AWS for Industries

Driving High Performance and Efficient Physical Verification with Synopsys IC Validator on Amazon EC2 X2iezn Instances


Chip designs are increasing in complexity and size, which has resulted in additional transistors driving a need for greater processing power and memory. Greater silicon complexity makes physical verification with electronic design automation (EDA) applications more essential as any delays close to tape-out significantly impact production timelines.

Silicon designers now require increased CPU and memory resources to verify their advanced processor designs. Design rule checking (DRC)and layout versus schematic (LVS) jobs for sophisticated designs can now span several days for a full-chip design and require hundreds or thousands of CPU cores to complete in a reasonable time. Enabling designers with a fast and efficient way to verify their designs helps reduce verification time and costs (including hardware, software, and engineering hours).

On-premise systems have traditionally hosted EDA workloads because they required specific performance, memory, and software parameters. But now, with the scale and flexibility of the AWS Cloud for silicon design implementation and verification, customers can leverage the AWS cloud for their EDA workloads and quickly scale their physical verification jobs and reduce their time to results.

AWS introduced X2iezn instances to address multifaceted EDA workload requirements. AWS recognized that customers performing physical verification on advanced process node designs require higher clock speeds, as well as larger CPU and memory resources. Powered by 2nd generation Intel Xeon scalable processors, X2iezn instances use a frequency of up to 4.5 GHz, the highest in the cloud.  They feature up to 1.5TB of memory and deliver up to twice the performance per vCPU than X2e instances. X2iezn instances offer 32GiB memory per vCPU, and enable up to 48 vCPUs and 1536 GiB RAM. X2iezn instances are built on the AWS Nitro System, delivering up to 100 Gbps of networking bandwidth and 19 Gbps of dedicated EBS bandwidth. X2iezn instances are ideal for workloads that require high performance per thread and a high memory. AWS worked with Synopsys, a leader in EDA, to scale Synopsys IC Validator™ physical verification solution on Amazon EC2 X2iezn instances.

This blog post describes the testing that Synopsys performed on X2iezn using IC Validator. Synopsys achieved a 15% performance improvement when executing DRC on X2iezn versus Amazon EC2 R5d instances. Not only did Synopsys see a performance improvement, using IC Validator’s unique Elastic CPU management technology the company was able to obtain a 32% resource savings, enabling designers to save time and optimize resource usage.

Synopsys IC Validator on AWS

IC Validator is a comprehensive and high-performance signoff solution that improves productivity for customers at all process nodes, from mature to advanced. It is a physical verification tool architected for massive and efficient distributed processing. IC Validator is scalable to 1000s of CPU cores, delivering fast performance for full-chip physical signoff and faster signoff convergence. Additionally, Elastic CPU Management technology in IC Validator delivers significant value in the design flow in terms of resource/cost optimization and in accelerating design closure to meet tape-out schedules.

While the run is in progress, IC Validator automatically analyzes serial dependencies in the job, and the job command queue.  Using this information, it identifies when more compute resources (i.e. more instances) will make the job finish faster and will subsequently release resources no longer needed. IC Validator Elastic CPU management dynamically optimizes compute resources for physical verification jobs.

Synopsys and AWS collaborated to evaluate the performance of IC Validator workloads on AWS and configure infrastructure using EC2 X2iezn instances. During testing on AWS, Synopsys enabled persistent storage on shared file systems using Amazon FSx for Lustre to maintain data distribution.

Performance Testing of Synopsys IC Validator on AWS

Performance testing of IC Validator on AWS was done using Amazon EC2 X2iezn instances.  Synopsys ran multiple tests, where they varied the number of cores. As seen in Table-1 below, this allowed IC Validator to test the scalability of the X2iezn instances while looking at the total memory and peak disk utilization.

As a control point, Synopsys ran IC Validator using both X2iezn and Amazon’s R5d.8xlarge. The design used is a medium-sized 7nm process design, which demonstrates good scaling up to about 500 CPU cores. When comparing the X2iezn workload against the R5d workload, IC Validator was able to experience ~15% faster performance on X2iezn with a core count 320 and experienced ~9% faster performance on X2iezn with a core count of 544. The increase in memory performance, up to 32 GiB per vCPU, combined with X2iezn’s 4.5 GHz frequency account for this performance improvement. IC Validator shows improvement in runtimes and more efficient CPU utilization when compared with Amazon’s EC2 R5d instances as shown in Table-1 and Graph-1.

IC Validator not only delivers faster performance using X2iezn on AWS, but it also is able to efficiently optimize compute resources. IC Validator dynamically adds and removes CPU resources based on the job needs. As indicated in Table-2 and Graph-2, Elastic CPU job is able to provide a 32% resource saving using X2iezn with less than a 5% runtime impact. This allows physical verification engineers to efficiently verify their designs while using the optimal resources and optimizing costs.

Graph-2 illustrates the X2iezn runtime comparison of Synopsys IC Validator with Fixed compute and with Elastic CPU.


Using Amazon EC2 X2iezn instances with Synopsys IC Validator results in significant performance improvement and resource savings. Customers who run physical verification workloads can now use the new X2iezn instances from AWS to obtain up to 15% faster performance versus the R5d platform.

IC Validator Elastic CPU technology allows the user to spend less time thinking about how to assign resources to the job; minimizing the number of resources used while allowing a run to start and finish sooner.  IC Validator Elastic CPU technology uses 32% fewer resource costs and results in smaller license usage letting customers spend more time debugging violations.

For further information, contact your AWS sales representative. For more information about Synopsys IC Validator, visit and for more information about EDA workloads on AWS visit

About Synopsys
As an S&P 500 company, Synopsys has a long history of being a global leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and semiconductor IP and offers the industry’s broadest portfolio of application security testing tools and services.

About Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally.

Ahmed Elzeftawi

Ahmed Elzeftawi

Ahmed Elzeftawi is a Semiconductor and EDA Partner Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services. Prior to joining AWS, he was a Cloud Product Management Director at Cadence Design Systems where he architected and deployed multiple compute clusters for EDA workloads on AWS. He has 20 years of experience in Electronic Design Automation, chip design, and High Performance Compute clusters. Ahmed holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and communications engineering from Cairo University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Art Baudo

Art Baudo

Art Baudo is a Principal Specialist, EC2 Core, WWSO (Worldwide Specialist Organization). Art has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, where he has worked in software architecture, product management, product marketing, CPU and GPU roadmap/architecture, and technical marketing. Art has held technical and managerial roles at Motorola, Intel and AWS. He has a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rutgers University and a Masters in Information Technology from Northwestern University.

Manoz Palaparthi

Manoz Palaparthi

Manoz Palaparthi is a Product Marketing Manager in Synopsys’ Design Group. Manoz has over 15 years of experience in the Electronic Design Automation, holding positions in applications engineering and product marketing for several market leading products. He currently is responsible for Synopsys’ IC Validator product. Manoz holds a bachelor of technology degree in electronics from BITS Pilani, India.

Ratna Dasari

Ratna Dasari

Ratna Dasari is a Solutions Architect in the Enterprise SA team at AWS. She works closely with semiconductor customers in building and architecting mission critical SAP workloads. Ratna worked in IT organizations at semiconductor companies for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in leading, architecting and implementing SAP technology solutions.