eSilicon Corporation: Improving semiconductor design

About eSilicon Corporation

eSilicon Corporation is an application-specific integrated circuit developer that designs and produces high-end semiconductors. Clients for eSilicon circuits and services include businesses in the 5G infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and networking industries.

Industries: Technology, Manufacturing
Location: United States
Products: Compute Engine

About Elastifile and
GCP Marketplace

Elastifile
Elastifile, a GCP Marketplace Partner provides customers with enterprise-grade, scalable, cloud file storage and data mobility features.

GCP Marketplace
GCP Marketplace offers ready-to-go development stacks, solutions, and services to accelerate development, allowing GCP customers to spend less time installing.

eSilicon Corporation migrated to Google Cloud Platform and Elastifile to create a scalable solution that's capable of powering the processing and resource-intensive steps during chip design.

Google Cloud Results

  • Increases the number of chip designs that can be completed concurrently, reducing time to market for new designs
  • Avoids large investments in IT infrastructure to support peak workloads
  • Improves production platform's ability to react to processing-intensive periods, increasing reliability and minimizing design delays
  • Compute Engine outperformed on-premises solution by nearly 15% in internal testing

GCP and Elastifile helped dramatically reduce operating costs

As vital as cellular towers, smartphones, and other technology are today, services wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful without hardware providers such as application-specific integrated circuit provider eSilicon Corporation. The company designs and manufactures the semiconductors that help power hardware in fields such as 5G infrastructure, networking, and artificial intelligence.

To get the most out of its design platform, eSilicon sought to optimize its production workflows. With the increasing complexity of modern semiconductors, the company needed a better way to handle peak processing loads during resource-intensive parts of the chip design process.

"From start to finish, our platform needs to offer maximum performance and efficiency so we can be a reliable provider of solutions for our customers," says Naidu Annamaneni, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Global IT at eSilicon.

By using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and partnering with cloud services provider Elastifile, eSilicon found a solution that fit the needs of its business. With GCP and Elastifile, eSilicon has a design platform that increases its semiconductor design abilities and provides cost-effective scalability.

"Google Cloud Platform and Elastifile helped us eliminate performance bottlenecks in the design cycle. With our improved EDA workflows, we can shorten the design timeline and get finished products to our customers sooner."

Naidu Annamaneni, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Global IT, eSilicon

Anticipating processing peaks

During the design process, eSilicon relies on its Electronic Design Automation (EDA) workflows to handle tasks such as chip design and quality assurance. Internally, this process requires substantial processing overhead and hardware. For instance, one recent chip design required tens of thousands of CPU cores to power EDA tools, but eSilicon's existing data center did not have such a large number of cores available for use. In the final stage of the design process, processing and storage needs also regularly double to quadruple in size. The difficulty of managing the performance spikes often meant that eSilicon engineers had to be diverted from other projects.

To improve how it handled these processing bursts, eSilicon implemented a two-tiered strategy that utilized Google Cloud Platform and Elastifile resources. Elastifile and Compute Engine supplement eSilicon and its on-premises data center, offloading the processing workload of its EDA tools into the cloud during high-demand periods for improved and flexible performance.

The Elastifile Cloud File System supports eSilicon's EDA storage needs, including access to POSIX-compliant, scalable NFS file storage. EDA workflows can require terabytes to petabytes worth of space with an individual project often needing between 500TB to 700TB at its peak. With Elastifile delivering elastic storage scalability and native compatibility with existing EDA tools and scripts, eSilicon easily integrated its existing workflows into GCP, without having to make costly adjustments such as application rewriting or refactoring.

eSilicon has already seen notable performance gains through its new EDA workflow solution. In internal testing, eSilicon found that Compute Engine outperformed its on-premises solution by nearly 15 percent. The company was also able to double the number of chip design cycles that can be concurrently run, which helped facilitate a massive improvement in time to market.

"The synergy between the technology of Elastifile, its scalability, and the performance of GCP is very impressive."

Naidu Annamaneni, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Global IT, eSilicon

"GCP and Elastifile helped us eliminate performance bottlenecks in the design cycle," says Naidu. "With our improved EDA workflows, we can shorten the design timeline and get finished products to our customers sooner."

Reduced costs, better performance

When eSilicon was on its legacy platform, one of its biggest hurdles was preparing for heavy processing loads on its EDA workflows. While eSilicon could have invested in bolstering its data center's resources, inflexible pricing models meant that it would have been locked into paying more for additional hardware that would only be needed during peak loads.

With GCP and Elastifile, eSilicon and its design platform now have a valuable amount of elasticity. GCP and storage options from Elastifile can be ramped up during peak burst loads or dialed down on demand, which has driven significant cost savings for the company.

"We've seen a large drop in cloud operating costs," explains Naidu. "Shifting our approach for peak processing periods during EDA workflows helped us avoid making cost-ineffective hardware investments. We estimated that a comparable on-premises solution for bursty workloads would have cost the company several millions of dollars."

For eSilicon, this flexibility ultimately makes the company a more agile and competitive provider. With GCP and Elastifile, eSilicon avoids being constrained by CapEx-intensive infrastructure costs. Instead, the company can tightly align infrastructure spending with the needs of its business.

"Elastifile and Google have been valuable resources for eSilicon. They've strived to enable customers to get more value out of their data from the outset and improved how we approached advanced chip design."

Naidu Annamaneni, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Global IT, eSilicon

"The synergy between the technology of Elastifile, its scalability, and the performance of GCP is very impressive," says Naidu.

Streamlining the production process

Although high load processing periods, such as tape-out phases only made up a fraction of the overall EDA workflow for eSilicon, the company still needed a better way to handle these instances to help ensure they didn't bring the whole design process to a standstill. By harnessing GCP and Elastifile into its design platform, eSilicon is better prepared for unpredictable performance demands and can support a faster development cycle to speed product time to market.

"Elastifile and Google have been valuable resources for eSilicon," says Naidu. "They've strived to enable customers to get more value out of their data from the outset and improved how we approached advanced chip design."

About eSilicon Corporation

eSilicon Corporation is an application-specific integrated circuit developer that designs and produces high-end semiconductors. Clients for eSilicon circuits and services include businesses in the 5G infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and networking industries.

Industries: Technology, Manufacturing
Location: United States

About Elastifile and
GCP Marketplace

Elastifile
Elastifile, a GCP Marketplace Partner provides customers with enterprise-grade, scalable, cloud file storage and data mobility features.

GCP Marketplace
GCP Marketplace offers ready-to-go development stacks, solutions, and services to accelerate development, allowing GCP customers to spend less time installing.