Startup Boosts App Speed With Virtualized Server Memory - InformationWeek

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Startup Boosts App Speed With Virtualized Server Memory

RNA Networks is aggregating server RAM so it can be loaded with a large data set to speed an application's work.

Startup RNA Networks is trying to turn server memories into a pooled, virtualized resource and has added RNAcache to its young product lineup. RNAcache takes control of a portion of each server's RAM and makes it available for of the processing needs of one application.

The concept has been used before in real-time database clusters, such as Oracle's Coherence product, and new forms of middleware, such as Terracotta, make use of memory pools for Java applications. RNA is trying to apply the concept in a more general-purpose sense, making available a memory pool that can be loaded with a large data set to speed an application's work.

RNA's initial product, RNA Messenger, was announced in February. It sought to reduce message latency in a trading system from 1,500 microseconds to 300 microseconds, giving its owner a trading advantage. RNAcache seeks to improve application performance by making a continuous file frequently used software objects, large blocks of data, or other large data sets available at low latencies. RNAcache doesn't command all of each server's memory, only a portion of it, but can manage 3 TB or more of pooled memory from "hundreds of servers," said Andy Mallinger, RNA's VP of marketing.

By virtualizing memory from multiple servers, it can improve performance without requiring any changes to be made to the application. Applications gain access to data at near the speed of light as opposed to the speed of disk retrievals.

Server purchasers are typically "overprovisioning on memory because of virtualization and [a desire to meet] peak loads. We see usage numbers as low as 25%," Jim Bole, RNA's VP of products and services, said in an interview. "RNAcache gives these buyers a way to get more performance without buying more servers." RNAcache is built on a core technology of RNA Networks, the Memory Virtualization Platform. It runs on servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Fedora, Centos Linux, and Novel's SUSE Linux. It's priced at $2,000 per server node, Mallinger said.

RNA Networks was founded in 2006 and is located in Portland, Ore. It has $10 million in venture capital funding from Menlo Ventures, Divergent Ventures, Oregon Angel Fund, and Reference Capital. Its CEO is Clive Cook, formerly of VeriLAN and Nortel.

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