Over the years storage has gotten very cheap, or has it? As a typical consumer, we take data storage for granted because access to it has gotten very cheap. Long gone are the days of being limited to 1.44MB floppy disks to store data. The smart devices we carry around with us can store 100’s of GB of data. That is a lot of data. But what about when we have to deal with data management when designing these very smart devices? The demand for data storage and management goes up orders of magnitude. Specifically, within the semiconductor realm, chip design data management is about terabytes and terabytes of data. It does not matter whether a company is using on-prem storage or cloud storage, the total cost of ownership (TCO) becomes an expensive proposition.
With teams of engineers accessing, adding, modifying and deleting data, the strategy for workspace management takes paramount importance. A smarter storage strategy is needed to enable efficient and cost-effective workspace management.
Pedro Pires from Cliosoft delivered an excellent webinar recently to address this very topic. Pedro is an application engineer and used Cliosoft’s SOS solution as the backdrop. His talk focused on minimizing design data storage consumption, fast workspace creation, and lightweight resource consumption.
Drawbacks of Traditional Approach to Workspace Storage Management
Many traditional solutions for data management simply make copies of the project data for as many users who are working on that project. While this may give the feeling of complete data control to every user, it is obviously a very storage inefficient approach. For example, if the project data size is 100GB and there are 10 users on the project, 1.1TB of storage is needed for starters. The bigger the project team, the more inefficient the storage solution becomes.
A better data management solution is preferable. And if that better solution can offer additional benefits on top of the storage efficiency, all the better.
Cliosoft SOS Solution for Workspace Storage Management
The Cliosoft SOS solution uses a three-pronged approach for very efficient project workspace storage management.
Links to Cache Feature
When the various users of a project create their workspace under the SOS solution, no physical copies of the project data are made. Instead, symbolic links are made to the actual physical copy that exists in the main repository. This automatically reduces the workspace footprint compared to the traditional data management solution discussed earlier.
When users want to work on particular views/files, they would checkout those files and SOS would automatically replace the relevant symbolic links with an actual copy of the views/files. Once the users work on these files and make necessary modifications, they can check those files back in. SOS will commit those changes to the physical copy in the main repository and replace the users’ physical copy with symbolic links again.
The cache repository keeps just a few revisions of all the data held in the main repository. This is a configurable aspect of the solution and the customer can select the number of revisions for the cache repository. But when it comes to the metadata contained in the main repository, the cache repository holds an exact copy of it. SOS keeps the metadata synchronized in real-time across all project sites, thus enabling all users to be looking at the same state of the project at any point in time.
Reference and Reuse Feature
Reuse of proven IP is very commonly practiced. That in itself is not a new concept. But how the proven IP is used from a data management perspective is what is new with the Cliosoft SOS solution. Instead of copying the various proven IP blocks for use in the project on hand, SOS makes references to these IP blocks. On top of storage space savings, the Reference and Reuse approach delivers IP trackability and traceability benefits as well. IP traceability is not only important but is a requirement when designing products in certain industries.
“Sparse Populate” Feature
The Sparse Populate feature takes the Links to Cache functionality of the SOS solution to the next level by further reducing the user workspace requirements. Invariably, in most projects, there are blocks of data, such as a library or PDK data that are only needed on a read-only basis. Instead of making symbolic links to each and every file within the library or PDK folder, the SOS solution creates a symbolic link to just the top-level of the directory structure.
When and as needed, SOS provides the ability for a user to switch from Sparse Populate setup to a fully-populated copy. When this switch is made, SOS replaces the top-level symbolic link with symbolic links to all the individual files within that directory structure. The user is able to make any changes to the required files and check back the updated files to the repository. Once done, the user can revert back to the Sparse Populate setup.
Cliosoft’s SOS solution allows customers to mix and match the functionality discussed above on a workspace by workspace basis. This offers flexibility for one user to use the Links to Cache functionality when another user may decide to use the physical copy approach. But for the conscious choice made, a user wouldn’t know the difference in terms of data access and performance as SOS automatically handles the operations. With the IP tracking and traceability functionality built into SOS, users can generate “who uses me” reports for various IP blocks to meet certain compliance requirements.
The entire webinar could be accessed here on-demand.
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