Anybody used Amazon AWS for HW sims?

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Has anybody used Amazon AWS for FPGA hardware sims?  I don't know anything  
about it and I tried to read up on it but it's all a bit vague.  Amazon has
 farms of FPGAs (Xilinx, I think?) but they mostly market these as software
 accelerators, meant to be somewhat abstracted from most users.  But I'm wo
ndering if I can upload bitfiles and do hardware sims.  For example, to cha
racterize some of my error correction modules, I need to put in on the orde
r of 1e16 bits, which would take maybe months in the simulator, or maybe a  
day in full-speed hardware (using a synthesizable testbench).  Is that some
thing I could do with these AWS farms?  In this case, it wouldn't even have
 to use the same FPGA parts I'm targeting, nor would it need to run at full
 speed.

Furthermore, can AWS be used for synthesis/PAR?  Regression Verilog sims?
  

Re: Anybody used Amazon AWS for HW sims?
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I've not used them, but AIUI they provide scaffolding for building
a component that sits inside an F1 FPGA.  In other words you don't get full
access to all the pins etc, but your HDL sits inside that scaffolding and
uses things like virtual LEDs and PCIe transactions that are communicated to
your app on the CPU side via the AWS FPGA IP.

But inside the FPGA logic you can mostly do whatever you want - subject to
not violating constraints like taking too much power.

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For driving F1 instances, the tools are free.  For other things, as long as
you can sort the licensing setup I don't see why not.

https://github.com/aws/aws-fpga
has lots of info.

Theo

Re: Anybody used Amazon AWS for HW sims?
On Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 3:30:01 AM UTC-7, Theo wrote:
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Thanks; I looked briefly at your link but it all sounds like it has a steep learning curve.  Could you describe what an "F1 instance" is?  The Amazon documentation is peppered with references to F1 without really explaining it.

Re: Anybody used Amazon AWS for HW sims?
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AWS EC2 offers you a range of servers, labelled with various letters and
numbers.  They can be either VMs or dedicated servers:
https://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/

An 'instance' is a particular virtual/dedicated server.  If your workload
requires a thousand copies of your VM running in parallel, each one is an
instance.

'f1' is their particular name for their dedicated servers with FPGAs.  For
example 'f1.2xlarge' is an 8-core server with one FPGA, 'f1.16xlarge' is a
64 core server (or cluster) with 8 FPGAs. At present they're using Virtex
Ultrascale+.

'F1' more generally is the name of their project that provides FPGAs in
their cloud servers.  So people talk about 'running it in Amazon F1' when
they mean the whole action of renting a server from Amazon by the hour to
run their workload on the FPGA in that machine.

Theo

Re: Anybody used Amazon AWS for HW sims?
On Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 3:18:44 PM UTC-7, Theo wrote:
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Thanks for the explanation.  I'm going to have to learn some more.  It sounds like this is not really targeted toward FPGA designers, but it could still be useful.  After you get the framework set up, it should be easier for successive testbenches.

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