Yesterday at the Globalpress electronic summit Andrew gave an overview of the Apache product line, carefully avoiding saying anything he cannot due to the filing of Apache’s S-1. From a financial point of view the company has had 8 years of consecutive growth, is profitable since 2008, and has no debt. During 2010 when the EDA industry grew 9%, Apache grew 27%. The detailed P&L can be found in Apache’s S-1.
Apache is focused on low power and this is a problem that is going to be with us going forward. Per Gary Smith, Apache has a 73% market share in physical power analysis and is the sign-off solution for all 20 of the iSuppli top-20 semiconductor companies.
Apache’s business in power and noise is driven by some underlying industry trends. The number of transistors per chip is rising (more power density), power supply voltages are coming down and getting closer and closer to threshold voltages (less noise margin), I/O performance is increasing (more noise) and packaging pin counts are exploding.
These trends have driven Apache’s solutions in 3 areas: power budgeting, power dellivery integrity and power induced noise.
The really big underlying trend that means that power keeps designers awake at night is the growing disparity between power budgets, which don’t really increase since we are not looking for shorter battery life on our devices, and power consumption. I’ve seen a similar worry from Mike Mueller of ARM looking at how many processors we’ll be able to put on a chip, and worrying that we won’t be able to light them all up at once for power reasons.
Another growing problem is power noise from signals going out from the chip, through the package, onto the board, back into the package and onto the chip again. The only way to handle this is to look at the whole chip-package-system, including decoupling capacitors, the power grid, well capacitance and so on, all factors we’ve managed to avoid up to now.