One reason you don't see a lot of semiconductor startups is that it's very costly to build a hardware and software infrastructure for IC design. But there's an alternative to buying a bunch of servers, licensing EDA tools, and hiring an IT team. It's called Hosted Design Solutions (HDS), a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that Cadence has been successfully providing since 2008.
In a recent video Chris Menkus, founder and CEO of City Semiconductor, talked about how his company used HDS to design its first product, a high-speed A/D converter. You can access that video at the end of this post. But first, here's some background on HDS and how it works, thanks to Larry Drenan, services group director at Cadence.
The crucial point, Drenan said, is that HDS "offers customers a proven environment that enables engineering teams to focus on designs with a lower cost of ownership." Instead of building their own compute infrastructures, customers purchase a services contract that allows them to run Cadence software inside VCAD (Virtual CAD) chambers. These are highly secure environments that contain compute resources, essentially providing a "private cloud."
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