Memory Virtualization (Getting Servers to Breath Better) vs. the Uber Virtualized Data Center

There is a lot of news and products on Virtualizing the Data Center. 

Cisco announced their Unified Computing System.

Cisco Unleashes the Power of Virtualization with Industry's First Unified Computing System

Innovative Architecture Integrates Compute, Networking and Virtualization in a Single Platform; New Services and Partnerships Focused on Next Generation Data Centers

SAN JOSE Calif. - March 16, 2009 - Cisco today unveiled an evolutionary new data center architecture, innovative services and an open ecosystem of best in class partners to help customers develop next-generation data centers that unleash the full power of virtualization. With today's announcement, Cisco is delivering on the promise of virtualization through Unified Computing - an architecture that bridges the silos in the data center into one unified architecture using industry standard technologies. Key to Cisco's approach is the Cisco Unified Computing System which unites compute, network, storage access, and virtualization resources in a single energy efficient system that can reduce IT infrastructure costs and complexity, help extend capital assets and improve business agility well into the future.

VMware has their Virtual Data Center OS.

The Virtual Datacenter Operating System Defined

VMware's flagship product, VMware Infrastructure, coupled with VMware's comprehensive roadmap of groundbreaking new products provide a virtual datacenter OS for IT environments of all sizes. The virtual datacenter OS addresses customers’ needs for flexibility, speed, resiliency and efficiency by transforming the datacenter into an “internal cloud” – an elastic, shared, self- managing and self-healing utility that can federate with external clouds of computing capacity freeing IT from the constraints of static hardware-mapped applications. The virtual datacenter OS guarantees appropriate levels of availability, security and scalability to all applications independent of hardware and location.  


But, what I find interesting in all these solutions is how neither of these solutions focus on memory.

Why memory? The focus is on compute, storage, and network.

I think memory is like air for automotive engine (CPU). You need good intake of air (memory input), and exhaust with minimal backpressure.

So why not virtualize memory across multiple servers?

While in Portland I was able to visit with RNAnetworks and discuss their latest announcement.

RNA networks Brings Memory Virtualization Into the Enterprise Data Center

RNA Memory Virtualization Transforms Memory into a Shared, Networked Resource

Portland, Ore. – February 2, 2009 – RNA networks, a leader in memory virtualization software that transforms server memory into a shared network resource, today announced the launch of its Memory Virtualization Platform (MVP) and first product, RNAmessenger, based on the MVP.  Memory Virtualization unleashes high-performance computing from existing commodity hardware by decoupling memory from the processor and server.  Uniquely, the RNA Memory Virtualization Platform is transparent to existing applications and operating systems allowing enterprises to leverage their existing IT assets with no changes.
“Reliance on fragmented local server memory has been a key roadblock to optimizing performance in data center clusters, but memory virtualization eliminates size limits and slashes access times by providing distributed shared memory for all CPUs in a cluster,” said Eyal Waldman, Chairman, President and CEO, Mellanox Technologies. “By combining RNA Networks' Memory Virtualization with Mellanox Technologies' unrivaled connectivity performance, data center architects can achieve new levels of performance with high efficiency and lower costs.”

The concept is simple.

RNA’s innovative Memory Virtualization Platform works by pooling or aggregating available memory across nodes, and making the memory pool available as a shared network resource available to all servers in the data center.  Servers can access the pool, contribute to it or both.


Where is the money savings? This is another problem I see with Cisco and VMware’s uber virtual data center solutions.  Where is the money savings?

I asked RNAnetworks CEO Clive Cook how much could be saved with memory Virtualization, and he said in grid computing type of scenarios where there is a high throughput requirement across multiple machines they have numbers below.

Bottom Line Economic Advantages

Performance Improvement

Cost Savings

Fewer Load Balancers

Less Aggregate Memory

Storage Savings

Power Savings

Additional Benefits

  • Efficiency
  • Simplicity
  • Reliability
  • Resource Sharing
  • Low TCO
  • Consolidation