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DAC Panel Looks To “Clouds” For EDA

Comments(3)Filed under: Industry Insights, DAC, SaaS, Xuropa, cloud, Kuehlmann

Does IC design have a future in cloud computing? What are the real and perceived obstacles, and how can they be overcome? A Design Automation Conference panel will discuss these questions Wednesday, June 16, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in Anaheim, Calif. Andreas Kuehlmann, director of Cadence Research Labs, is the panel organizer.

Cloud computing is not only a hot topic in EDA - it is generating excitement throughout the software industry. As described in a seminal paper, "Above the Clouds, a Berkeley View of Cloud Computing," it refers to the applications delivered as services over the Internet and to the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. The applications themselves are referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). Cloud computing thus promises access to substantial amounts of compute power as needed, without having to purchase servers or set up an IT infrastructure.

In EDA, Andreas said, cloud computing promises "the availability of large computing resources on demand. You can allocate resources close to tapeout and do a lot of processing. This is very appealing to smaller design houses who do not have the resources." He noted, however, that cloud computing has a wide range of definitions and that "people have to find out what it means for EDA."

The EDA industry, in fact, may not quickly embrace what some would call a "pure" cloud computing/SaaS model. In a recent presentation James Colgan, CEO of EDA cloud computing pioneer Xuropa, noted that a "pure" SaaS model - exemplified by Quicken Online or salesforce.com - may not be appropriate for EDA, because it requires that applications be rewritten for SaaS. He suggests a "hybrid SaaS" model that requires no code rewrites. Its basis is what he calls "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS).

Real and perceived obstacles

According to the description, the DAC panel will discuss "the real and perceived hurdles" that currently prevent broad adoption of cloud computing in IC design. Andreas cited the following as potential points of discussion:

  • The EDA business model is not set up for cloud computing and SaaS.
  • Customers have specialized flows, often including internal tools. A complete solution in the cloud may be difficult to attain.
  • Cloud computing algorithms and compute infrastructures may not match current EDA algorithms and flows in general. However, there are particular EDA problems for which the cloud could offer a valuable resource.
  • Cloud computing providers claim the security issue has been solved, but "some customers are very uncomfortable about sending design data outside of the firewall."
  • If there's a lot of user interaction, latency can be a problem. "You don't want to wait five seconds for a response to a mouse click."

The panel will be chaired by Raul Camposano, consultant, who had some exposure to cloud computing as CEO of analog simulation startup Xoomsys. Panelists include John Chilton (Synopsys), James Colgan, Samuel George (Cadence), Rean Griffith (U.C. Berkeley), Paul Leventis (Altera), and Deepak Singh (Amazon). Samuel George works with Hosted Design Solutions at Cadence.  Rean Griffith was a co-author of the Berkeley paper cited above.

Cloud computing, Andreas said, "could change everything, from the business model to the way tools interact to the way we do design." Noting the topic's significance and the knowledge of the panelists, this panel is high on my priority list for DAC.

Richard Goering



By theASICguy on May 27, 2010
The Berkeley paper you cite is really a must read for anyone wanting to understand the basics of cloud computing. A must read.
As you know, I've felt pretty strongly that Cloud Computing and SaaS have a future in EDA. A little over a year ago when I held that DVCon panel on the subject, many attendees did not even know what cloud computing was. It's great to see that it now warrants a session at DAC.

By Gary Dare on June 1, 2010
Yes, EDA needs a new operating model to break into a higher value proposition.  Selling a solution with an external or in-house (customer's own) cloud with access to a wider variety of tools, rather than the fixed pools of discounted licenses that have dragged the industry down.

By NAVIN HASIJA on September 8, 2010
Whatever being referred to above is just a myth. Times have changed & cloud is the in thing. Organisations which adapt to cloud will have faster turnaround times & thereby get an cutting edge over competition. The ultimate cost of the Product would be far too lower. Hence the earlier one accepts, the faster one gan get the advantages.  

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