Synopsys Launches Cloud-Based SaaS Solution to Accelerate and Democratize Chip Design

In a move that could have broad implications for chip design and the EDA (Electronic Design Automation) industry as a whole, Synopsys has launched a new cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, dubbed Synopsys Cloud, which makes its state-of-the-art design and verification tools available to a wide range of potential customers.

Announced in collaboration with Microsoft, Synopsys Cloud will allow customers to access Synopsys’ cloud-optimized, AI-infused design tools, on an optimized infrastructure in Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform.

“Our new Synopsys Cloud offering promises to be transformative, giving designers the flexibility to scale up or down in response to their dynamic chip design and verification needs,” said Sassine Ghazi, president and chief operating officer of Synopsys. “As more and more design flows integrate AI, requiring even more resources, the virtually unlimited access to compute and EDA we provide will lay the foundation for new levels of innovation in semi -drivers while providing a flexible and secure chip development environment for future demands.”

An ever-increasing number of companies are designing their own chips, and the complexity of chips designed by industry heavyweights has increased exponentially. There is also much more pressure on time to market in the current climate, especially given the ongoing chip shortages and supply constraints currently plaguing the semiconductor industry. The increasing demands and complexity of today’s chip designs often require companies to constantly spend time and capital on the perpetual expansion of their own EDA tooling infrastructure, which in turn leads to significant software licensing issues. . This situation is untenable for many companies, especially startups trying to compete with industry stalwarts with infinitely more resources. Synopsys Cloud solves these problems with an innovative new SaaS usage model.

Synopsys Cloud offers a few flexible options that can be managed directly by customers or by Synopsys. Customers already leveraging cloud resources can take advantage of Synopsys Cloud through a BYOC model, or they can use a SaaS model and let Synopsys manage and maintain the virtual infrastructure for them. And because Synopsys Cloud’s EDA tools are billed on a pay-as-you-go basis, there’s no maintenance or additional expenses to consider. Customers can dynamically scale up or down cloud resources based on their particular needs.

Complex designs require complex on-site infrastructure

With the increasing complexity of chip designs and the growing use of AI to speed up multiple phases of the design process, the demands on compute resources for EDA workflows have increased dramatically. The thing is, scaling on-premises infrastructure to meet these needs isn’t always feasible, or even possible. Additionally, using a diverse set of ever-changing EDA tools across different platforms and processor/platform generations in a typical data center does not always produce consistent or optimized performance. Moving these tools to Azure’s cloud, with its inherent ability to scale compute resources in its virtualized environment, adds immense flexibility and could potentially improve time to market.

For example, many EDA workloads are highly parallelizable. Library simulation and characterization tasks will expand to a nearly infinite number of processing cores. With on-premises infrastructure, scaling to more physical compute cores takes a lot of time and resources to set up and configure. With Azure, however, customers can choose to scale jobs to additional VMs as needed to accelerate larger, more complex workloads. The same goes for massive, memory-intensive tasks. With Synopsys’ cloud-based tools, design teams can choose optimal system configurations with up to 12TB of RAM. This capability can enable ultra-complex chip verification workloads that were otherwise not possible in a customer’s existing on-premises infrastructure without upgrading to the latest hardware platforms.

Protecting customer data is paramount

Security will obviously be a major concern for some potential customers of Synopsys’ new SaaS model. Putting a valuable, proprietary IP address in the cloud isn’t something every design or management team will be comfortable with. Security is already a major pillar of the Azure cloud – and competing cloud providers for that matter – but Synopsys takes it a step further with its own additional multi-factor security layers.

Although Synopsys is well known for its EDA tools, the company also has a cybersecurity research center and creates secure software tools for thousands of customers. Security is a big part of what Synopsys does. And as such, the company relies on Azure’s integrated defenses with its own. Synopsys’ goal is to protect customer data at every level, and its tools give customers the ability to inspect, monitor, and log activity with granular access.

Synopsys has been innovating at a rapid pace with its AI-enhanced design and verification tools over the past few years, in an effort to meet the increasingly complex and urgent demands of the semiconductor industry. With Synopsys Cloud, the company is making these advanced tools more easily accessible to a wide range of potential customers, with a consistent and familiar experience available through a browser-based portal, which is dynamically scalable to specifically meet customer needs. I suspect this kind of power and flexibility will be welcomed by the industry as a whole and could very well start a sea change in empowering chip design tools for the masses.

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