Overlaps 'r' us

| | Comments (8)

In an attempt to make sense of the overlap between Cadence Design Systems and Mentor Graphics, I put together a table of the main product lines with some best guesses about how the combined company would look at them should the takeover go through.


The colour coding means the product survives more or less as it is if it's green. Red does not necessarily mean cancellation but indicates where I think it is likely that it will be discontinued and any useful technology rolled into the survivor.

I've basically wimped out on a bunch of them - the ones all in that drab yellow-brown - and put a big don't know on the forthcoming tool Project Sydney as I'm not entirely sure how it overlaps with Catapult. I have put this together on the basis that Cadentor would be more likely to use the Calibre name for the bulk of the DFM tools in the same way that Mentor has even in cases where Cadence's inhouse product has a market share close to that of the Mentor tool.

The biggest question marks are over simulation products, both digital and mixed-signal, and the PCB tools. However, Mentor has demonstrated that is easier to support separate product lines than attempt to move customers to other tools. Cadentor might attempt to push OrCAD and PADS together, but to do the same with Allegro and Expedition could be troublesome.

With the emulators, I would expect Palladium to win out over Veloce simply on the basis that it is the incumbent. However, I would expect Cadentor to let Veloce live out its natural life. That may be the wrong assumption.

The interesting one is Encounter versus Olympus-SoC. I would expect Encounter to win within the company but Olympus has impressed at some chipmakers, so it would probably take some time to disappear under the Encounter name. If the takeover happens, it will be interesting to see whether Cadence considers NanoRoute or Olympus to be the better option.

Update 1: John Busco pointed out that I'd left out ASIC synthesis and static timing analysis. I've now updated the table to include them. Thanks John.

Update 2: Following a comment on other omissions, inFact, Platform Express and Seamless are now on the chart. Have a look at the comments below for the reasoning over how they are placed.


Great chart! It makes sense. You didn't include ASIC synthesis and timing (STA). Does Mentor have products in these areas? I assume Cadentor would use Cadence's RTL Compiler and ETS.

I completely forgot about them, largely because of Synopsys' market position with DC and, to a lesser degree, with PrimeTime. Mentor used to have an STA tool, SST Velocity, but I don't think it's still active, largely because of the PrimeTime effect. However, there is an STA tool in Mentor's FPGA suite.

I really should have included RTL Compiler on the Cadence side. There is no equivalent on the Mentor side as they concentrated on FPGA design.

Seamless, inFact, Platform Express are not included as well, not sure they worth the comparison

at least inFact looks promising

I had a bit of a dilemma with Seamless - so I fudged it for a while. In the updated table, I have it out on its own although you could regard Incisive ESL as a competitor. However, after a series of interviews and email Q&As with Cadence last year (it took a while to work what Cadence was on about with its 'enterprise system level' wheeze), I came to the conclusion that they are doing different jobs. Incisive ESL is largely focused on using software to verify hardware, whereas Seamless is more about checking that firmware is going to run correctly, although it could be used for the former.

InFact is a very interesting tool but I clean forgot its name even though Mentor launched it only months ago. That revealed a more important omission: Specman, which is now part of Incisive Testbench Automation. I'd expect inFact to be sucked into that work as it's primarily a natty algorithm that Mentor is just beginning to try out on customer designs. The approach behind looks as though it could be very powerful but it's the kind of thing I'd expect to be absorbed into a larger verification-management tool in a similar way that the Incisive Formal line has gradually absorbed a variety of formal solvers.

Putting Platform Express up against InCyte Enterprise may look strange but I reckon that it would make sense to roll the InCyte estimation tools into the Mentor product as Platform Express focuses on IP-Xact compatibility and that is going to be important to many of Cadentor's larger customers, and not just in Europe.


You want to add the following product categories:

Circuit Simulation: Spectre, Eldo
Fast SPICE: UltraSim, ADiT
Verilog Simulation: NC-Verilog, ModelSim
VHDL Simulation: NC-VHDL, ModelSim
Mixed Signal Simulation: Incisive AMS, ADVance MS
Extension languages: Skill (CDN), Ample, Tcl/TK (MENT)
Database: Open Access (CDN), Falcon, tool specific (MENT)



I basically lumped all the mixed-signal simulators under the umbrella packages for simplicity. For logic simulation, it was the same story, just regard the NC-x simulators as options under Incisive, and cite Questa as the main simulation environment for Mentor rather than mention ModelSim as a separate tool. ModelSim could go in as a separate tool under the FPGA flow but I think it's OK just to treat Precision as the main tool in that area.

In terms of languages, Skill is largely the reason why Virtuoso is so sticky as a layout tool. Other than that, I'm not sure scripting languages will play a major role in decisions.

On the database side, OpenAccess is Cadence's not-so-secret weapon. The long-term aim under Cadentor would be port everything over to OA.

Might as well put Olympus-SOC in the red. Olympus might be competitive or even superior in small geometries but the install base for Encounter is too great. Encounter isn't going anywhere. Base case scenario: the most efficient and highest quality nanometer Olympus algorithms are sloppy grafted onto the already unwieldy Encounter P&R system.

If what people are saying about FPGAs comes true then having ModelSim and Precision would be good for Cadence.. especially now since their buddies Synopsys have Synplicity.