Implemented earlier this year, the solution consists of our EDAxtend platform, but instead of FPGA tools, this implementation includes EDA tools from Huada Empyrean.
In terms of specifications, this platform is designed to handle the load of up to 30 teams accessing it concurrently. For the compute infrastructure, users can select from four server types with different configurations, start up to 48 different virtual servers concurrently, with a total of 300 GB of RAM dynamically distributed across the servers.
As most of the designated EDA software tools have interactive GUIs, we enabled two forms of interactive access.
First, a direct VNC shell into the virtual servers using existing available VNC clients--the network connections from most campuses are fast and stable enough.
Second, a remote desktop via a user's browser. This allows users to access the servers using a HTML5 compatible browser without installing any software.
There is also a third option to access the platform--script-based, batch mode submission. Users can submit their builds via a command-line script which automatically triggers the platform to start the required servers and run builds automatically.
On the frontend, a web server controls all accounts, login and resources requests. All user requests are tracked and can be traced to any single compilation. Registered user accounts are also tied to their remote access sessions so that they consistently use the same username and password throughout the platform. They can also "submit" competition entries simply by syncing their projects, which is akin to saving it in disk storage.
The main reason why a platform like this is required is the scale of the audience that it intends to serve. The universities are spreaded geographically and Internet bandwidth varies with speeds from a crawling 256kbps(gasp!) to a decent few mbps at different locations. Before having this platform, the organizers had to coordinate with the universities' IT department and faculties on a whole range of logistical and software issues. Participation was limited to universities who were willing to collaborate. Even now, physical installations have to be done at the slower sites. However, the current reach is far greater as it can be instantly made available to schools with acceptable bandwidth. Students can simply sign up and try out the software within minutes from their dorm rooms. It doesn't get much better than that.
As for integrating a completely new set of EDA tools, it was a great experience for Plunify as we were able to add another software to our range of Plunify enabled software in the cloud. (And in case you don't know, on our public platform, we also have the OneSpin DV-Inspect tool)
For more information on our private cloud implementations, please feel free to contact us.