IP Reuse
December 12, 2019

How to Streamline IP Reuse

Version Control

IP reuse allows companies to shorten development cycles and deliver a product ahead of your competitors. And for semiconductor companies, as lead times get shorter, IP reuse is critical to accelerating time-to-market. 

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What Is IP Reuse?

IP reuse allows companies to use a proven IP in another chip design. It saves teams time because they don’t design the same thing over and over again. They already know it works, so all that is needed is to test it in context of the new design.

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The Evolution of IP Reuse

Teams have always reused design IPs. Small teams were able to work together to come up with a common library and naming convention for chip files to make IP reuse easier. But semiconductor chips continue to get more complicated.

IPs are not just being reused. They are evolving. Customers are increasingly wanting to customize chips to meet their needs. And tracking all of these slight modifications and versions is necessary to keep up with audits and compliance needs.

All these versions need to be available, maintained, and tested to ensure compatibility. This has created an explosion of digital assets that can be unmanageable –– and is definitely expensive –– at scale.

IP reuse is no longer a nice to have. It is a need to have. System-on-Chip (SoC) and IC development requires managing all your software and hardware files, and making them accessible across your organization.

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5 Barriers to IP Reuse

IP reuse is key differentiator for companies. But it comes with many challenges as you try to manage it throughout the product lifecycle. Most SoC and IC projects have:

  • Multiple software repositories.
  • Cross-repository dependencies.
  • No centralized project view/reporting.
  • Limited admin resources.
  • Increased complexity.

Each of these challenges can delay teams. Engineers spend time searching instead of innovating. And these issues are compounded by the fact that many teams are located around the globe. This strains admin resources.

Issues With Global Teams Managing IPs

With design teams and software developers working together on projects from globally diverse facilities, teams need to find a way to overcome:

  • Separate siloed systems.
  • Too much administrative complexity and overhead.
  • Risk of out of sync assets.
  • Difficulty managing changes.
  • Incomplete traceability.

A modern version control system is the way to create a single source of truth, forming the core of your data management for hardware and software assets. It makes it easier to find assets and ensures engineers are always using the correct version.

Issues With Complexity

As design complexity increases and design cycles shrink, IP reuse has become a critical component of success for hardware teams. However, these two realities are often at odds with each other — complex IPs are hard to create, test, and reuse. On the other hand, SoCs need to be able to incorporate more and more complex IPs from diverse sources in as seamless and low effort manner as possible.

One way to manage complexity in reuse is to break down IPs into simpler components and build the complex pieces up hierarchically. While this is good for managing complexity, it introduces a host of issues that need to be handled by the IP management system to allow for hierarchical reuse of IPs.

Using an IPLM platform helps you manage complexity and make it easier for teams to reuse today’s IP tomorrow.

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Use Case For IP Reuse

Right now, your design team probably spends more than a quarter of their time managing designs and IP assets. A high percentage of this time is spent searching for previously created assets.

Let’s use a 20-person design team as an example. Let’s say the team is 70% productive, delivering 560 hours of value per week (based on a 40 hour week). 20% of that time is spent looking for IPs across your organization. These leaves an estimated $1,092,000 worth of productivity on the table. Streamlining and modernizing your tool can lead to a massive savings.

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What You Need to Manage and Reuse IPs

To solve this massive productivity issue you need a tool that can:

  • Allow hierarchical reuse of IPs.
  • Manage petabytes of assets.
  • Create a “single source of truth” for both IPs and software.
  • Simplify administration.
  • Scale to meet future development demands.
  • Enable remote users to quickly access what they need.
  • Create traceability across your organization.
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Streamline IP Reuse With the Right Tools

So what tool can help you optimize IP lifecycle management? The right IPLM platform and the right version control. This can help you conquer all of your challenges, unite global teams, and keep everyone productive. Those tools are Helix IPLM (formerly Methodics IPLM) and Helix Core. They are seamlessly integrated to streamline IP reuse.

Hierarchical IPs

Helix IPLM views today’s project is tomorrow’s IP. This makes IP reuse a reality for every kind of design team. It allows users to quickly manage complex IPs as a set of dependent, hierarchical components, and reuse entire hierarchies rather than single IP blocks.

In Helix IPLM, everything is an IP, including the SoC itself. This makes the system very simple to use, and scale to essentially handle infinite complexity.

By allowing everything to be an IP in the system, each designer can treat their context as a ‘project’. But these can also be reused flexibly because all components are treated in the same way.

Data Management That Maximizes IP Reuse

With Helix Core and Helix IPLM, teams can achieve faster check-ins and check-outs. And they get access to global tracking of all IPs under development. Robust metadata gives engineers all the information they need about the assets. So no matter where in the world your teams are located, they can always access the latest information, fast.

With Perforce Federated Architecture, you can replicate your server to remote locations. Your admins can spend less time managing, and your teams can innovate more. You could easily see a return on investment within the first year. Even if your team only recoups half the time spent looking for assets, you save.

Your IP Reuse Model

Perforce offers two solutions to support your IP reuse model:

Helix Core and Helix IPLM creates a data management/digital asset management platform that integrates with your existing data and infrastructure.

Both Helix Core and Helix IPLM with the tools you are already using, like Jenkins, Cadence, Jira, and more.

The Helix IPLM IP abstraction model tracks everything making IP reuse possible, even for the largest organization. It is just one of the many reasons 9 out of the top 10 semiconductor companies choose Helix Core and Helix IPLM.

Want to see all that Perforce can offer your team?

TRY HElix Core Talk to a helix IPLM Expert

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