Electronic Design

Verification IP Arrives For 12-Gbit/s SAS And NVM Express Protocols

Participation in standards working groups is a good idea for EDA vendors (as well as for makers of test and measurement equipment), because it gives them a window into—and perhaps an opportunity to influence—emerging industry standards. It also gives the EDA vendors a leg up in terms of developing verification intellectual property (VIP) even before the release of the working groups’ standards.

That’s how Cadence approached its development of VIP for the increasingly popular 12-Gbit/s SAS and NVM Express (NVMe) protocol standards. Both protocols are establishing themselves in the cloud-computing infrastructure, and VIP is a critical element in functional verification of systems that rely on such protocols.

In general, VIP helps verification engineers by automating the verification of standard interfaces. It checks for protocol compliance per the specification and verifies host and device designs. VIP typically includes multiple state-machine monitors relevant to both sides of the interface. It also generates and drives test sequences for initialization, refresh, read/write, and more.

End users of network computing infrastructure products such as servers, storage, and network processors have a substantial list of care-abouts to check off. The issues range from minimizing cabling complexity and cost to support for massive virtualization. All of these issues are addressed by a burgeoning roster of interface standards, many of which have only appeared in the last 18 months (see the figure). In addition, the ongoing transition to solid-state drives is a factor. Protocol standards such as 12-Gbit/s SAS and NVMe are now ripe for early adopters to take advantage of them in deployment of solid-state drives.

Many interface standards address the cloud infrastructure. Many of these standards (shown in red) have only appeared in the last 18 months. Cadence’s verification IP helps early adopters of these new standards get to market faster by facilitating design debug even before the standards are released.

Cadence has announced VIP for a number of cloud-infrastructure standards. One of the latest is for NVMe, a storage protocol for connecting drives and controllers. The other most recent addition to the company’s VIP catalog is 12-Gbit/s SAS, an enhanced protocol for connecting storage systems.

Previously, Cadence had announced VIP for Ethernet 40G/100G, DDR4, and LRDIMM. Most notably, the DDR4 VIP facilitates design of memory systems with twice the performance and 40% lower power consumption than DDR3.

Cadence Design Systems

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