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  • Speeding up IP and Data Management

    IP and Data Management (DM) for SoC teams has gradually moved from ad-hoc approaches using simple Excel spreadsheets, to home-grown software that is specific to a project or company, and finally to commercially supported tools. One such commercial toolset for IP lifecycle management is from Methodics, named ProjectIC - where you can create, update and track workspaces using an open architecture, interfaces and data:

    Article: The Semiconductor Landscape In A Few Years?-projectic.jpg


    It's possible for a modern IC design team to be working with an 80GB workspace, which can take a long time to sync using DM tools like Subversion, Perforce, Git and others. To speed up this sync process there are a couple of approaches available:


    • Intelligent IP Caching - Project IC ensures that the data designers need is located as close to them as possible through an onsite IP cache, and that there is no unnecessary duplication of data. Only a subset of the data actually needed for editing is held in the user workspace, then visible for data management sync operations, providing a speed up for syncing and smaller file sizes. I blogged about this topic a bit back in January 2014.
    • Accelerating Underlying Storage - Since project IC is built on top of open interfaces and standards they are able to take advantage of any new technology that can speed workspace creation. An example of this speedup is a collaboration Methodics have with NetApp that uses the FlexClone data provisioning technology, allowing 100GB workspaces to be created in less than one minute, versus having to wait hours when using a typical Subversion or Perforce operation.


    Article: The Semiconductor Landscape In A Few Years?-netapp.jpg

    The FlexClone technology can create an exact, virtual copy of huge data volumes and files without buying additional storage space. This partnership between Methodics and NetApp looks very promising, and even Perforce is using and recommending NetApp to their customers doing hardware design, games development and other users of large data. Perforce joined the NetApp Alliance Partner program last year in October.

    Article: The Semiconductor Landscape In A Few Years?-perforce.jpg

    Engineers at Methodics have taken the NetApp technology and added it directly inside of the ProjectIC software, speeding up IP and data management tasks. Other IP and DM vendors tend to build their own databases and version control systems, which kind of locks you into their tools, so that when they try to boost sync speed with NetApp it requires custom OS updates. The way that Methodics is using NetApp to dramatically cut down the workspace sync time is really transparent to the IC designers, yet does not lock your data into either companies tools.

    Further Reading

    If you're interested in learning more about IP and DM, then consider these resources: