What is RDMA? A quick guide to innovative data transfer

By Jonathan Crowl

In a tech environment featuring high-speed clusters and data center networks, performance cannot be compromised at the expense of functionality. These computer networks are designed to maximize performance and data access for organizations by expanding computing power and streamlining operations.

However, data transfer remains a necessary function of these networks, and the energy required to transfer data quickly can bog down computer processors. To fix this, some enterprises have turned to remote direct memory access (RDMA). But first, what is RDMA? It’s a relatively new computing solution that improves data transfers by bypassing any data processing and supporting faster communications that don’t inhibit other computing activity.

The exact function and benefits of RDMA are fairly technical in nature, but enterprise leadership shouldn’t be intimidated. Although it requires some updates to your computing infrastructure, RDMA offers benefits that are well worth the transition, especially for organizations working in certain industries.

Top benefits of RDMA

RDMA’s value resides in its ability to exchange main memory data without using the processors, caches or operating systems of either computer used in the data transfer. That means RDMA can access or deliver data without using up the resources of a computer. If other computing processes are taking place, they can continue on without interference, according to TechTarget.

RDMA supports better computing. Its increased speed is powered by zero-copy capabilities, which enable transferring without the need to copy data between different network layers. It can also accelerate the data transfer rate over what organizations might see from their traditional infrastructure. Computer processing speeds are optimized, and data transfer becomes faster and more efficient. The time savings on both sides add up quickly.

As IT Peer Network notes, recent tech innovations have made latency — the lag time it takes to transfer data — a much more important factor that affects the quality of performance for internal operations, as well as customer-facing experiences. RDMA can help resolve latency worries, setting organizations up for success now and in the future.

Targeting high-impact industries

Some industries face a more urgent need than others to integrate RDMA into their computing infrastructure. For example, financial service industries can benefit greatly from low-latency data transfer, as well as companies that are building user experiences through mobile technology and emerging online outlets.

Meanwhile, medical organizations and cloud computing brands can use RDMA to mitigate issues surrounding high transfer volume, which might otherwise slow down computer processes for other arms of the organization. Medical companies, in particular, can use RDMA to make sure high-volume and data transfer latency do not adversely affect patient care.

Eventually, virtually every enterprise will have a clear use case for RDMA. Yet the previously mentioned industries will likely lead the way in RDMA adoption due to the significant improvements they will see in critical areas of their operations.

As organizations grow more familiar with remote direct memory access, software and hardware providers will make their own products compatible with this data transfer solution. So, what is RDMA? When implemented correctly, it’s a technology that will speed up your entire organization.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl


Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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