Cadence: All Sync’d Up

Cadence today announced the release of point revisions to both Allegro and OrCAD, continuing its tradition of keeping releases of its major platforms in sync. They show significant upgrades in timing speeds and simulation speeds, respectively, as well as better use of state-of-the-art collaboration tools.

To the latter point, Hemant Shah, the product marketing manager for Allegro, says the point releases are a reflection of changes Cadence sees in the user base. ODMs are evolving to “parallelism,” he told me. “That’s where we learned the EDA tools were not designed for parallelism and needed to be rethought.” As a result, Cadence adopted Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration tools, giving users a greater control over different versions and WIP design data management.

It was interesting to hear a major software vendor acknowledge that not everything developed in-house would or could be best in class. Likewise, Shah said that the company’s recent acquisition of Sigrity reaffirms the management’s commitment to the PCB space — something its competitors have questioned from time to time.

He added that the future releases leverage Sigrity’s power and SI technology across both the existing platforms and in Sigrity’s standalone products.

Behind the Sigrity Deal

Cadence’s acquisition of Sigrity, announced yesterday, is a big deal for reasons beyond the technology being acquired.

Sure, it’s great for Cadence to gets its hands on Sigrity’s power and signal integrity tools.

But what this move also underscores is something of a recommitment by Cadence to its printed circuit board software. You’d have to go back years to find the last time Cadence completed a significant deal in the PCB space (I’m not including, of course, the failed 2008 “attempt” to purchase Mentor, which eventually cost then CEO Michael Fister his job.)

Cadence’s PCB revenue jumped in 2011, growing by our estimates roughly 23% year-over-year. That makes it by far the fastest-growing player in the PCB EDA space. How long has it been since they could say that?

Coupled with its aggressive support of the IPC-2581 data transfer format, Cadence is showing a newfound vigor toward protecting and even extending its circuit board design position. Mentor remains a much larger competitor in PCB sales, but there are signs of a shift taking place.