Start-ups sizzle @ NetApp Excellerator day!

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NetAppLast week, there was a session with the start-ups of NetApp ExcelleratorProgram at NetApp Bangalore Campus, ITPL Main Road, Hoodi, Bangalore.

Ajeya Motaganahalli, senior director, Engineering Programs and leader of NetApp Excellerator, NetApp India, said: “We received 450 application in 2018. Earlier, we received 250+ applications in 2017. Out of 450, 21 start-ups were selected to pitch. We had boot camps with 11 of them. We shortened this down to six start-ups.

“June 28 is the demo day where these start-ups will demonstrate before the investors. There is no IP contamination. We are also opening the applications for the third batch of cohorts on June 28.”

Now, let’s have a look at the various start-ups and their wares.

Anlyz: It provides next-generation security product with granularity and visibility of enterprise threat landscape using machine/deep learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to address enterprise cybersecurity needs.

Gartner forecasts that by 2019, total enterprise spending on security outsourcing services will be 75 percent of the spending on security software and hardware products, up from 63 percent in 2016.

Also, the worldwide security spending will reach $96 billion in 2018, up 8 percent from 2017. Enterprise security budgets are also shifting towards detection and response, and this trend will drive security market growth during the next five years.

Apoorv Garg, co-founder, said it provides a cognitive and coherent cybersecurity product. The problems were:
* the ability to detect is not supported with surround data path.
* Delayed analyses and impacts overall capability to combat threats.
* Today’s products are not very agile.

He added: “There is a need for an inclusive solution. Enterprise security budgets are shifting toward detection and response. We also offer one-month PoC (proof of concept).”

The Anlyz PoC allows the organization to quantify their security stature. Scalable features enable the CISO team to take quick decisions with tremendous visibility and vehemently, with the absolute data path to identify, analyze and detect basic and advanced requirements of security threats for the organization.

The NetApp Excellerator is a gauge adding wings to Anlyz.

ArchSaber: It provides intelligent infrastructure analytics. It automates the diagnosis and prediction of issues occurring in a large and complex IT stack, thereby offering real-time monitoring and alerting of all core and non-core infrastructure components, and advanced data science techniques to detect and fix these issues.

Arpit Jain, team leader, said the problem was how to ease incidents diagnosis in a fast-paced environment. “We provide performance analytics platform for data analytics. We enable accurate alert prediction, to prevent issues become large.”

ArchSaber also provides easy knowledge sharing. It auto-documents diagnosis and post-mortems, and shares them across teams and community. The market size of IT monitoring is roughly $10 billion.

Jain added: “We are targeting high-growth SMBs such as Ola, Zomato, etc. We are enabling fast-paced development. There will also be an effective use of precious engineering resources.” It is running non-commercial beta pilots with the likes of Zomato, Lenskart, hypertrack, etc.

He said: “We leverage NetApp’s years of experience in building and evolving IT infrastructure. It is perhaps, the best accelerator programme in India focused at deep technology ideas.”
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Mentor-THE GAIN to boost India’s ESDM startup ecosystem

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Mentor, a Siemens business, has announced a strategic collaboration program with THE GAIN (The Global Accelerator for Innovation Network) – a technology accelerator company, focused on product engineering IP startups.

MentorBoth organizations will work with innovative Indian startups to accelerate, develop and customize IP to address domestic and international markets. They will focus on accelerating India’s product engineering IP ecosystem by helping companies in the early stages of entrepreneurship.

Established to advance the ESDM (electronics system design and manufacturing) ecosystem in India, the collaboration’s goal is to foster excellence in the early stages of startup companies. Both will work closely with the startups and entrepreneurs looking to establish and launch companies in the product engineering space, with a special focus on engaging with startups in the early phase of entrepreneurship.

“Mentor has established an outstanding track record of supporting, developing and accelerating startup ecosystems, both in India and across the globe,” said Raghu Panicker, Mentor’s country sales director for India. ”Through this strategic collaboration, we look forward to further accelerating the India startup ecosystem by working closely with promising product companies to make them successful.”

