For OEMs in the age of intellectual property (IP) design and reuse, the challenges of managing the design chain are growing exponentially. Not only must design teams manage the creation, evolution, and sharing of complex and dynamic IP, but there must also be an infrastructure behind the cataloging, distribution, and support for existing IP.
To that end, Synchronicity Inc. of Marlboro, Mass., and Cadence Design Systems Inc. of San Jose have joined forces to combine their IP infrastructure technologies and products. The goal for both vendors is better service for their common customer base.
Synchronicity has acquired Cadence's IPinfraNET product and operations. Also, Cadence has made a minority equity investment in Synchronicity. Next, Synchronicity will merge the IPinfraNET software, as well as a number of Cadence's IPinfraNET staff members, into its existing IP management operation. IP Gear, Synchronicity's IP management tool, and IPinfraNET are both used to build design reuse and semiconductor IP distribution systems (see the figure).
"We will, as quickly as possible, merge the best of these two technologies into a single product line," says Synchronicity's CEO Dennis Harmon. Plans are to debut a merged product in the third quarter of 2002.
IP Gear, which will see introduction of Version 2.0 in the first quarter of 2002, is the older of the two products. Its development began in the 1996-1997 timeframe. As a result, it's been through a number of revisions and has become a very feature-rich tool with a significant user base. IPinfraNET, on the other hand, is a newer product that may not have all of IP Gear's bells and whistles. But what it does have going for it is a basis in newer database technologies such as Oracle, as well as Java.
"The idea is to leverage the more advanced underlying architecture of IPinfraNET in combination with the feature-rich product that is IP Gear," Harmon says. "When Cadence developed IPinfraNET, they had the benefit of knowing that Java technology, for example, was mature enough to be used. Back when we made the decision to use a different technology to implement IP Gear, it was unclear whether Java was the right approach at that time."
IPinfraNET lacks some of the design management features available to users of IP Gear, such as version control and tracking. Because IP Gear runs alongside Synchronicity's DesignSync tool, the merged product will gain that functionality as well.