A couple weeks ago I gave a heads-up about a webinar that was being hosted by ClioSoft, Qorvo and Keysight. The topic of the webinar was how to manage custom RF designs across multiple design teams and CAD flows. The webinar was held on February 1st and included presentations by Marcus Ray of Qorvo and Michele Azarian of Keysight.
Much has been written about ClioSoft’s SOS product. In summary, it’s a great product for data and IP management and it enables companies to manage design complexity across multiple, geographical dispersed design teams. I saw this put into practice in my previous job, where one of our customers, a large semiconductor IC provider, was using ClioSoft with our EDA products to simultaneously work on the same design using teams located in Japan, Europe and the United States. In that case, the task was somewhat simplified by the fact that all of those team were using tools from one EDA vendor. None the less, it was a powerful statement as to the capabilities that ClioSoft provided.
In the Qorvo case, they are doing RF system design using multiple IC technologies all assembled onto a 4 to 10-layer laminate that includes matching components embedded in the laminate for each die. Qorvo teams are dispersed across multiple locations around the world with some of those teams using Cadence’s Virtuoso design environment while others are using Keysight’s ADS environment.
At least three things had to happen to make this flow possible.
- Cadence had to integrate with ClioSoft SOS – first versions of this were released in 2001, not too long after ClioSoft’s founding in 1997.
- Keysight had to integrate with ClioSoft SOS – first versions of this were released in 2012.
- Lastly, ClioSoft recently did some interoperability work around OpenAccess (which was already being used by both Cadence and Keysight) to enable the two different EDA vendors to both read and write the same OpenAccess meta-data. This last step enabled true interoperability by giving both systems the same understanding about all of the data being shared.Data sharing was made much simpler by the fact that both Cadence and Keysight were using the same OpenAccess databases for their design repositories. However, as anyone who has worked with OpenAccess knows, it takes more to interoperate than simply being able to read and write OpenAccess data. The ability to share a common understanding of what is in the database makes all the difference in the world and ClioSoft’s work to codify this meta-data was a key component to making this interoperability flow work. Once this was in place, the Qorvo design teams were able to seamlessly move back and forth between Virtuoso and ADS while taking advantage of all of the ClioSoft data management capabilities.
The beauty for Qorvo is that they are able to use ClioSoft SOS to manage and share their RF work across all their various design sites while interoperating between Cadence Virtuoso and Keysight ADS. Another key feature in this setup is that SOS is fairly technology agnostic as seen by the fact that Qorvo is managing multiple IC technologies in addition to laminate substrates. The impact of this is that Qorvo is able to hierarchically build designs using these different technologies and then simulate them together at the system level.
Another nice feature of this setup is that Qorvo can use SOS’s capabilities to seed the workspaces of each of their design groups. This includes common libraries, IPs, test benches, scripts and data files. Even though the teams are in different geographies, they all have access to a consistent design environment that is kept up to date by design management policies. Designers can selectively pull what they need, but having ready-made setups available saves time and goes a long way toward eliminating simple but critical errors like using out-of-date test benches or high level models that don’t match their lower level implementations.
The webinar did a nice job of explaining the desire and need for data and IP management and the presenters did a good job of showing how easy it was to move back and forth between the tool sets integrated with ClioSoft’s SOS7. Key features for Qorvos in this heterogeneous environment included revision control of IP and designs, team collaboration across multiple sites, archiving of design revisions and IP management that is used to trace IP usage in each of their tape-outs. This last item can come in handy when issues are found in an IP block and you need to know which designs may be affected by those issues. Additionally, having archival and versioning control also enables downstream teams such as product and test engineering to have easy access to design data without the need to hunt down design engineers who have moved on to different projects.
Which brings up the final point of this webinar, which is that data management really needs to be done across the entire design and manufacturing flow, including requirements and specifications, logic design and test bench generation, IC and laminate layout, tape-out revision control, packaging revisions, and back annotation of empirical data from fabricated parts. These systems are complex and require good data management practices to ensure success and Qorvo found that ClioSoft SOS was the platform that worked for them.
If you missed the webinar you can view a video recording of the event here: http://cliosoft.com/corp_web/webinar_recordings/ads_0117_qrvo/request.php
Additional information can also be found for each vendors’ offerings at the following websites:
Keysight Technologies: http://www.keysight.com/en/pc-1297113/advanced-design-system-ads?cc=US&lc=eng
Cadence Design Systems: http://www.cadence.com
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