“India’s ESDM ecosystem is on a growth trajectory thanks to the ‘Make in India’ focus by the Indian government,” said Poornima Shenoy, CEO of THE GAIN.

“This collaboration with Mentor, a global technology leader, will have distinct benefits to startups looking to grow and succeed. It is our shared vision to collaborate and support highly successful startups in India who deliver innovative products. We are looking at accelerating the growth of at least 30 companies in the next three years.”

Outlining the specific steps Mentor-GAIN will be taking to help India’s product engineering IP ecosystem, she said: “At THE GAIN, we are looking to “excellerate” no more than five to seven start-ups per year. This is after a multi-tier rigorous selection process. Our entrepreneurs are often with deep industry knowledge and experience, who need a lead time of two-three years to prove the business and product viability.

“Tools are amongst the highest overheads in this journey. Here, the role of companies like Mentor, would be crucial. They have use cases, knowledge of decades and special schemes for entrepreneurs. This provides the right balance between cost and success. They also have leaders who understand and ‘walk the talk’.

“India needs to have more success stories with IP companies. We are looking at product engineering as a step in that direction. It is necessary for us to accelerate growth by productizing IP and leveraging global partnerships. It is not about overnight success, but about long-time multiplier returns. Our country and the industry needs to move in that direction.

“This is a unique partnership where both partners understand what works and what are the factors relevant to success.”

Justifying innovativeness
How does one justify ‘innovativeness’, when the two entities will support startups with innovative products?

Shenoy added: “It is a global race for innovation. We are looking for companies for the development of products, services, and applications related, to smart living and industry 4.0. India is a big market, but one, which is hugely price-sensitive.

“Our focus is on the B2B space and how soon can we get solutions out into the market in these areas. Innovation can save you money, help the environment and widen your market base. It could address niche segments and verticals. We are seeing interest from start-ups in other geographies to address this vibrant and dynamic marketplace. Global solution providers, like Mentor, function seamlessly across borders.

“At THE GAIN, we partner with innovative entrepreneurs by providing them with access to funding, active mentoring and to business. We can move to the next rung if they create MVP and validate it with their target customer base. This is a key area where they need assistance.”

Old wine! New bottle?
Finally, hasn’t this exercise been tried before? How are they confident about its success?

Shenoy said: “Every partnership is the start of a new beginning. It is only when we try that we can succeed. We are sure that as we embark on this journey on building the ecosystem and providing a platform for the Indian startups , we will learn and grow.

“We might slip up at times, but that is the beauty of a partnership. We learn together! In India, we have hardly seen any focus on this vertical. This understanding is a step in the right direction and a vital link to future success.”

Expressing his opinion on what Mentor is gaining out of this partnership, Raghu Panicker of Mentor, elaborated: “Mentor gains access to start-ups in the ideation stage itself. Mentor can, then, nurture them, and help start-ups with technologies in the areas of chips and system design. Start-ups are usually open to looking at new technologies.”

THE GAIN is a technology accelerator headquartered at Bangalore and founded by BV Naidu, former STPI director-turned-entrepreneur. The organization focuses on accelerating early-stage companies through access to funding, access to active mentoring and access to businesses.

Friends, if this interests you, please contact either Ms Poornima Shenoy at The GAIN or Raghu Panicker at Mentor. Best of luck!

DVC provides fantastic opportunity: NetApp

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NetApp has introduced the Data Visionary Engineering Center (DVC) in Bangalore. Paul van Linden, manager, EMEA and APAC EBC Program, said that as of now, there are four DVCs: in Sunnyvale and RTP North Carolina, USA, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and now, Bangalore.

Having a DVC does make a difference. Linden said: “Partners are hugely important. In a 2017 APBM survey, 86 percent said their purchase size increased due to visit. 30 percent said that NetApp is a trusted advisor. 42 percent said that their sales cycle had reduced (by up to 9 percent). And, 79 percent said that they discovered additional products (gone up by 15 percent).” He added, “We provide proven business acceleration.”

