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Memory Virtualization With a Twist

A new virtualization company opens its doors today, and is offering something I haven't seen before in the virtualization world: memory virtualization.

Wait a minute! you shout. Memory has been virtualized for a long time. VMware's ESX does it; so does Microsoft's Hyper-V, Citrix' XenServer, Virtual Iron and everyone else. They all pool server RAM and make it available to virtual machines (VMs) on an as-needed basis.

That's what I told RNA networks Marketing VP Andy Mallinger in a briefing last week. But RNA is doing something different: specifically, its Memory Virtualization Platform (MVP) and first product, RNAmessenger, isn't designed to work in a virtualized environment. It's for very high-end servers that normally wouldn't be virtualized due to their workloads.

RNAmessenger works in basically the same way as the other guys. It pools memory, but in this case makes it available only for physical servers that need it. The company is claiming perforance improvements of 500 percent and even more in initial use cases with financial companies that rely heavily on electronic trading. The first company using it is a gigantic hedge fund that RNA would not identify by name. Mallinger did imply, however, that the company is beyond happy with the product.

A performance improvement of 500 percent plus? Those are heady numbers, to be sure, but RNA has promised to provide me with customers who will verify the figures. Be assured that I will follow up, as those numbers are amazing if true. It claims to do this through reducing latency and increasing throughput.

Right now, RNAmessenger is for use on various flavors of Linux, including Red Hat, Fedora and SUSE, and is x86-based. It requires the MVP hardware appliance and the RNA messenger software. 

As a company, RNA looks as if it's started off on the right foot. It's received $7 million in Series A funding, a significant amount of start-up capital in this economic environment. It's got a strong leadership team, and a product that fills a niche I hadn't even considered before, but makes perfect sense. 

RNAmessenger is available starting today. If you become a customer, please let me know about your experiences.

Posted by Keith Ward on 02/02/2009 at 12:48 PM


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