by Benard Murphy
At the risk of attracting contempt from terminology purists, I think most of us would agree that emulation is a great way to prototype a hardware design before you commit to building, especially when you need to test system software together with that prototype. But setting up your own emulation resource isn’t for everyone. The big systems come with eye-watering costs and are primarily targeted to ASIC design. If your objective is FPGA-based design or small ASIC designs, emulation solutions can be less expensive but if you have a limited budget or if you need flexible access to handle peak verification loads, capital and maintenance costs can still be a significant concern.
That’s where cloud-based emulation becomes an interesting alternative, in this case with Aldec. You don’t have to worry about the hardware or setup or maintenance because you can now access their hardware emulation system (HES) through Amazon’s rather well-known cloud services (AWS). After you have got your access credentials, you transfer design files to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), then in Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) you use an Amazon Machine Instance (AMI), configured by Aldec, to do design setup and synchronize files to the HES server. Then you start testbench simulation running on the AMI instance synced with emulation running on the HES server.
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