Version aware, virtual file system dramatically speeds data access and reduces storage needs

May 15, 2012 // By Julien Happich
EDA company IC Manage has introduced its IC Manage Views storage acceleration software - a version aware, virtual file system that presents complete workspaces views, while only transferring data on demand to a local file cache.

IC Manage Views removes network transfer bottlenecks to accelerate Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tool performance, achieve Zero-Time Sync (ZTS) for workspaces, and reduce storage utilization. The tool is 100% compatible with all storage technologies and works at both local and remote sites. Zero-Time Sync - a one gigabyte, 10,000 file workspace takes approximately one second to populate, allowing tools to run immediately. For faster EDA tool performance, the tool uses local storage for reads, so design engineers get local speeds and avoid delays caused by network latency. Using network storage for writes provides consistent data storage and access. IC Manage Views automatically rotates least recently used files to stay within workspace cache quotas, and handles cache recovery in the event of failures or errors.

According to the company's Global Design Management survey results, the primary engineering challenges with design file management fall into two major areas: speed and storage. The top speed problems are network storage bottlenecks slowing the creation and updates of remote and local workspaces, and EDA tool performance. The storage problem is that the cost of storage capacity needed to keep up with expanding design data is too high. Design teams are constantly wrestling with storage needs. The survey found that on average, network data transfer bottlenecks account for 30% of the EDA tool iteration time. Numerous EDA design tools are impacted by network bottlenecks, including place and route, RTL functional verification, timing analysis, SPICE simulation/analysis, physical verification, and custom layout.

Using symbolic links has been a common technique to reduce disk space usage. However, almost three-quarters of symlinks users cite major issues. Approximately half cite the lack of control when using mirrors due to the automatic data push or out-of-sync mirrors. Other issues include workspace instability when versions are removed from the symbolic link trees to recover space, and security problems caused by difficulty managing UNIX-style directory permissions.

IC Manage Views unloads work from a central