Synopsys Cloud: The Power of Automated License Management

Varun Shah

Nov 14, 2023 / 4 min read

Synopsys Cloud

Unlimited access to EDA software licenses on-demand

In today’s semiconductor landscape, time to market is everything. In the pursuit of meeting tight schedules, chip design houses constantly seek the right engineering expertise, EDA solutions, IP, and compute resources to optimize their workflows, boost engineering productivity, and streamline operations. A key aspect of running EDA workloads efficiently is acquiring/managing EDA licenses and maintaining license servers. In this blog, we’ll focus on this very crucial aspect.

cloud-based eda tools

The Burden of EDA Software License Management

We have learned from our customers that EDA tool license management is not trivial. It diverts valuable energy away from the core engineering task of designing chips and is a significant cost for our customers, as the process demands time, resources, and expertise.

Software license management entails a variety of tasks. It involves acquiring and installing license keys, keeping license servers running 24*7 to ensure there is no loss of the design team's productivity, and managing license expirations. Keeping license servers running 24*7 can be quite a challenge when new license keys are added. Users may suffer downtime as the server needs to be stopped and restarted to read in the new license file. Moreover, these servers need to scale up to cater to additional license demand to fulfill peak needs, say during tape-outs. This entails acquiring licenses and the addition of more servers, which is a manual process that incurs a heavy cost of lost time, management overhead, and additional server infrastructure.

A solution that can automate the overhead reliably could significantly improve engineering productivity.

Software License Management Automation on Synopsys Cloud

Synopsys Cloud provides hassle-free license management and addresses the challenges stated above for our customers in three ways:

1. License management
On the Synopsys Cloud platform, license management is completely automated. It takes the burden of dealing with the intricacies of license management off chip design teams, whether they’re running EDA tools on:

  1. The Synopsys-managed, EDA-optimized SaaS cloud platform, OR
  2. Their own cloud environment from any of the supported Cloud Service Providers (CSP), OR
  3. On-prem compute data centers or a private cloud

Additional licenses purchased on the platform, whether for a fixed term or in a pay-per-use
model (explained later), are automatically installed and activated, and available to use instantly. This e-commerce aspect of the platform is fully embraced by current users of the platform. It eliminates the delays incurred in manually obtaining license keys and restarting the license server, thereby ensuring zero downtime for engineers and no loss of productivity.

software license management

The BYOC/on-prem license management automation graphic above depicts the features and benefits of this approach:

  • Use the same flows, scripts, and binaries
  • Purchase EDA licenses on demand
  • Instant license activation and availability
  • Complete license server auto-scaling
  • True pay-per-use with per-minute access
  • Unlimited EDA software license availability
  • Run multi-vendor flows, foundry collateral, or compute


2. License server scalability

Synopsys Cloud license management is a cloud-native containerized service that leverages the auto-scaling algorithms of the public cloud provider to enable seamless license server scaling and automation.

As your demand for EDA capacity grows, Synopsys Cloud automatically scales the license server infrastructure seamlessly and instantaneously to tens of thousands of licenses if needed, without any impact on performance or disruption to your operations. This is a significant improvement for our customers whose workloads scale in a massive way during critical phases of their projects but couldn’t previously achieve scaling up licenses and license server infrastructure in a timely fashion, even when the cloud infrastructure could be scaled as needed. On Synopsys Cloud, users can leverage on-demand scalability of license servers with no additional time overhead.


3. Pay-per-use (PPU) metering with FlexEDA

Along with the ability to scale license server infrastructure, Synopsys Cloud features a pay-per-use (PPU) license model (FlexEDA) that uses patent-pending metering technology to monitor runtime of EDA tools in real time and charges accordingly with per-minute pricing. This helps mitigate upfront costs associated with obtaining fixed-term licenses.
It also opens a plethora of EDA flows which are not limited by availability of EDA licenses and were simply unimaginable before.
For example, if you are nearing an RTL freeze milestone and need to run a large regression in a short amount of time, with the click of a button in the Synopsys Cloud portal, you could scale up to tens of thousands of Synopsys VCS® licenses for a few minutes to get the job done. You only pay for what you use in per-minute increments, instead of having to acquire those license keys for a fixed term, and manually scale up the license server infrastructure to support those licenses through the critical phase of project.


Synopsys Cloud offloads the complexity of maintaining license servers in a fast, scalable, and fully automated way, allowing chip designers to focus on their primary tasks. Summarizing the benefits discussed, Synopsys Cloud for license server management can:

  1.  Save time that is spent on acquiring licenses and maintaining license server infrastructure
  2.  Provide virtually infinite license scalability by instant access to thousands of EDA tool licenses at the click of a button
  3. Enable revolutionary EDA flows through a true FlexEDA pay-per-use model

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