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Issue 2, 2011
EDA in the Clouds: Myth Busting

An interview with David Hsu dispels a few myths and brings us up-to-date with the latest in the Synopsys cloud story.

Can designers access EDA cloud software and services today?
Yes. Today we offer a verification-on-demand solution using VCS, which provides massively scalable verification via Amazon Web Services. This is the first EDA product to become available on a public cloud. We plan to add HSPICE to our cloud solution soon.

Why are design teams interested in cloud-based services?
Cloud computing offers a potentially different and valuable service to design teams. Why? Because on-demand access to scalable, virtualized compute resources over the Internet means that the availability of EDA tools on the company network need no longer constrain design team productivity. Now design teams can dynamically scale their use of compute resources and tools to match their project and timescale needs. In short, clouds offer “elasticity” to enable design teams to match supply with demand for compute-intensive problems. Figure 1 shows how extra compute resources reduce time to market.

Figure 1: Design teams can reduce time-to-market by adding “surge” computing resources
Figure 1: Design teams can reduce time-to-market by adding “surge” computing resources

Does use of cloud computing tie businesses in to one vendor?
No. Our position is that we will see EDA vendors collaborate to help accelerate customer adoption of cloud computing. Customers want choice, and if we don’t enable them to have that choice, we will slow down the uptake of cloud computing.

Is Synopsys’ current cloud solution based on DesignSphere?
No. Our experience with DesignSphere has taught us a lot about delivering software as a service. However, we introduced DesignSphere well before public clouds existed, and DesignSphere is not a cloud offering and was never intended to be a cloud-based service.

What are the main barriers to the adoption of cloud-based EDA services?
Understanding peoples’ perceptions about cloud computing is an on-going process for us. We have recently completed an extensive online survey to collect views and opinions. User groups, trade shows and customer visits also provide opportunities to engage with people and hear what they have to say about cloud computing.

At the recent DAC, it was evident that people see the value in cloud solutions. Their questions were, “How much does it cost?” and “How does it work?” The barriers to adoption today seem to center around company policy and culture, but the feeling is that the potential to benefit is so great that businesses will be motivated to change.

People often raise security and availability as objections to moving to the cloud, although many cite cloud services as no less secure and no less available (and sometimes more secure and more available) than their own datacenter solutions.

When will use of the cloud become mainstream in the EDA world?
The cloud computing panel at DAC suggested that the industry would see ‘substantial adoption’ of cloud services in two to three years.

How would you sum up EDA and cloud computing in fewer than 140 characters?
EDA in the cloud enables design teams to do things they could never do before.

About the author

David Hsu
David Hsu is a member of the Solutions Marketing group within Synopsys.

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