5 Ways FlexEDA with SaaS Model Transforms Chip Design

Vikram Bhatia

Mar 30, 2022 / 4 min read

When we started designing a true SaaS architecture for Synopsys Cloud, we had to consider multiple orthogonal constraints that were introduced by the complexity of the business problem we were trying to solve. To begin with, high-performance computing (HPC) is not easy to do in the cloud. We faced a variety of unique challenges, which we needed to address simultaneously:

  • Limitations introduced by stringent performance requirements
  • Inherent latency of the distributed cloud architecture
  • Optimizing compute specific to each workload within the complex chip design lifecycle
  • And the requirement to scale elastically for a multi-tenant, highly secure solution

On top of this, we also wanted to ensure that our customers' most frequent ask – the ability to scale electronic design automation (EDA) software licenses on demand and with extreme granularity – was addressed as a primary requirement of the solution. Moreover, we wanted to achieve all of this while not making any changes to the EDA tools themselves, so our customers would not have to deal with more versions of the software as they transitioned from on-premises to cloud, either fully or for brief peak usage demands.

We are proud of what we have accomplished with Synopsys Cloud, and we believe our ensuing FlexEDA model with true pay-per-use and extreme flexibility will inherently change the way chip design projects are done in the future.

Introducing the FlexEDA Model

The core tenet of the FlexEDA model is unlimited EDA license availability with true pay-per-use on a per-minute basis. Chip designers design, schedule, and run a specific EDA job based on where they are in the design cycle and their power, performance, and area (PPA) goals. Synopsys Cloud will automatically scale the EDA software based on the elastic cloud scale infrastructure enabled by the designer for this specific job.

To enable this model, Synopsys Cloud leverages the following architectural elements:

  • Patent-pending metering technology developed by Synopsys to enable unlimited on-demand EDA tool availability without changing the EDA software code.
  • Pre-optimized compute for each type of EDA workload. We tested and benchmarked hundreds of compute virtual machines available in the public cloud to enable a small subset optimized for specific EDA workloads.
  • Deep integration with the cloud stack to leverage auto-scaling, fault-tolerance, and metering capabilities of the cloud.
  • Browser-based access for end-to-end EDA workload needs. This requires advanced scheduling, virtual desktop, and project and user management capabilities which are native to the platform.
  • In-depth security that elevates the cloud service provider's shared responsibility model to ensure customer data is secured at all levels with an architecture that fully integrates with all security controls.
  • Ability to leverage FlexEDA in a bring-your-own-cloud (BYOC) deployment model for customers who prefer to run and manage their own public cloud environment.

Why FlexEDA Is Transformational

Considering the constraints under which traditional EDA workloads operate, the FlexEDA model presents a breath of fresh air for five key reasons:


1. Focus on Time-to-Results, Not License Count

Whether designers are looking to catch up on an extended project schedule with peak workload demands, or trying to push a new design out faster to meet market needs, the FlexEDA model provides the framework to focus on time-to-market with no software license or compute infrastructure constraints. The fact that you can pay by the minute based on actual usage frees you to re-think what is possible in a potentially much shorter time span.


2. Reimagine EDA Project Schedules

Until now, typical EDA project and budget planning was highly dependent on the time each particular task needed to complete because of capacity and license limitations. With the FlexEDA model, you can start thinking about scheduling your projects differently. Since Synopsys Cloud unshackles all capacity constraints, projects can be broken into faster cycles with more time spent on innovating and less on scheduling serial regressions.


3. Leverage Simplified EDA Software Licensing

With the FlexEDA model, we have tried to simplify EDA licensing drastically. We have reduced the overall complexity of the licensing model across our product portfolio and streamlined our packaging tiers. For example, when running verification for RTL and gate-level simulations, VCS feature packages are simplified to enable more efficient metering in the cloud. Similarly, library characterization jobs are metered by the minute to enable designers to run large volumes of characterization requests in short bursts.


4. Start Small and Grow as You Need

The FlexEDA model does not impose minimum spend thresholds or any other limitations on how big a cloud engagement needs to be. Start small if you're testing a tool, trying out cloud use models or simply offloading peak needs to the cloud. Grow as you need, on demand, once you're comfortable with the environment and the user experience.


5. Leverage a Start-Up Friendly EDA SaaS Environment

For smaller organizations and start-ups, Synopsys Cloud streamlines the entire chip design lifecycle. You can get access to advanced infrastructure, cloud-optimized EDA tools, and pre-defined and standardized flows, all in one simple package enabled through a browser-based experience.

FlexEDA Diagram | Synopsys

When you add the flexibility of pricing and licensing under FlexEDA with no pre-defined infrastructure constraints or license quantity commitments, we believe you'll have the ingredients for a recipe that will shape the future of EDA. To be sure, EDA vendors have begun optimizing their solutions to take advantage of the elasticity and scalability of the cloud. However, there hasn't been a truly flexible model that allowed chip designers to use any tool at any scale on a pay-per-use basis until now. With the Synopsys Cloud FlexEDA model, designers can approach each project in a whole new way, letting their design needs dictate how they'll use chip design and verification tools, rather than the other way around.

To enable this vision of a new way to implement EDA, we are offering a full-featured free evaluation for 30 days to any customer that wants to try Synopsys Cloud for the first time.

Please sign up and learn how Synopsys Cloud can enhance your chip design experience →

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