation but also about the overall design process as customers are looking at the design challenges as they move to 45 nm and 32 nm and 28 nm and beyond. We want to discuss with them how we can help them be successful at these nodes.
Then there’s the Enterprise Verification Solution, where we’re looking at verification from a management view all the way down to implementation, and talking about things like metric-driven verification across an enterprise. And then finally we have our System Development Solution. We’ll be discussing our system solution and how that becomes integrated into the design flow. We recently made announcements around our TLM offering. This is an area of extreme interest for our customers.
Q: A recent interview discussed several technology initiatives from Cadence’s Implementation Products Group. What’s the relationship of initiatives to solutions?
A: Initiatives are internally driven programs that are focused around solving large customer problems. Solutions are what we go to market with.
There are a number of R&D led initiatives. They have multiple year views of how to solve challenging problems over time. That’s how the Low-Power Solution got started. We work with a small set of customers so we can really understand their problems, learn from that, and extend it into our solutions and products while as a company we play an active role in driving the industry ecosystem, as with the Power Forward Initiative.
Q: The Power Forward Initiative is a publicly visible part of the Low-Power Solution. What else does, or will, this solution include?
A: We want to continue to push the definition of low power from the system level all the way through implementation. We are taking a look at the continued integration of low power with our digital implementation flow and our custom implementation flow. We will leverage our low-power leadership into mixed-signal, and we will leverage it into advanced nodes. As a result of that, we will address broad customer needs and start to cross-pollinate these areas. We will talk about an integration of our solutions in such a way that the customer sees a cohesive view.
For the past few years we’ve had a very strong offering in the Encounter digital platform as it’s been extended to support low power. That’s the cornerstone and we’ll move up and over from there. The linkage into verification and system-level design is also a significant differentiator for us.
Q: Why the focus on mixed-signal design and implementation, and what unique strengths is Cadence bringing to the Mixed-Signal Solution?
A: The integration of mixed-signal capability onto SoCs is accelerating. Building from both our strong digital capability, and our 20+ years of industry-leading offerings in custom IC, it’s a natural place for us to leverage our strengths and help solve critical customer problems. We also have a very strong custom simulation offering, and combining that with our digital simulation and methodology offerings allows customers to do mixed-signal verification in a much more comprehensive manner and much earlier in the design process than they have in the past.
Q: What does the Advanced Node Solution include?
A: It is all about helping our customers achieve the expected yield for their advanced node designs. The Cadence Advanced Node Solution focuses on three main elements. First, the infrastructure for custom and IP design all starts with Virtuoso. The industry relies on the Cadence custom design environment and associated ecosystem for advanced node design. Second, as designs move from 45 nm to 32 nm to 28 nm, the scale and complexity of the designs increases exponentially. The Cadence design-side capabilities in Encounter and Virtuoso enable customers to handle the added complexity of advanced node design. Finally, we help our customers accelerate yield improvement via a number of design-side enablement technologies. At DAC we will outline in detail products and technologies in each of these three areas that will demonstrate our leadership capabilities. This is an exciting area for us to discuss.
Q: Cadence has been involved in functional verification for many years. What’s the focus of the Enterprise Verification Solution?
A: Verification continues to be the number one customer challenge as verification costs continue to rise at a high rate. So we’ve extended our view beyond functional verification over the past view years to comprehend it with a methodology-driven point of view. That’s what led us to participate in the OVM [Open Verification Methodology] effort. The next step is to look at this at the enterprise level with a metrics-driven verification approach that focuses on predictability, productivity and quality of results. Therefore the Enterprise Verification Solution enables multi-specialist teams, in a structured way, to plan, construct, execute and measure and analyze their verification strategy at the system and block level. The Enterprise Verification Solution comprehends the verification of low-power and mixed-signal designs, making it an important element of those solutions.
Q: What’s involved in the System Development Solution?
A: This is an area of increased focus for our customers. The Cadence System Development Solution focuses on an integrated development approach that breaks barriers between system design and verification. This solution enables system-wide planning to be seamlessly linked to transaction level modeling (TLM) for design and verification. We recently made an announcement at CDNLive! Japan as the first provider in the industry to have an integrated TLM-driven design and verification methodology. We’ll be talking about this in detail at DAC along with other System Development Solution capabilities in emulation and C-to-Silicon Compiler.
Q: Cadence has two R&D teams – the Front End Group and Implementation Products Group. Are both involved in every solution?
A: Yes, both R&D teams have a contribution in all five solutions. When you look at advanced node or mixed-signal or low power, you typically think of them as being on the implementation side, but there’s a significant relationship and dependency on front-end design. When you look at system design or enterprise verification, there’s a linkage with implementation. There’s a high degree of interdependency across the company to achieve success in all the solutions.
Q: How is Cadence’s DAC message tailored for tough economic times?
A: In a down economic time, our customers want to have confidence that the companies and people they’re working with are strong, are viable, and will be there for them. That’s a very critical message we will convey at DAC. And we’re going to tell a story about solutions that are aligned with our customers’ problems.