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High-tech mergers succeed when two companies blend their technologies and expertise to come up with a "best of both" solution. That's the idea behind today's (Feb. 28, 2011) Cadence Verification IP (VIP) catalog announcement , which combines VIP and technology that originated at both Cadence and Denali Software before Cadence's 2010 acquisition of Denali. Here's a brief look at what each brought to the party (and yes, speaking of parties, the famous Denali DAC party is still on!)
One of the key messages of the announcement is that all Cadence VIP now works in major third-party simulation environments. Previously, Cadence had a very broad range of VIP - with over 30 protocols - but it ran only in the Cadence Incisive simulator. Denali, in contrast, had a smaller VIP portfolio, but it could run in any simulator. Instead of locking everything to Incisive, Cadence decided to open everything up.
Denali provided more than just inspiration. "What we're doing is putting the Denali testbench interface across all our VIP," said Tom Hackett, Cadence product manager for verification IP. "Denali customers had a high level of satisfaction with that technology. So we're taking something we know people like and applying it across the product line to provide a common testbench interface."
The testbench interface supports multiple languages including SystemVerilog, e, and SystemC, and methodologies such as OVM and UVM. Tom said the interface strikes a good balance between IP visibility and ease of use, thus avoiding complexity and resulting in "reduced time to first test." With the same VIP testbench interface available for any simulator, he said, users will be able to avoid manual effort and improve verification quality across all projects.
Expanded VIP Portfolio
While Cadence had a very large VIP portfolio before the acquisition, Denali provided some strategic additions. Examples include PCIe Gen3, SuperSpeed USB, IBM PLB (Processor Local Bus) and SATA 6G. Other new additions to the VIP catalog, stemming from work that originated at Cadence, include AMBA4, 40G/100G Ethernet, MIPI M-PHY, MIPI DigiRF, and MIPI UniPro.
Memory models developed at Denali are part of the new VIP catalog announcement as well. If you look at how they're structured, Tom noted, memory models are really VIP components. Like bus-oriented VIP, they have a monitor that verifies protocols are correct, and an agent that responds to stimulus. Further, memory models from Denali use the same testbench interface that is now being applied to all Cadence VIP.
One difference is that bus protocol VIPs are generic verification components that must cover all the functionality a designer might implement, while a memory model can be specific to a given manufacturer and part number. Denali had memory models for around 15,000 components. I will not attempt to list them here. But I'll mention the new memory subsystem modeling and verification support for wide I/O SDRAM, DDR4 SDRAM, LRDIMM, GDDR5, Flash ONFI 3.0, Flash PPM, and Flash Toggle2NAND.
Debug , Acceleration, and Unified Coverage
Another Denali technology that's being added to all Cadence VIP products is a trace debug feature that allows remote debugging without the need to obtain a copy of the customer's design. This gets around the NDA issues that inevitably arise when third-party IP is part of a design. Customers can turn the trace on, capture a detailed log file, and ship it back to Cadence without having to send a copy of the design. Cadence engineers can then debug what's going on in the model.
Technology originated by Cadence allows accelerated VIP on Palladium verification platforms using the Accellera SCE-MI interface. In fact, Tom said, this technology has been around for several years. "What's new is that we're rolling out a new generation of accelerated VIP that's compatible with simulation VIP so you can merge coverage results," he noted. Thus, whether the verification engine is a simulator, accelerator, or formal verification tool, coverage data from these three engines can be combined. (Cadence already had VIP support for formal verification).
Most Cadence VIP is available for evaluation on Xuropa.com/cadence. As I noted in a previous blog post, potential users can evaluate the software without signing a license agreement.
An overview of the new VIP catalog, including a listing of protocols and new capabilities, is available on line. An article by Tom Hackett at ChipEstimate.com provides further perspectives on the Cadence-Denali acquisition and the Cadence VIP offering.