On the question of why have a DVC in Bangalore, he said: “Global customers have some very unique requirements. Eg., they would like to have detailed conversations with coders. This (DVC) is a fantastic opportunity.”
NetApp
Anil Valluri, president, Sales, India and SAARC, said: “It is a recognition of two things – one, the vibrancy of the market, and two, the huge amount of engineering talent in India. There are a lot of services being launched by the government. There is a growing market, with a lot of cutting-edge technology. We can tell people how to embrace digital transformation.

“The global SIs architecture centers are here. They can come here, and use technologies. It is a recognition of the potential of the Indian market. We can also serve as the knowledge center.”

Deepak Vishweswaraiah, MD and SVP, Data Fabric and Manageability Group, noted: “The whole digital transformation is not unique to NetApp. We are helping customers to progress on their data journey visions. Customers need to find new ways to do business. They have to find newer customers and newer ways to do business.

“We are also introducing the NetApp Cloud Volumes for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We are now delivering data services with all the world’s largest hyper-scalers, such as Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform.

“We have modernized the IT architecture with Cloud Connected Flash. Powerful AI and high-performance applications with the world’s fastest enterprise all-flash array, the AFF A800 end-to-end NVMe.

“The NetApp ONTAP 9.4 storage OS improves performance, efficiency and data protection, also providing the industry’s first enterprise 30TB SSDs. It enables GDPR compliance and secures the data. New, intelligent cloud services further reduce TCO. The Active IQ provides insights for higher operational efficiency.

“We have also announced the NetApp Cloud Insights – Hybrid Cloud ITIM, delivered via SaaS. It improves customer satisfaction, pro-actively prevents failures, and optimizes to reduce cost. We have automated the tamper-proof retention of critical financial data.

“We are now accelerating our data visionary footprint in India. We have the largest R&D teams for NetApp in India.”

Focus on system design as ESD Alliance-SEMI sign MoU

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Earlier this week, the ESD Alliance recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join SEMI as a strategic association partner.

BobAs a SEMI strategic association partner, the ESD Alliance will continue to act as the central voice of the semiconductor design industry to promote its value as a vital component of the global electronics manufacturing supply chain.

Bob Smith, executive director of the ESD Alliance said: “SEMI and the ESD Alliance (formerly EDAC) have had a good relationship for many years, but there was certainly no pre-existing timetable to bring SEMI and the ESD Alliance together.

“The increasing focus on system design, and the need for manufacturing and design to be more closely linked have certainly been drivers for collaboration.

“Several years ago, SEMI expanded their mission to span the entire electronics product manufacturing chain including design. Since the ESD Alliance represents design, it is a natural fit for the ESD Alliance to fill-in this part of SEMI’s mission.

“From the ESD Alliance standpoint, we benefit by being able to leverage SEMI’s global platform to build our community. Although, we have members outside of North America, we don’t have any local presence outside of the US. SEMI has offices across the globe that will allow us to bring our programs to other areas of the world.

“Next, it is a good fit in the increasing the collaboration that’s required between design and manufacturing. In fact, many of SEMI’s member companies had asked them for deeper access to the design community.”

Now that product design has been added the to electronics manufacturing supply chain,  it will bring manufacturing and design closer together by being common members of SEMI, he added.

What are the ways that SEMI gives the ESD Alliance an opportunity to further expand its reach and grow to its full potential?

Smith added: “SEMI will help expand ESD Alliance’s global presence by offering programs and events in conjunction with SEMI’s worldwide platform. Expand programs/activities in education, collaboration and networking to our members and SEMI members that are interested in design.

“We can also grow the membership further by offering more programs and being active in other geographies beyond North America.”

Semicon industry in for an exciting decade ahead: Lam Research

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Lam Research is a global leader in wafer fabrication equipment and services since 1980. It is the world’s second-largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer. Lam Research India was established for software development and support in 2000. Now, it provides hardware and software engineering design services, and plays a strategic role as part of the Product Engineering and Global Operations teams.

