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Outsourcing FPGA Design: Pros and cons


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The pros and cons of outsourcing your FPGA design

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Outsourcing FPGA Design: Pros and cons

  1. 1. Jeff JohnsonFPGA Design Consultant8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 1
  2. 2.  Is your company’s key competencesomething other than FPGA design? Do you lack the FPGA design work to employsomeone full-time? Is your design team is overloaded? Are you having trouble finding expertise?8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 2
  3. 3.  Manage fluctuating workloads easily andwithout risk Leverage specialized expertise Start projects when the market is ready, notwhen your staff is ready Take advantage of greater flexibility8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 3
  4. 4.  Fluctuating workloads is a typical problem indesign houses Many companies struggle with maintainingtheir optimal team size (hiring and firing) Outsourcing FPGA design can provide abuffer for periods when workloads peak Outsourcing FPGA design can help you toachieve your deadlines8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 4
  5. 5.  The learning curve for FPGAs is steep andlong It takes a long time to learn tools and devices and tobecome proficient in making reliable designs Keeping up to date with the evolution ofFPGAs is a full-time job Experienced FPGA developers are hard to find Outsourcing FPGA design allows you to focuson your core competency and to leverage theknowledge of an expert8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 5
  6. 6.  Meet demand when the market is ready, notwhen your team is ready FPGA design can be started even before thehardware design has started Validate your concept sooner After all, the largest benefit of FPGAs is fasterdevelopment cycles8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 6
  7. 7.  Contain budgets through fixed prices Youcouldn’t ask your employee to work for a fixed price! It’s easier to drop a contractor than it is to letgo of an employee If you’re not happy with your provider, get anew one8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 7
  8. 8.  Hardware transfer might be necessary Must trust an outsider with your IP Management and communication can bemore difficult than with an employee Provider may juggle multiple projects andcannot be 100% deticated to you8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 8
  9. 9.  Do you have any custom hardware that yourprovider will need to perform the job? Do theyreally need it? Can you live with code that has been verifiedby simulation or code that has been tested on a differenthardware platform than your own? Transfering hardware should be minimizedbecause it creates delays and complicatesplanning Find a provider that is well equiped and give welldefined and contained jobs (modules) that can be verifiedwithout your complete hardware setup8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 9
  10. 10.  Must trust the provider with your company IPMake sure you place a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) withall providers Must trust your provider to bill you honestlyTry to find providers through referals and make sure allcontracts are well defined and projects contained Unlike an employee, you will not always knowwhat your provider is doing8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 10
  11. 11.  Communication must be done over the phoneor by email You need an in-house technical point ofcontact (TPOC) to manage the work Your provider may have several clients and beunable to spend 100% of the time on your job You might not get that change done rightnow as you can with an employee8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 11
  12. 12.  Outsourcing FPGA design can be a powerfulleveraging strategy but is not suitable for allcompanies and projects Know your needs intimately and find aprovider that fits those needs Take advantage of the modular nature ofFPGA design8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 12
  13. 13.  For free assistance in understanding yourFPGA needs, contact me at the link below:FPGA Design Consultant Or for FPGA design services:FPGA Design Services8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 13
  14. 14. 8 August 2011FPGA Design Consultant 14