The ease of use of Questa advanced verification software helped SEAKR quickly set up testbenches to verify designs better and faster and add a new revenue stream.
“Questa definitely gives you a better way to find design defects. Finding this stuff before programming is a monstrous cost savings. We easily saved our customer more than the cost of our contract. ”
Greg Baker, Senior Design Engineer, SEAKR
New verification environment attracts customers
SEAKR pioneered the use of plastic encapsulated memory (PEM) for storage systems for manned and unmanned space applications, including the space shuttle and international space station. Knowing that PEMs will fail, their designs center around the ability to test and correct errors associated with the effects of space.
This expertise in FPGA and ASIC design led external customers to SEAKR to verify their designs. It was during these engagements that they became a believer in Open Verification Methodology (OVM) as supported by Questa. Their first customer was so pleased with the speed and quality of the results that they upped their original contract for the verification of one design to three
Questa cuts development time in half
SEAKR’s first hire dedicated solely to verification was able to have a robust constrained random testbench for his first project within a few months – half the time compared to the tool he used at his previous job – and found critical bugs on a pre-verified design.
Their next project was to verify one of three FPGAs for satellite and payload environments for another customer. After learning about the design, SEAKR came up with a test plan and a verification environment within about two weeks, and the first testbench and fully verified FPGA in one month. This rapid success was due to Questa’s ease-of-use and the quality of Mentor training and technical support.
Better verification for a better bottom line
“Based on our success, our customer was able to recover some of their schedule,” explains Kurt Anderson, a Program Manager at SEAKR. “So they expanded our contract...That’s an enormous value to us.” On these new projects, engineers were able to reuse previous OVM testbenches to get fast, meaningful results. Similarly, the modular aspect of the OVM also allowed SEAKR to divide the design among different members of a team.
They also found that OVM helped them in both their adoption of SystemVerilog and in getting the most out of its benefits. Questa’s coverage features were also indispensable in ensuring they had exhaustively verified their design.
“You don’t want to ship something to a customer and then find out there’s a mistake when it’s already bolted onto a payload,” said Mr. Anderson. “The better you can verify things upfront, the better it is for your bottom line. Questa enabled us to do that.”
“Using the constrained-random capabilities of Questa and the OVM, we were able to see much deeper into the design, come up with many different scenarios, and expose many different bugs.”
Kelly Miller, Senior Hardware Engineer, SEAKR
SEAKR is the leader in solid state storage and processing systems for the aerospace industry. From their facility in Centennial, Colorado, the engineers at SEAKR create data storage and processing systems for both manned and unmanned applications. Their data recorders and other products have been to the moon, visited Mars, and can be found on the space shuttle and the international space station.