The Growing Importance of Memory

Michael Vizard

In case you haven't noticed, just about everybody wants to run their applications in memory these days. Whether it's a database or a virtual machine, everything runs faster now that there is a lot more affordable memory in the world.

But rather than having to buy new expensive servers to access that memory, what if you could just run the applications on a card that plugs into your existing server? That's the thinking behind a set of memory modules from Fusion-io that plug directly into a server to make 1.28 TB of memory available on a single PCI Express card.

At the recent VMworld 2010 conference, Fusion-io showcased 512 virtual desktops running on a single instance of VMware vSphere. According to Fusion-io CEO David Flynn, this makes memory appear to be block-level storage to the applications trying to access it, which means that IT organizations can not only reduce the number of servers they need to support an application, they can also reduce the amount of storage required.

Fusion-io has relationships with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. But chances are that the sales people at those companies might overlook Fusion-io simply because they have a vested interest in selling servers and storage.

At time when the price of memory is falling and the performance of new application environments is tied directly to how much memory they can access, the time to look at every and any new technology that makes more memory available to those applications is now.

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