April 26, 2010
All About EVE
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Russ Henke - Contributing Editor

by Russ Henke - Contributing Editor
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You're just going to have to take my word for it.

Better yet, let's listen to how Lauro Rizzatti positions EVE's business:

“Emulation technology has been around for over twenty years. The largest company (to manufacture and sell emulators) in the past was Quickturn, which was eventually acquired by Cadence. The second one was IKOS, which was acquired by Mentor Graphics. The problems with those early emulation implementations were multifaceted. They were expensive machines, in the millions of dollars range. So they were limited in terms of market acceptance. You had to be a big company to spend that sort of money. The other issue was that when you were deploying those emulators of old, you often had to provide an army of application engineers just to make the system work. So it was not only
expensive to acquire, it was also very expensive to maintain. The cost of ownership was very, very high.”

“What EVE did at the time of its founding, was to identify an opportunity to implement a far less-expensive solution that would be easier to use and would require fewer engineers to deploy. That was difficult challenge, but that was the thinking behind EVE's ZeBu emulators: small, inexpensive and through extensive software (compiler and runtime software), easier to deploy without the need for that army of application engineers.”

“Said another way, EVE was and is driven by two basic criteria: (1) low cost (significantly lower than traditional emulators), and (2) high speed (significantly higher than traditional emulators). To address the first, EVE selected off-the-shelf FPGA's instead of designing custom chips, as done by rivals Today that choice by EVE has proved to be the right choice, since redesigning custom chips every two/three years (currently at 40nm), would be economic suicide when attacking a total market of less than $200 million. The second criterion stemmed from EVE's desire to move outside the traditional hardware emulation space, typically focused on hardware verification, to also
cover hardware/software integration and embedded software validation.
Over time, amassing a large portfolio of patents, EVE has in fact addressed all other important parameters that make an emulator best-in-class, such as fast compilation, thorough design debugging, scalability to accommodate a large spectrum of designs from few million ASIC gates to a billion or more ASIC gates, etc. That was EVE's idea. It was not a revolutionary idea, but without it, EVE would not be as successful as I believe we are today.”

That captures it nicely.

In summary, EVE products significantly shorten the overall verification cycle of complex integrated circuits and electronic systems designs.

Now we are ready to talk more about the current state of EVE as well as about the future.

Looking Ahead: Optimism Abounds!

The entire EVE employee population is extremely optimistic going forward. First, EVE now has shipped over 300 ZeBu systems to over 60 customers, and EVE has some $30 million in annual revenue. According to company literature, EVE has become the acknowledged leader in Hardware/Software Co-Verification.
Nine (9) of the top ten (10) semiconductor companies worldwide rely on EVE products to verify their SoCs (Systems-on-Chips). With the best ROI in the market, EVE products are also the choice of startups that need first-pass silicon success.

Further, EVE today sports a remarkable list of products. See for example:

Likewise, EVE has amassed a long list of Customer Success Stories. See for example:

See also Footnote [3] for Logos of current EVE Reference Customers.

Lauro Rizzatti's personal optimism was reinforced by his
recent visits in early 2010 to India, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China and France. He wrote about his two-month trip in a blog entry on April 5, 2010:

The EVE ZeBu-Server:

A huge reason for EVE's current optimism is thanks in no small measure to the recent success of EVE's latest product, the
EVE ZeBu-Server , a scalable and affordable emulation system. (By the way,
ZeBu means “

Introduced by EVE in mid-2009, the ZeBu-Server is a high capacity system emulator with the relatively easy setup and debugging associated with
emulation, and the price/performance of
rapid prototyping. Supporting multiple users, interfaces, and host computers, the EVE ZeBu-Server is an emulator with
a capacity up to 1 Billion ASIC gates. The ZeBu-Server is primarily aimed at large-scale, multi-core chip and system emulation applications. It is ideal for the system-integration phase of the design cycle where multiple logic blocks, multiple chips, and embedded software all must be verified together.

Hardware design and
software development teams can share the same system and design representation, and can readily collaborate when debugging complex hardware/software interactions. The net effect is that hardware/software integration takes place much earlier in the design cycle, thereby reducing silicon re-spins and accelerating time to market.

ZeBu-Server is hands-down the highest performance emulator in the market, while also offering the most cost-effective solution in the smallest footprint. This is because the ZeBu-Server has been architected to take advantage of the largest and latest generation of
Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) in production.

The ZeBu compiler automatically handles any design, regardless of size, coding style, clocking scheme, or memory structure, making it easy to map very large designs. These have historically been the biggest problems with other FPGA-based rapid prototyping systems, but not with ZeBu, thanks to its complete software infrastructure.

Priced from $150,000, the Ze-Bu-Server offers automated, fast and incremental compilation from SystemVerilog, Verilog and VHDL register transfer level (RTL) code. It includes complete RTL signal waveform dumping and support for SystemVerilog Assertions.

On February 22, 2010, EVE announced that the ZeBu-Server had been selected from hundreds of nominations to be a finalist for
this year's EDN Innovation Awards. ZeBu-Server was selected for the electronic design automation (EDA) Front-End Simulation and Database Tools category. This year's list of finalists features 32 categories and more than 120 products that shipped in volume in the 2009 calendar year.

To qualify, EVE demonstrated innovation that resulted in a significant advance in technology and product development with ZeBu-Server during the past 12 months. “We received an impressive number of submissions for our 2009 Innovation Awards program, indicating that innovation was alive and well despite the economically challenging year,” said Rick Nelson, EDN editor-in-chief. “EVE's ZeBu-Server was one of the outstanding submissions (that) our editors chose.”

What doe the ZeBu-Server look like?

The writer has waited till last to display an actual image of a ZeBu-Server, because it really does look just like the proverbial “black box”. Anyway, here goes:

Note: If readers still long for a deeper understanding of the what and the why of the EVE ZeBu-Server, another enlightened explanation was provided by EVE's own VP Engineering Ludovic Larzul, in an article published in the
Xcell Journal for Q3 2009 Issue 68 by Xilinx, Inc., entitled, “EVE Taps Xilinx for Multiple Generations of Emulators.” Excerpts from that article are included in
Footnote [2] toward the end of this EDA WEEKLY article).

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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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