Feeds

Ex-IntelCrayAkamai startup rejiggers virtualization

Servers splash in memory pool

Top three mobile application threats

RNA Networks - a startup based in server development hotbed Portland, Oregon - has launched a stack of systems software that provides memory virtualization and pooling for servers that are connected by a network.

While most server virtualization tools aim to carve up a single box into multiple virtual machines with their own virtual processors, memory, and I/O, RNA's memory virtualization platform aggregates capacity across servers. In particular, the company's software aggregates the main memory on server nodes in the network and makes a giant shared pool of virtual memory available to each server node, giving it more room for applications to play.

The approach embodied in RNAmessenger, the first product to be created out of the memory virtualization platform, is a much less tight coupling of main memory than symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) or non-uniform memory access (NUMA) clustering used in server electronics. But if each server in a network gets access to more main memory - even if it exists down a wire on another machine, and applications go faster or can get larger - the effect is the same.

RNA Networks was founded in 2006 and has been operating in stealth mode for the past 18 months. The company's founders come from supercomputer maker Cray, chip maker Intel, host bus adapter maker QLogic, and Web caching provider Akamai, and it has lots of expertise in caching, interconnects, and remote direct access memory (RDMA) technology, according to Clive Cook, chief executive officer at RNA Networks.

Founded by Ranjit Pandit, who lead the database clustering project at SilverStorm Technologies (which was eaten by QLogic) and who worked on the InfiniBand interconnect and the Pentium 4 chip while at Intel, RNA has received $7m in venture capital to date.

According to Cook, memory is the main bottleneck in computing today, and processors get all the press releases and focus. He says that the 16-core processors that are on the horizon will behave, from a performance standpoint, like a dual-core processor from last year on a lot of applications because of memory bottlenecks.

Moreover, he says that the two-year replacement cycle for servers at a lot of companies has more to do with the need to add more main memory than to add processing capacity. And from an economic standpoint, memory represents about 50 per cent of the power on a motherboard for a server these days, and an almost as large piece of the cost of the server too. Using the memory efficiently is therefore as important to IT operations as is using CPUs efficiently.

"For any IT organization, we believe that memory has the greatest impact on performance and scalability," says Cook. "Nobody is directly addressing the problem of getting applications access to a global, shared pool of memory - and doing so on existing infrastructure."

RNAmessenger, RNA Networks' first commercial product, was released in the fourth quarter of last year in a limited beta and today become generally available. Cook says that the company will be creating versions of its memory virtualization and pooling technology for various workloads, since each kind of workload puts different levels of stress on memory and I/O subsystems as well as processors.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Get the Message?

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.