Microsoft is working on Cloud-optimized design solutions and tools combined with methodologies that fully utilize the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) parallelism.
Microsoft and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) have come together to create a “Joint Innovation Lab to accelerate silicon design on Azure”. As is ever the case with such Labs, the two companies are talking up how the other partner is a pioneer and them working together will create a unit capable of even greater wonders.
However, Microsoft also stated something a little more interesting:
“We are working to optimize new VM types in all aspects of CPU performance, number of cores, memory-to-core ratio, and local storage, combined with the most effective storage options, targeting EDA workloads of highly complicated IC designs enabled by the most advanced process technologies.”
This is interesting because while Microsoft and other big Cloud operators do offer instance types suited to particular applications, they seldom do so for workloads as specific as EDA. Therefore, Microsoft clearly sees big opportunities in the field, or perhaps a field clear of competitors.
Microsoft sees this investment as a help for silicon designers to get more work done, and at a greater pace because it will provide them with more resources than they can run on-premises.
This is good news because even though Microsoft offers instances that are suited to specific applications, they do not do much for workloads that are as specific as EDA. Therefore, Microsoft is trying to create more opportunities that will give it a competitive edge over other Cloud Service Providers.
Microsoft is selling this investment as a way to help designers who work with silicon to get more work done faster by availing the resources that they need to make sure that they can run more processes than they would be able to do if they were on-premise.
Rani Bokar, the corporate Vice President for Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure says that often EDA design jobs take months to complete because of in-house computing limitations.
Rani says that if EDA design jobs had access to Azure’s scalable resources, they could scale to tens of thousands of cores very rapidly and achieve faster time to market. The improved efficiency and computing power will see to that and deal with surge demand simultaneously.