With a centre in Bengaluru that houses over 800 employees, Lam Research India’s proximity to the customer and supplier base in Asia, as well as 24×7 operational support enabled by the time zone difference with the headquarters in Fremont, CA, makes Lam India an indispensable part of Lam.

While Lam does not manufacture in India, there is a manufacturing support system here that is involved in planning, procurement and logistics that caters to a worldwide network of suppliers and manufacturers.

Innovation in semicon
Let’s look at the work and innovation happening in the semiconductor space

KrishnanKrishnan Shrinivasan, MD, Lam Research (India), said: “It is a very exciting time to be in the semiconductor ecosystem. There is a full spectrum of next-generation solutions that we have been working on for about five years now. We have made some headway in its implementation. Non-volatile memory (NVM), which is about the cloud and data storage, driven by the amount of distributed sensors that are collecting data that needs to be stored and monetized, has possibly experienced the highest growth.

“Another key transition is from two-dimensional architecture to a three-dimensional architecture. In a two-dimensional architecture, one is constantly working on shrinking, but on a single dimension. Now, we have an opportunity to continue to work on shrinking, but, also have an almost unlimited opportunity to vertically scale. We are just in the third- or fourth-generation of an inflection that will create an impact for at least ten generations to come.

“In terms of the logic roadmap, it has already transitioned from the world of planar transistor to the FinFET transistor scheme, and there are further generations of innovation in FinFET technology and a new transistor structure in later architecture.

“This roadmap is a 5-10 year one for the logic industry. While the clearest roadmap for the industry from a technology point is in NVM, all of the elements, logic and memory, including DRAM and NVM, have a technical roadmap, which is as good – if not stronger – than it has been in many years.

“The semiconductor industry is looking at an exciting decade from a technological advancement point of view. The level of innovation is being driven by an increasing number of applications for predictive medicine, autonomous vehicles, innovations in space and climate. All this would not have been possible without silicon.

“The innovation in silicon enables the development of the application space. Application development and growth can only be sustained through continuous innovation in the semiconductor industry.”

Transformative memory tech
Next, what about transformative memory technology and its latest inflection

Shrinivasan added: “The semiconductor industry is facing multiple technology inflections simultaneously. Revolutionary approaches are being sought after in place of incremental or evolutionary scaling strategies in order to provide consumers with smaller, faster and power efficient devices.

“The current inflections are focussed on multiple patterning, FinFET, advanced packaging, and 3D NAND. NAND flash has traditionally been made using two-dimensional (2D) or planar methods. However, in order to squeeze in more memory capacity without having to shrink feature dimensions, 3D NAND provides a viable option. This memory structure is different therefore, it requires new fabrication methods which are being developed. 3D NAND is being driven by several important advantages that it offers, including its ability to deliver higher capacity with a lower cost per bit.
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MOS memory investors, China to correct DRAM imbalance

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penn1According to an IC Insights report, the 47 percent full-year 2017 jump in the price-per-bit of DRAM was the largest annual increase since 1978, surpassing the previous high of 45 percent registered 30 years ago in 1988! This sounds interesting!

Are the rising DRAM prices aiding startup Chinese competitors? Are major DRAM suppliers somehow stunting global DRAM demand?

Dr. Walden C. Rhines, president and CEO, Mentor Graphics, a Siemens Business, said: “The DRAM business has always gone through cycles of imbalance between supply and demand. Growth of demand in the last 18 months has been stronger than growth of supply.

“Substantial investments in 2017 by the MOS (metal-oxide semiconductor) memory producers, as well as the addition of China to the supply chain, will correct this imbalance late this year or, at the latest, early next year.”

The DRAM price-per-Gb has been on a steep rise. To this, Dr. Rhines said: “It is a commodity, although there are many types of specialty DRAMs emerging. Because DRAMs are viewed by customers as a near-commodity, the price is heavily influenced by the availability of supply. Supply has been very tight during the last 18 months.

Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO, Future Horizons, UK, added, “This is supply and demand, pure text-book economics.”

Are the rising DRAM prices opening the door for startup Chinese competitors?

Dr. Rhines noted: “Chinese competitors made their decision to invest in DRAM capacity long before the recent strengthening of demand in the balance of supply and demand. Of course, higher, or stable, pricing may make it easier for new producers to absorb the costs of ramping up new capacity and developing experience with a new technology.”

Malcolm Penn agreed: “Potentially yes, and to anyone else. Coca Cola were contemplating building DRAMs in the 1990s. DSRAM market boom, again, pure text-book economics. Whether or not they succeed is an entirely different matter. If the Chinese do enter the market, can they then survive the inevitable downturn and cycles? That remains to be seen!”

Can the startup Chinese DRAM producers field any competitive product soon? Dr. Rhines noted: “They probably can. But, they will have to develop a production base of “learning” to reduce cost, improve yields and maybe even reliability. This will take some time.”

Penn added: “Technically (i.e., meeting the spec), probably, yes. Reliability, probably no, for the Tier 1 customers (that will take several years to build up the production experience). Cost, definitely not!

“Their small fab scale and late learning curve start means that their die cost will be sizably higher than those of Samsung and SKH, and also Micron. Plus, their yields will be lower. Then, there’s the deep cash pockets issue to fund these ongoing cost disadvantages.”

300mm fabs
In a separate situation, some 300mm fabs closing, for example, ProMOS. Dr. Rhines said: “It’s because of an imbalance of supply and demand for the products they make, thus limiting their profitability. It could also be because they don’t see an adequate investment return from the expensive new capacity investments, and therefore, find it more attractive to phase out some of their existing capacity.”

Malcolm Penn felt that the fabs were too old and technically obsolete.

Finally, are there more IC companies making transition to fab-lite or fabless business model?

Penn noted: “There’s no-one left to change! Everyone’s now fablite or fabless, except for Intel and Samsung (logic) and the memory manufacturers.”

Dr. Rhines said: “Based upon the growth of foundry revenue vs. total semiconductor revenue growth, there must be a continuing transition of capacity away from IDMs toward foundries. In addition, IDMs like Samsung are finding it economic to build the foundry business to increase the volume base of products that utilize their technology and capital investment.”

Xilinx’s vision for adaptable, intelligent world!

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PengVictor Peng, president and CEO of Xilinx Inc. unveiled his vision and strategy to enable the “adaptable, intelligent world.” Xilinx moves beyond the FPGA to deliver a completely new category of highly flexible and adaptive processors and platforms that will allow for rapid innovation across a wide array of technologies.

Peng’s strategy involves three key points:
* Emphasis on data center acceleration.
* Accelerating growth in core markets.
* Introducing the Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP).

Let’s find out what’s the new innovation around data center acceleration.

Peng said: ” In a data center, there are three areas that need to be in acceleration — compute, storage, and network. Xilinx already provides FPGA-based acceleration solutions for storage and network. A recent major trend is compute. Many data center users would like to use compute resource for a broad set of applications in the emerging era of Big Data and artificial intelligence, like video transcoding, database, data compression, search, AI inference, genomics, machine vision, etc.

“These applications are not fit for the CPU architecture. So, markets need to have an application-specific acceleration solution.”

Next, how is Xilinx looking to accelerating growth in core markets? Peng added: “In the core market, it is not direct-related acceleration. All Core markets that Xilinx has highlighted are important for our current and future businesses. Xilinx keeps investing in these areas as well. Of course, these applications will use cloud/data center for their businesses. Xilinx Acceleration solution also helps them to provide adaptable compute acceleration platform.

Lastly, what is the Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP), and the range of applications and workloads for ACAP!

Peng noted, “ACAP will cover a broad set of applications in the emerging era of big data and artificial intelligence, like video transcoding, database, data compression, search, AI inference, genomics, machine vision, etc.”

As for the outlook for the global semiconductor industry in 2018, Xilinx declined to comment. However, some analysts would have an opinion.