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IBM-Cadence collaboration: a “transformation” in SoC design

Enterprise Verification Management Solution automates parallel hardware/software development


A groundbreaking collaboration between IBM and Cadence promises a comprehensive, automated environment for hardware and software verification, thus improving time to market and product quality while reducing costs. The result of the collaboration is a solution called the Enterprise Verification Management Solution (EVMS), which is sold by IBM and includes both IBM and Cadence® tools and services.

EVMS expands the scope of EDA from at least two perspectives. First, it combines hardware and software verification in a single environment, and leverages capabilities developed in the hardware world – such as metric-driven verification – to bring more rigor to the software development process. Secondly, it’s an enterprise-level tool that can be used by project and engineering managers as well as chip designers and programmers.

“This is a major transformation that aims to combine hardware and software development,” said Steve Berry, business development executive at IBM. But as transformative as it is for customers, EVMS also represents years of experience at IBM. “Basically, the solution is built on the verification methodology that IBM has today for its SoC (system-on-chip) work,” Berry said. He added that IBM has been doing hardware/software co-verification for years and that the “time-to-market benefits are dramatic.”

With a great deal of functionality aimed at software verification, EVMS represents a recognition that software development and debugging has become a major cost, if not the major cost, in SoC design. “We’ve known for some time now at IBM that software is not only the bottleneck; software is the differentiator,” said Alex Baran, Rational account manager at IBM. “So, over the past ten years, we’ve been focusing on the software aspect.”

 

Solution
Cadence Enterprise Verification Solution
 
Product Info
Cadence Incisive Enterprise Manager
Cadence Incisive Enterprise Simulator

In addition to bringing hardware and software development together in a comprehensive test and simulation environment, EVMS automates many tasks that are typically done through ad-hoc, manual efforts. For example, it can automatically schedule test scenarios, queue jobs, prioritize tests, manage software versioning, and optimize utilization of compute resources. EVMS can also tie into product lifecycle management (PLM) systems.

Specifically, EVMS includes IBM Rational software for system requirements development and traceability, software lifecycle management, and software test development and management. It also includes IBM Tivoli software for workload management and compute farm optimization, and Cadence Incisive® Enterprise technology for metric-driven verification and hardware test development. EVMS also tracks hardware/software verification progress and performance metrics through “dashboards” that can be customized for engineers, project managers, or corporate executives.

Incisive Enterprise Manager is well known for providing executable verification plans (vPlans) that can be updated with coverage metrics, allowing a metric-driven verification methodology. “These concepts can be brought into the software world with EVMS,” noted Michael Munsey, director of enterprise solutions marketing at Cadence. He highlighted that both hardware and software verification can be managed and monitored by a single verification plan.

“You can blur the line between hardware and software, take feedback from the software side of testing back into Incisive Enterprise Manager, and track coverage points within a single environment,” Munsey said. For example, the functional testing and performance testing that’s done with IBM Rational software can be tied back to an executable verification plan.

Nevertheless, in some ways the line between hardware and software remains. For example, hardware and software developers have their own debugging environments, because that’s what they’re used to. However, a project manager can view a dashboard that includes metrics from both hardware and software verification. “Someone at the project or program level can look at where bugs are happening, and make a higher level decision of whether it makes more sense to try and fix them in hardware or fix them in software, based on the resources available,” Munsey said.

At a time of escalating complexity and crushing verification costs, the IBM-Cadence Enterprise Verification Management Solution promises to greatly reduce costs and time to market by automating manual procedures, maximizing CPU utilization, tracking the combined hardware/software verification process, allowing parallel hardware/software verification, and enabling high-level decisions about where and how to best fix bugs. Further information is available at the IBM Rational EVMS website.

Components and capabilities of EVMS
  • IBM Rational ClearCase, IBM Rational ClearQuest, and IBM Rational BuildForge – automates software development and testing
  • IBM Rational ClearCase and Cadence Incisive Enterprise Manager – provides software configuration management for hardware and software designs under verification
  • Cadence Incisive Enterprise Manager – defines and manages verification plans
  • Cadence Incisive Enterprise Simulator – creates and debugs hardware simulations
  • IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler – manages test plans and simulation runs
  • IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager – runs data collection and accounting to understand usage patterns
  • IBM Tivoli Performance Analyzer – forecasts computer resources needed for future products
  • IBM Tivoli Monitoring and IBM Tivoli Network Manager – manages compute resources
  • IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager – performs software configuration management
  • IBM Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Single Sign-On – allows one-time log-in for access to authorized applications
  • IBM Tivoli Identity Manager – sets provisioning and auditing policies
  • IBM System Cluster 1350 – provides servers for optimal compute farm configuration
  • IBM Global Business Services – provides EVMS planning, installation, and deployment based on best practices and industry experience

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