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cloud

The cloud is a collection of servers that run Internet software you can use on your device or computer.
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Description

A cloud service accesses computing time and storage from a collection of servers in various locations that run Internet software you can use on your device or computer. The software is not local but in data center somewhere, maybe across several data centers. Software as a service (SaaS) is a common name of this type of relationship where software is provided via the Internet and not locally. Your data is also stored in the data center or may be access your device or computer’s memory for some of the storage. The cloud allows customers to access or share the computing resources and use them only when needed, taking advantage of the thousands of servers that would be available in the cloud. Even nascent quantum computers are available now via the cloud.

The cloud also makes a subscription model possible for software compared with owning the software license outright to a particular version of software, which means the software you use is likely the latest version. To set up a subscription, the user contacts the cloud provider and then configures the local computers or servers to work to work with the service.

Commonly used cloud services are Google Cloud, Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft Azure, Alibaba, The cloud is used in consumer and enterprise environments and is now increasingly being used for chip design. Part of the issue is doing chip design work on a local PC workstation that is underpowered is difficult.

Cadence Design Systems writes: “Cloud-based electronics design has been slow in coming. While software as a service (SaaS) solutions have long served other business applications, SoC and ASIC online design has lagged due to security concerns and the difficulty of taking complex electronic design automation (EDA) flows to the cloud. With transistor counts for today’s ICs numbering in the tens of billions, and electronic design demands routinely surpassing the capacity of company data centers, the electronics industry must rethink the traditional model of company-owned data centers and embrace a future where simulation, signoff analyses, and the myriad other tasks involved in SoC design and verification are done in the cloud.” Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor offer EDA services and software on the cloud.

Different clouds for different needs
“It has taken a while for the design community to embrace the ‘cloud’ as some of the needs and concerns of design teams are different.,” writes ClioSoft‘s Ranjit Adhikary. “Cloud vendors have recognized this untapped market and are now addressing the needs of design teams, such as shared storage, and are actively courting semiconductor vendors. As semiconductors companies have become more comfortable with the security provided by the cloud vendors, there has been a significant increase in interest in adding the cloud into the design IT infrastructure.”

Different types of clouds exist: a hybrid cloud mixes internal enterprise servers with cloud servers from a cloud service. A public cloud option means a public cloud service such as AWS. A private cloud means all internal servers in an on-premise cloud environment and accessing any remote servers in company owned data centers. The perceived security levels may vary by configuration.

“Design teams have recognized the value of using the cloud exclusively or to augment their existing infrastructure during peak times,” says Adhikary.

As Mentor, A Siemens Business, explains:  “Cloud-to-device integration is a key Internet of Things enabler. Depending upon the IoT use case, there is a great variety of choices, topologies, and configurations a developer may have to work with when connecting multiple devices to the cloud. A cloud can be public, private, or hybrid. It may only need a single connection to a device in order to perform telemetry functions, or it may need tighter integration with other devices to provide device management, firmware updates, or advanced diagnostics and debug functions. The device may be connected with the cloud directly over the public Internet or it can use a gateway to enable cloud integration.

“Gateways (or edge devices) not only aggregate and consolidate connectivity, but also enable rich compute and storage capabilities at the edge to minimize connectivity costs and decrease latency.  Gateways can also improve response time for time-critical IoT use cases,” says Mentor, which provides runtime solutions and complementary tools to help customers to work within all of these scenarios.*

*Mentor, Synopsys, Cliosoft and Cadence provided content for this definition.