Gary Smith & EE Times Must Read This Blog!

Thanks to Sean Murphy who alerted me to the 2 part piece (here and here) in EE Times on Cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service for EDA.

Those of you who have been reading this blog have already heard me discuss this topic (several times)and many of you have already added your thoughts to the conversation.  It looks like Daya Nadamuni and Gary Smith must either read my blog or have independently realized how the EDA industry is moving.  Either way, given Gary Smith’s and EE Times’ street cred, this will likely help to accelerate any move in that direction.

There is a lot more to be said, so look for my next post where I’ll address the EE Times articles directly.

Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US.

harry the ASIC guy

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11 Responses to “Gary Smith & EE Times Must Read This Blog!”

  1. John Ford says:

    Well… at least Daya Nadamuni is on the same wave-length… Gary didn’t write that article. Sounds like there are more questions than answers so far, but it’s a decent idea…

    Happy T-day!

  2. The Kurgan says:

    Perhaps this is known already, but Cadence is selling real ‘pay per use’ in Europe. It’s a pre-paid concept in which the user can generate his own licenses by the day/week for all their tools except Orcad. They call it the “EDA Gold Card”. Prices roughly a few k$ per week in total without any start-up cost.
    More info on:

  3. harry says:

    Indeed, Cadence has offered an eDAcard for several years that provides as short as weekly rental licenses at a premium. Synopsys offers something similar called called eLicensing, although I’m not sure how short they will go. Some important points:

    1) The eDACard is a short-term license, not a pay-per-use license. One could argue that a short-term license is more appropriate for EDA. I probably would not disagree, although I think both have their benefits.
    2) The eDACard is not SaaS since it is licensing for customers to use in their own design centers, not in a hosted design center at Cadence.
    3) Cadence does have a Hosted Design Solution that it calls SaaS that includes hardware, software, support, and some sort of Service Level Agreement. However, per my conversation with them in September, the shortest term license available is 3 months and eDAcard is not supported.
    4) The Cadence SaaS offering is in a secure data center and not on a cloud computing environment like Amazon EC2. The advantage is the security and control over the environment. The disadvantage is that scaling of capacity is non-trivial as compared to a cloud where scaling is very natural. If you want to run regression sims using hundreds of CPUs and licenses, that requires Cadence to “build it out”, probably by leasing some sort of grid computing hardware, which would take at a minimum several days. Using a cloud environment, you could get the capability just by submitting the jobs or maybe also requesting / authorizing more capacity.

    I applaud Cadence’s creativity in offering these new types of license models (eDAcard and SaaS) and we are definitely heading in the direction of Pay-Per-Use SaaS on a Cloud, but we’re not there yet.

  4. SaaS does appear to have its advantages but one question I have is: can one vendor moving to SaaS make an impact in a world that uses multi-vendor flows? I feel that the only way that SaaS can succeed this time around is (1) all the major vendors move to SaaS together and (2) independent third-party SaaS platforms come into existence to host solutions from multiple vendors.

    I would love to hear your comments on my SaaS post addressing this concern (Brave New World : SaaS and Its Implications For EDA @


  5. Harry,

    Thanks for the comments (and the link). Are there any SaaS platforms for EDA flows (something that will support mutiple tools and vendors) out there or does someone need to build it from scratch? I googled it but wasn’t able to find one. Are there any contenders?


  6. Jeremy Ralph says:

    Aditya, I think, which Harry has covered in the past, supports multiple tools and vendors though their online labs.

    With SaaS I think it’s important to differentiate between:

    i) hosted applications that must be accessed via a VPN client that the user must download and pre-configure


    ii) those that will run in a web-browser, as you’d expect from SaaS leaders like Google Apps, 37Signals,, Windows Live, Flickr, TurboTax and so on.

    Both Xuropa and are fully SaaS EDA apps that run from a web browser. Imagine the day when your simulator runs in a browser. I’d use it. Would you?

  7. […] in and many conversations with a huge proponent of Cloud Computing and SaaS for EDA, Harry Gries (aka The ASIC Guy). I thought it was time that I took a crack at articulating how I see this […]

  8. James Colgan says:

    Hello Harry,

    Great dialogue! We’re really only at the beginning of this particular technology adoption curve and we’ve got a long ways to go.

    It’s clear that there are a number of drivers that need to be brought into alignment for each tool, vendor, use-model, business-model for the transition to occur. But it’s not going to be a step function, and doesn’t need to be.

    If we consider all of the different components that needed to be brought together to establish TV, cell phones, the PC, the internet, etc. the transition of EDA to SaaS and Cloud Computing isn’t insurmountable as long as the right motivations are there.

    There are some interesting dependencies that need to be ironed out that are particular to our industry. However, the economic incentives are there now more than ever.

    I will be laying our thoughts out in a serial blog post, the first of which went up today. Cloud Computing, SaaS and Electronic Design (Part 1)



  9. James Colgan says:

    Hi Aditya and thank you Jeremy.

    Yes indeed, we have the infrastructure and expertise to support a transition to a Cloud Computing and SaaS model today.

    As you’ll see in the post I referred to in my comment to Harry, it’s a gradual transition that can be approached from the perspective of “what problem are we trying to solve?”.

    Not every tool will make the move at the same time. The drivers for each tool to make the transition are different and will change at different rates.

    The Xuropa Community Platform hosts EDA tools today in a universally accessible Online Lab. There are no downloads, no plug-ins, no configuration or installations necessary. Just with your browser you’re able to fire up an EDA tool and start using it.

    Just register at Xuropa and click on My Labs to see what you can start experimenting with.


  10. Amir says:

    Hi Harry,
    I noticed your recent comments on my Megahard open source eda-as-a-service post (link for your readers):

    I’m glad to find more people talking about this.

    The major benefit of any hosted service is that it can use massively parallel processing to distribute NP-Hard problems in order to provide a faster user experience. The second nice aspect is to provide a high rate of new feature roll-outs.

    I think that adopting an open source development model will make this work. In a SaaS world, people pay for access to a better tool; not for licenses. The real value is in providing the architecture that hosts the service.

  11. Jeremy Ralph says:

    Looks like Cheryl Ajluni at Chip Design Mag must also read your blog:

    Can SaaS Really Make Chip Design Easier?

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