Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.
Incisive vManager: CDN takes on biggest baddest SoCs
February 26th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
How appropriate, the week prior to DVCon, for Cadence to announce a major new verification enhancement – Incisive vManager. Per a phone call last week with Cadence MDV [metric-driven verification] Product Management Director John Brennan, the company has spent the last 4 years working on this new “verification planning and management solution.”
Brennan said, “Incisive vManager has been in customer beta for the past 2 years, so this is actually our third release. Previously we’ve been quiet [about the product], but now we’re ready to say, ‘Come one, come all, and look at what we’ve done!’
“We’ve completely re-engineered and re-invented ourselves regarding verification planning and management – an important area I’ve been working on for over 10 years. What we’ve done with Incisive vManager is to redo our existing solution, both for reasons of scalability and for better addressing the needs of our customers, specifically the increased size and complexity of today’s verification [task] with a new client-based solution for multiple users.
“In a previous era, individuals relied on paper work and manuals to coordinate a team approach to verification, each member of the team doing what they needed to do [in an attempt] to increase productivity. Most verification projects today, however, use multiple verification engineers – as many as 40 or 50 on one program – with multiple users executing across various verification engines optimized to the task at hand.
“Verification is now a team sport [costing upwards] of $38 million per chip at 40 nanometers, where the customers’ biggest concerns [span the range from] scheduling for design and verification, to total time to tape out, and [if things don’t go well] the total cost of respins and recalls.”
In the face of those challenges, per Brennan, “Incisive vManager provides scheduling predictably, a set of predictable metrics to see what you have done. It provides focus, greater visibility [across the team], a greater ability to shift capabilities as needed, and allows you to execute across different verification engines, formal and functional.
“[As importantly], it provides an environment that supports gigabytes of data, seamlessly managed, and because teams today are submitting jobs to [massive] compute firms, Incisive vManager gives you the ability to see everyone’s work [simultaneously] and where the most critical failures are across the design, while also allowing you to eliminate redundant test cycles [saving time and computer resources].”
I asked Brennan how any test cycles could be deemed redundant.
He said, “We use an underlying feature of test coverage to optimize to the best tests. Out of perhaps 500 tests, we can eliminate all but 20. We definitely have the ability to do this. It’s not a guesstimate – it’s based on the reality of test ranking and correlation.”
Brennan went on describe the Incisive vManager process flow in its entirety, referencing a summary slide in the PowerPoint presentation we were both looking at. In lieu of his narrative, I’m including the image below.
That graphic speaks to the complexity of the new Cadence release, but it does not speak to Brennan’s obvious enthusiasm for the technology: “Cadence invented this space 10 years ago, and even though our biggest competitors have tried to copy us – mimicking our look and feel – in no way have they copied our newest solution.
“Here at Cadence, we’re introducing a whole new era of verification management. Now every engineer will get to see exactly the same thing that every other engineer gets to see on a project. They’ll be able to work together better, to collaborate together to a common cause – that common point they’re all looking for.
“Incisive vManager is both very powerful and personally very rewarding for me. I’ve been working on it for a long time, and knowing as I do, that we can now get to – and deal with – the biggest baddest SoCs out there is very exciting!”
Incisive vManager takes the established Incisive Enterprise Manager [IEM], “an interactive tool for running regression suites and analyzing results using MDV methodology,” and re-architects it to provide instead an “SQL database-driven solution with powerful features for tracking verification progress and an expanded MDV methodology.”
Tags: Cadence, Incisive Enterprise Manager, Incisive vManager, John Brenner, MDV, metric-driven verification