Global environment

Managing EDA Tools in a Global Design Environment – Part 1

If you have multiple design centers on different continents that have EDA environment and design sharing issues, then this two part series of blog posts should be put on your reading list.  First I’m going to start off with looking at tips for managing EDA tools and the top five areas of functionality that should be on your evaluation list. In the second part of the blog series I’ll look at utilizing a properly managed global EDA environment to empower multi-site design.

Managing EDA tools

If you are responsible for the configuration and management of an EDA environment you already know this is a tremendously critical role.

  • It’s more than just an assemblage of tool executables.
  • The underlying configuration files and CAD library affects all system operations.

So, if you manage the configuration files or the CAD library incorrectly you will quickly become acquainted with the term “career limiting move”.

The spiral of complexity…

  • Rapidly increases when the installation spans multiple sites in the same region.
  • Becomes even more complex when the installation spans design centers around the globe.

Historical organization structures turn into a liability

  • Each design center was responsible for configuring and managing their individual installation of the EDA tool suite – easy but limited.
  • Each had a dedicated tools support team that would gladly customize the environment based on user requests.
  • Configuration management was mostly ad hoc, with little traceability back to the original requirements for the customization.
  • BUT over time, as companies have expanded, merged, or were acquired, each site’s unique environment suddenly became a liability.
  • Each set of unique configuration files and each CAD library had to be self-contained (best case) or transferred in whole (worst case) prior to sharing or transferring a design within the corporation.

Any of this sound familiar? 

Top five items to evaluate in a new EDA system supporting global multi-site product development

In a global environment the need to properly manage EDA tools and the CAD library across multiple sites and regions is no longer optional, it is essential to continued success in the long run. There is only a finite amount of time which you can just ‘muddle through’.

  1. Easy extension of a site-level environment to an enterprise-level solution.
  2. Extensive data management capabilities.
    • Revision control and data locking during both work-in-progress and release to manufacturing.
    • Check-in and check-out either entire designs or portions of designs.
    • Permission based access – only those with a need to view and/or edit data have access to the data.
  3. Offer a virtual design center to enable distributed design teams to work closely together.
    • Ability to access and edit both a central “vault” of library data and work-in-progress design data from any location at any time.
    • Support for global design reviews.
  4. Proper configuration and management of the EDM system to enable all design sites to utilize a common continually synchronized EDA environment.
    • All environment data is under strict revision control with write access allocated only to those with responsibility for maintaining the environment.
    • Environment data is updated as required, tested in a sandbox environment, approved for release, and then synchronized to each site’s production environment.
  5. Support a search hierarchy for configuration files that are managed by the EDM system.
    • In this model the configuration files with the highest priority, the enterprise level, are referenced first. If no configuration file exists at the enterprise level then the system level is referenced.
    • The end result – you are only managing and replicating the minimum set of customized data which resides at the enterprise level. You move from managing potentially hundreds of configuration files, to instead managing files that now number in the tens.

Bottom line – an EDA tool suite that utilizes a properly configured and managed EDM system not only allows for ease of collaboration between globally distributed design centers, but also promotes the documentation and sharing of engineering best practice and common processes for the benefit of all design teams in all regions.

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