Past couple of years has seen an emergence of lot of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools backed by the cloud. EDA on the cloud provides for the added option of working while connected to the internet without having to go for high specification sheets every time you buy a computer. These are gaining momentum and providing stiff competition to the offline tools.
Kishore Karnane, product management director, PCB Group, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. talks with Saurabh Durgapal of EFY on some of the advantages and limitations involved with online EDA tools.
Q. What’s driving online EDA?
A. Online EDA has a primary role in bringing the entire design ECO system to the engineering desktop to achieve faster and better decision by all participants of collaboration environment. So, collaborative work environment is a major driving force behind online EDA. Ease of access in the form of no software installations and the possibility to work from the familiar environment of an internet browser have been great helping factors as well. It also makes software updates easier and quick when these are done on a server, with automatic reflection of the update for the user.
Q. How is online EDA evolving over the offline tools?
A. Designers’ needs are changing and they are looking for schematic capture tools on the cloud so that they can easily create a schematic and not worry about installing the software on their desktop. Once access is provided to multiple users, different designers can collaborate over the internet itself without having to go for separate installations. Also with some online tools you find easy access to open libraries.
Q. Is the migration experience from offline to online tools comfortable?
A. The UI is very familiar. Depending on the libraries, you have the same components as well. The designs are interchangeable between the two environments. If the user has a licenced product on only one device, then they can work on the cloud when the primary system becomes inaccessible. They can download the schematic later and work on it with a licenced software. Sharing of schematics is also easier for online EDA.
Q. How is collaboration improved in online tools?
A. An area that is significantly improved is the collaboration between teams. You can import previous designs and reuse them in your circuits. This makes for trustable designs with circuits that have worked well in the past. However, in certain cases, user data i.e. components created by individual users are not open for people outside the team. Also, once a schematic on the cloud, it can easily be read on multiple devices.
Q. How significantly are the designers benefiting from online tools?
A. Beginners and entrepreneurs are the popular users with online tools as these provide for varied usage options. These solutions have enabled customers to visualise the data and benefit at a higher level. The immediate impacts for offline designer is stale information causing re-spins. Further, more effort and time is spent by everyone in offline teams in achieving design collaboration.
Q. What are the limitations with online EDA?
A. At present internet connectivity seems to be the only limiting factor. But that does not look to be the case anymore soon. We have a limitation of about 60 components for creating schematics in the online version. This however is not so much of a limitation, as most basic designs can be easily covered under those 60 components.