San Diego startup Cenata Networks Inc., founded by five former JNI Corp. (Nasdaq: JNIC) executives, is developing silicon-based technologies it claims will connect servers in high-availability clusters -- without any changes required to applications running on those servers -- using standard Ethernet technologies.
The pre-VC company is basing its products on the Remote Direct Memory Access specification, which is designed to improve server-to-server communication by offloading data-copy operations from the host CPU. RDMA allows computers to effectively access shared memory space across the network, meaning one server can directly place information in another computer's memory space without any intermediate processing.
Cenata's secret salsa is a proprietary layer it calls Transparent RDMA (tRDMA), which is supposed to allow existing applications to take advantage of RDMA with no modifications necessary. "You don't have to do anything except plug your card in," says Dan Asmann, VP of marketing and business development. "That's where we think the gold is."
This, of course, positively smacks of your usual startup propaganda. Who knows if it will ever actually work as advertised?
In Cenata's favor is the fact that it's developing its chips based on RDMA, which is emerging as a widely supported standard. Members of the RDMA Consortium include Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) (see RDMA Rumbles Along).