EDA Industry Challenges and Adoption of Hybrid Cloud 

Paul Mantey, NetApp Industry Leader - EDA/Semiconductors

Principle Driver: Next generation chips, with more complex designs, shorter design cycles, and skyrocketing costs, require modern data management capabilities from data management systems, including the ability to seamlessly burst to high performance cloud environments.  Migration to 3nm (and smaller) feature sizes creates non-linear demand growth for both compute and data management / storage resources to complete simulation and emulation test runs.  Traditional datacenter architectures struggle to keep up with these increasing demands, especially as it pertains to the compute resources necessary to complete simulations, place and route, static timing analysis, and other design workflows.  Semiconductor development companies are turning to “burst-to-Cloud" architectures to off-load the demands of their on-premises datacenters and to free up room for jobs that can only be run “in-house”.

Efficiently moving data between on-premises and Cloud presents a significant challenge.  Traditional methods of forced copies in each direction results in unacceptable labor and time costs:  it takes significant effort to identify files to be moved, resulting in having to simply move all files and incur further time delays.  These efforts can add  hours to days for a typical verification run. 

Due to these and other factors,  hybrid cloud adoption is growing quickly and has moved beyond the question of “whether a semiconductor design company should move towards burst-to- cloud architectures” to “must burst to cloud” in order to complete batch jobs on time.  The enormous scale and elasticity available through public cloud providers, coupled with the high-performance compute resources they offer, creates a compelling case for running workflows in a hybrid model.  Design team leaders who recognize the value that “burst-to-cloud" brings reconcile cloud costs against increased productivity  of developers and better utilization of idle licenses.    The focus now is on how best to implement burst-to- cloud while maximizing efficiency, preserving existing workflows and managing costs.  

New solutions focusing only on infrastructure miss the mark.  An effective data management strategy for burst-to-cloud must also improve the effectiveness of both the developers and the software licenses so that the development team can take full advantage of the elasticity and wide-availability of high-performing compute resources in the Cloud.  These solutions should lower requirement of IT intervention by identifying files to be transferred and should enable development teams to take advantage of cloud resources without significantly modifying their development workflows. 

NetApp brings significant advantage to the table with FlexCache. 

Flexcache is a modern, state-of-the-art caching technology allowing you to access just the data you need, where your need it, when you need it.  By way of illustration: customers running Synopsys VCS environments can create a FlexCache volume in the Cloud and connect it back to the Tools/Libraries volume sitting in the on-premises datacenter to run VCS in the Cloud quickly and efficiently.  VCS determines which files get transferred to the Cloud in real-time – without requiring someone from IT to keep files in synch.  This process is affectionately known as “Lazy Load”.  A reverse FlexCache arrangement can be created by caching the results volume in the Cloud back to an on-premises volume.  This means that only the results files needed by systems verification team are downloaded (generally the failed results), which can potentially reduce the transfer time down from hours to days down to seconds to minutes. 

In conjunction with our cloud partners, NetApp has engaged with multiple customers in the EDA segment to implement this “Design Anywhere” capability with tremendous results.  Not only have customers seen significantly reduced completion time of specific workloads running in the cloud, by leveraging NetApp FlexCache capabilities, they have enjoyed near seamless, “hands-off” data transfer between their on-premises data centers and the public cloud.


Come join NetApp at DAC’22 on Tuesday, July 12 from 2:15 – 5:15pm to see these technologies in action at the Design On Cloud area at DAC. 

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