Don’t get lost in the cloud

By Matthew Walsh |  No Comments  |  Posted: July 9, 2020
Topics/Categories: Digital Twin, EDA Topics, PCB Topics  |  Tags: , ,  | Organizations: , ,

Matthew Walsh is a Product Marketing Manager in the Electronic Board Systems (EBS) Product Division of Mentor, a Siemens BusinessMatthew Walsh is a Product Marketing Manager in the Electronic Board Systems (EBS) Product Division of Mentor, a Siemens Business

Set in the year 1997, the original Jupiter 2 spacecraft lifted off on a five-and-a-half-year journey to an earth-like planet circling the star Alpha Centauri. For a variety of reasons, the Robinson family never reached their destination and became Lost in Space.

Figure 1. "DANGER, Will Robinson, respin approaching."

Figure 1. “DANGER, Will Robinson, respin approaching.” (CC)

Similarly, many companies seek the cloud as their destination, but they don’t have a well thought out route planned or even a clear reason why to embark on the trip. Many think migrating to the cloud is as simple as trading an earthbound, room full of hardware for a panoply of virtual products and services in the cloud.

But it’s much more than that. Many routes lead to cloud-enhanced tools and productivity. Choosing the right path is not necessarily straightforward, nor is it fixed. So companies must evaluate cloud-migration strategies and the trade-offs. Although companies see the advantages of moving to the cloud, they have not mapped the path best suited to their tools and processes. As a result, it is easy for them to get “Lost in the Cloud.”

Mentor, A Siemens Business, has developed the vision, the expertise, and the solutions to help you successfully navigate the cloud. We are here to help companies find their way to the best mix of services and solutions for them. We understand this industry-transforming trend and have a clear strategy that sees moving to the cloud as a journey full of opportunities and options.

Mentor is dedicated to this ambitious journey that brings cloud-enabled solutions to customers. We have two goals that guide our way:

  1. Offer deployment flexibility through cloud ready solutions and managed services
  2. Deliver a rich cornucopia of cloud connected and native software as a service (SaaS) applications that greatly enhance customer productivity

Our strategy is founded upon four pillars, which are being offered as they become ready for customer use.

Figure 2. The four pillars of the Mentor Electronic Board Systems cloud-based strategy (Mentor)

Figure 2. The four pillars of the Mentor Electronic Board Systems cloud-based strategy (Mentor)

Think of these as forming a continuum for electronic design innovation that allows customers to use the services they need when they need them — your way, your pace.

With the Siemens Digital Industries Software (Siemens DISW) portfolio, this holistic, strategic vision harnesses the power and flexibility of the cloud to realize the complete digital twin (aka virtual model) experience across multiple domains. Let’s look at each of the four pillars.

Cloud Ready

Most companies are familiar with the idea of running software from their datacenter. This has become a trend in EDA over the last few years. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a natural extension of this approach because it delivers a virtualized datacenter experience through a cloud computing infrastructure, including servers, network, operating systems, and storage.

To support IaaS deployment, Mentor Electronic Board Systems (EBS) has qualified the complete Xpedition and PADS Professional flows for PCB design on Amazon Web Services (AWS). In short, these represent cloud-ready solutions. This gives customers the flexibility to decide which infrastructure to choose for their electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) environment. Together with the qualification of other DISW products, Siemens offers a complete set of tools for product development, simulation, and analysis that can be hosted on AWS, whether in a public or a private cloud. If utilized, IaaS customers are responsible for installation, management, and support of this environment, just as they would be for desktop or datacenter installations. Hybrid approaches are also supported. For example, companies can host the Xpedition EDM solution on AWS while using authoring tools installed on the desktop. And in the next Xpedition release, distributing advanced solver jobs to AWS will be made easy, leveraging IaaS and the elasticity of the cloud.

There are several benefits to a cloud computing infrastructure. Two of the most important are:

  • Rapid innovation due to performance and the quickly-scalable nature of cloud infrastructure; and
  • Simplified maintenance of installation environments and an easier upgrade path to new technology releases.

Managed Services

Mentor employs a managed services engagement model to help customers administer their ECAD infrastructure. A range of services are being developed to help customers manage their environments. These will include options that range from on-premises services that manage existing ECAD installations, to managing your entire Mentor infrastructure in the cloud. Because Mentor focuses on ensuring the tools are optimized for each customer use-case, customers can focus on product design instead of installation troubleshooting and maintenance.

Figure 2. Mentor’s managed services engagement model (Mentor)

Figure 3. Mentor’s managed services engagement model (Mentor)

Cloud Connected

As Mentor executes its cloud strategy, it is committed to providing a range of value-added, native cloud applications that will augment the experience of the desktop user. The initial focus of our cloud connected solutions will be small and medium-sized businesses. Our first solution will offer cloud data management and visualization that is cloud-connected to the PADS Professional desktop tool. This will enable PADS Professional users to utilize basic data management in the cloud, allowing them to share and collaborate with other team members connected to the cloud. Teams can collaborate inside a single company or across organizational boundaries, such as between an OEM and EMS. As we continue this journey, we will offer a range of applications with increasing functionality that will be deployed more rapidly than desktop releases. These will include extended visualization and markup as well as validation and analysis. All cloud-connected applications will be delivered via a SaaS business model.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

As our cloud offering progresses, our solution will allow customers to choose the service or services they need to address the full range of design challenges they face, utilizing the entire Siemens DISW portfolio. Providing services that can be leveraged with other services from Siemens DISW will allow customers to meet the specific needs for their own product design purposes.

Found in Space

The pillars of the Mentor cloud strategy are intended to assist Mentor’s traditional PCB design and analysis tool users on their journey to a cloud-based ecosystem. As we move forward together, the cloud will allow us to realize the richness of an end-to-end digital thread that weaves component-level and design-level data throughout the product creation process.

Creating a digital twin of parts will extend a digital thread from the component manufacturer to manufacturing. This digital transformation of the component and design processes will revolutionize how data is created, consumed, and manipulated in the design and manufacturing process.

Although the original Robinson family never reached the Alpha Centauri star system (we’ll find out about the new one next year), the journey was exciting because it turned out to be a series of smaller destinations each week. Mentor’s cloud journey is equally exciting because we have clarity of vision (the destination) and a clear strategy (the four pillars), so we can provide our customers purposeful options for a successful mission.

Further reading

For more information download our new whitepaper, Lost In The Cloud? Mentor Shows The Way.

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