How EMC Isilon storage improves performance for EDA workflows

200248437-001To develop the chips that go inside advanced technologies, such as smartphones and personal computers, engineers often rely on electronic design automation (EDA) software tools for chip design and testing.

As EDA projects and designs increase in complexity, the amount of project data increases as well. Similar to most industries, the EDA industry is facing challenges with managing the exponential growth of unstructured data while optimizing performance and storage efficiency.

The new technical white paper, “EMC Isilon NAS: Performance at Scale for Electronic Design Automation,” highlights how Isilon scale-out network attached storage (NAS) can alleviate the bottlenecks and inefficient use of storage space for EDA workflows running on traditional storage systems. The primary audience for this white paper includes engineers and executives working in the EDA industry. However, anyone that uses workflows requiring high levels of concurrent running jobs may also find this white paper to be useful.

For example, during the frontend phase of the EDA digital design workflow, EDA applications read and compile millions of small source files to build and simulate chip design. Jobs are typically run concurrently against a deep and wide directory structure, which creates a large amount of metadata overheard and high CPU usage on the storage system. This white paper illustrates how Isilon scale-out storage is more effective than traditional data storage at alleviating workflow performance issues, such as:

  • Metadata access: Using a centralized metadata server can become a bottleneck. Average metadata operations for a typical EDA workflow include 65 percent metadata access, 20 percent writes, and 15 percent data reads. Isilon uses a distributed metadata architecture and can store all metadata on solid-state drives (SSDs), reducing the latency for metadata operations when running concurrent jobs. For more information about EMC® Isilon® OneFS® SSD caching, refer to the white paper, “EMC Isilon OneFS SmartFlash: File System Caching Infrastructure.”
  • Run times for concurrent jobs: All nodes in an Isilon cluster work in parallel. OneFS automatically distributes jobs using SmartConnect™ to each node instead of running all the jobs against a single controller or requiring the manual distribution of jobs to controllers. Isilon recommends that you work with an Isilon representative to determine the number of nodes that will best serve your workflow.

You can learn more about Isilon scale-out NAS architecture, storage efficiency, and data management by referring to “EMC Isilon NAS: Performance at Scale for Electronic Design Automation.”

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About the Author: Kirsten Gantenbein

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