Monday, March 28, 2011

Synopsys: head in the Cloud, feet firmly planted

Synopsys’ (Nasdaq: SNPS) chairman & CEO, Aart de Geus, told attendees of the company’s annual SNUG (Synopsys Users Group) event (3/28/11, Santa Clara, CA) that using cloud computing to provide surge capacity for modeling/simulation activities by its customers is an opportunity to evolve the EDA business model. To that end, the company has an agreement with Amazon to provide the service – essentially, the ability for a user to request compute power by the hour when such a “surge” is needed to meet time-to-market goals. It was further noted that the security of such a service must be extraordinary, i.e., military-grade. SPICE modeling will also be targeted for surge capacity on the cloud. De Geus also took the opportunity to reiterate his view of semi-economics: where “smart everything” results not only in systemic value creation, but also systemic complexity. To keep up with such complexity, De Geus said accelerating software development with prototypes will be the actionable/executable specification of the future. Prototyping can be either virtual or FPGA-based. The reality of managing systemic complexity includes R&D expenses, collaborations, and acquisitions. Synopsys fully participates in all three. For example, the company currently spends over 30% of its revenue on R&D, and recent acquisitions (e.g., Optical Research Associates, Virage Logic, CoWare, Synfora, VaST Systems Technology) will continue to be an important part of the company’s strategy as software/IP/simulation/modeling are key to moving forward. Perhaps no truer to a practical, pragmatic business philosophy is de Geus’ comment that when dealing with Wall Street, “don’t over promise – over execute.” (Debra Vogler)

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