Systems Not Software

In the world of technology, much of the focus is on software as the center of value. Many of us that design, develop or invest in emerging technologies see software as exciting and dynamic, whereas hardware is often regarded as a solved problem, and so maybe not as interesting.

This mindset only works when the hardware which that software depends upon has already reached commodity status. For many years now, this has been the case in many areas of technology; while we have seen iterative speed increases in the data center, the basics of appliances and servers within the racks of the data center have not changed. However, this changes once we introduce memory disaggregation; today, hardware that is designed to solve the challenges of providing servers access to very fast banks of memory is just not available.

At TORmem, we are focused on realizing our vision of One Memory for All. A key part of this strategy is designing, manufacturing and distributing our disaggregated memory appliances. This vision requires us to understand not just hardware, and not just software; TORmem is creating the optimal solution for memory disaggregation, combining purpose-built hardware with custom software which, together, solve the real challenge of scaling modern applications.

System Problem, System Solution

The problems that memory disaggregation solves are problems with the structure of our modern computing systems. Whether at the individual server, or at the scale of an entire data center or hyperscale cloud, these are not simple problems to solve. As such, these problems cannot be solved by either hardware or software alone. They must be solved by the combination of those two elements, combined into a cohesive system that is tailored to solve these key challenges.

Today’s servers are designed to accommodate a certain fixed amount of fast local memory. As the types of applications that operate on these servers in the data center continue to increase in scale and complexity however, this fixed amount of fast local memory can become a bottleneck.

Additionally, in many cases, a cluster of physical servers is used to process an application and its associated workloads. The server operator must then outfit each server with large amounts of fast local memory, without knowing if at any given time that memory will be used effectively.

Without hardware that provides the server with high-speed access to very large banks of fast memory, there is no physical location which the server can use as an extension of its own fast local memory at an acceptable speed. This results in limited performance and difficulty scaling key applications, and a software-only solution can only go so far in addressing this challenge. 

On the other hand, that same piece of hardware without the software to utilize it effectively is at best minimally effective in solving the challenges of memory disaggregation. If a server doesn’t know how to efficiently utilize the very large banks of fast memory provided by a disaggregated memory appliance, that memory appliance may go unused or underused, limiting performance.
As an industry, we must build and invest in hardware and software, well integrated as a system.

Experience and Flexibility

Our team has the experience to solve any hardware, software or system development issues that we encounter. Both our CEO, Thao Nguyen, and our CTO, Steven White, have extensive backgrounds in hardware engineering and creating system solutions, giving our team a unique advantage in solving these issues. The approach to engineering at TORmem is that integration between all areas of the company is the key to delivering a successful system to the customer.

This tightly integrated approach distinguishes TORmem from other companies that may try to solve the challenges of memory disaggregation by piecing together solutions from many varied sources. The challenges of memory disaggregation are challenges of technical integration, and of addressing the real needs of the market; and a single cohesive solution is the way to do that.

Although there are plenty of challenges ahead in bringing our vision to market, we believe that TORmem and our product solutions will solve the challenges of memory disaggregation first.

About TORmem

At TORmem, we believe in One Memory for All, our vision of high-speed disaggregated memory at data center scale, for enterprise, cloud and HPC use cases. Decouple your memory from your servers, speeding up today’s applications and enabling tomorrow’s, while optimizing costs. 

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