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Consolidation and Design Data Management

Consolidation and Design Data Management
by Bernard Murphy on 05-30-2017 at 7:00 am

Consensia, a Dassault Systemès channel partner, recently hosted a webinar on DesignSync, a long-standing pillar of many industry design flows (count ARM, Qualcomm, Cavium and NXP among their users). A motivation for this webinar was the impact semiconductor consolidation has had on the complexity of design data management, particularly as acquired design groups bring with them design flows based on different design data management (DDM) solutions. Acquisitions are made at least in part with the expectation that complementary functionality can be combined to create even stronger differentiation in products. Bringing together these design components from different flows can raise challenges, perhaps manageable in most areas by carefully checking view and constraint files at interfaces, but synchronizing between flows becomes a lot harder when it comes to DDM.

Dave Noble (VP Biz Dev at Consensia) told me of one example in which an SoC was being assembled from AMS components managed in DesignSync, together with the bulk of the digital circuitry managed under SVN (Subversion). See the problem? There’s no linkage between these DDMs, so when you want to check-out a golden release or a previous release, managing the bridge (or bridges) between these repositories is a manual task. Dave said in this example it took 25 engineers a week to pull together a release snapshot they were sure they could trust. And even then, there was no traceable genealogy across the design. I’d imagine challenges when you want to archive the design for post-silicon support and derivatives. Certainly, you would have to archive both repositories, but also you need to archive the snapshot along with instructions on how that snapshot was generated.

From a tool/flow point of view, life would be simple if you could mandate that everyone must switch to one supplier. But that’s wildly unrealistic in any production environment. Consensia has a more pragmatic approach in recognizing that mixed DDM environments aren’t going to go away anytime soon. DesignSync can not only manage individual components of a design (IP and subsystems) but it can also provide enterprise level release management in a mixed DDM hierarchy.

DesignSync recognizes other repositories, such as Perforce, SVN and Git and can use external hierarchical references to “pull’ information from other repositories, enabling it to manage an SOC/IP release. In fact, it uses native commands to interoperate with these other repositories, so it can do more than simply pull – I am told it can also do things like retrieve status and add tag information.

You probably know already that DesignSync is integrated with Cadence Virtuoso, Synopsys Galaxy and Keysight ADS (formerly from Agilent), simplifying debug in integration. But most important in this context, DesignSync as the SoC-level DDM provides a trackable, traceable release capability while allowing different design teams to each continue to use their preferred DDM system. Checkout is automated, genealogy retrieval is automated and you can archive repositories confident that, whenever needed, you can reconstruct release data or roll-back to earlier versions.

There’s another very nice capability that I can only touch on, since Consensia will be announcing more in this area at DAC. This relates to all the many complex aspects of IP management, both internal and external, including whether you are allowed to use this IP (maybe other designs have already used all the licenses your organization paid for), whether you can edit the IP or even view it, whether usage of this version of the IP complies with policy guidelines (perhaps it hasn’t yet been proven on silicon) or more general requirements (eg ITAR compliance) and so on. This is comprehensive IP management, essential to avoid late-stage nasty surprises around technical, business or regulatory problems. And it’s integrated with DesignSync.

DesignSync has a long track-record (15 years) and may today be top of the pile in design seats (especially for managing in large design teams), so it’s worth checking out the webinar to understand better how it might fit into your enterprise design management strategy. Also look out for more webinars along this theme; this was one in a series in which Consensia plans to focus on IP Management and the product’s role in enabling customers to securely and transparently manage their internal and external IP, especially through increasing interoperability with third party products.

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