While I'm winging my way over to Las Vegas for Parallels Summit 2009, I thought you'd like to learn more about "memory virtualization." RNA Networks' Clive Cook (CEO) and Andy Mallinger (VP Marketing) did their best to help me understand where their concept of "memory virtualization" fits into the Kusnetzky Group model of virtualization technology (see Sorting out the different layers of virtualization to learn more about the model). The challenge I was facing was that their concept appears functionally similar to a number of industry catch phrases including the following:
- Collaborative Cache
- Distributed Cache
- Enterprise Data Fabric
- Memory virtualization
- Networked Caching
- and Application Acceleration
and what products such as the following do:
- JBoss Cache
- Microsoft's Velocity
- Oracle's Coherence
- A host of open source projects (see SourceForge.org for a large list of caching software)
How RNA Networks describes memory virtualization
RNA networks, Inc. introduces networked caching – collaborative caching - for application acceleration in the enterprise data center. Its collaborative cache solution, RNAcache, uses virtual, networked-memory caching to improve application acceleration and optimize enterprise data center utilization. This innovation delivers competitive advantage and translates into greater speed, stability, scalability and security with reduced costs and higher quality of service for any business–aligned IT environment.
What products is RNA Networks offering?
Here's how the good folks at RNA Networks describe their products.
With its Memory Virtualization Platform, RNA is virtualizing the enterprise data center. RNA products can be implemented on a dedicated high-performance overlay network or as part of the established GbE network fabric. Since memory virtualization is application centric, RNA’s products work with most commonly deployed operating system kernels.
|RNAcache ||RNAcache virtualizes memory into a Collaborative Cache. RNAcache is designed for applications that are I/O intensive and can take advantage of large scale memory sharing, with RNAcache application data and network bottlenecks are removed.|
|RNAmessenger ||Specifically designed to deliver messages with ultra-low latency, RNAmessenger virtualizes messaging solutions into a Collaborative Cache. With RNAmessenger, high-volume certified transaction processing is enabled. Small message sizes (i.e. hundreds of bytes) are handled as efficiently as large data sets.|
What benefits is this supposed to provide?
Taking transactional applications "to the extreme", that is supporting millions of people rather than thousands has either required one huge system or finding a way to synchronize the work of hundreds or, perhaps, thousands of machines. Although the folks who work with high performance computing have developed tools for this type of configuration, they often weren't useful for those who are working with established transactional applications.
Those in the industry thank companies such as Google, Amazon and eBay for showing the world that it is possible to create applications that scale to a previously unbelievable level. These companies discovered ways to apply parallel processing techniques to commercial appliactions.
When a given industry segment has developed so many different catch phrases it is clear that it is an imature market. This means that each and every supplier has to work very hard to define their own terms and then drive IT decision makers through the gates of awareness, interest, desire/demand and then action if they're going to survive. Since there are quite a number of different companies trying to do this (see Gemstone Gemfire Enterprise
for a review of one such company). it is going to be very difficult for a small player, such as RNA Networks, to cut through the noise made by the larger players, such as Microsoft and Oracle, even if they have a better product.
RNA Networks' technology appears interesting and could be of use to organizations needing high performance computing, extreme transaction processing or the like. The folks at RNA Networks, however, have their work cut out for them to get IT decision makers to give them the opportunity to say something about what they're doing