Crescendo's Maestro Music To Ears Of Utility Computing Fans - InformationWeek

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Crescendo's Maestro Music To Ears Of Utility Computing Fans

Utility computing is supposed to boost the efficiency of your hardware: Use only as much as you need when you need it. But what happens when your utility computing hardware is running sluggish Web-based applications? Very little. Latency problems persist, and bandwidth clogs. That could very well change, thanks to Crescendo Networks.

Utility computing is supposed to boost the efficiency of your hardware: Use only as much as you need when you need it. But what happens when your utility computing hardware is running sluggish Web-based applications? Very little. Latency problems persist, and bandwidth clogs.

That could very well change, thanks to Crescendo Networks. The 2-year-old company, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a U.S. office in Dublin, Calif., sells the Maestro Platform, a front-end appliance designed to enhance utility computing infrastructures by offloading application servers, optimizing capacity and reducing latency -- all with the goal of reducing capital and infrastructure costs.

At the core of Crescendo's technology is the ability to manage TCP sessions and diverting network and server tasks for greater efficiency.

"TCP/IP stacks were never built to handle web functions. As a result, servers aren't well equipped to handle the heavy TCP session load," explains Hooman Beheshti, vice president of technology at Crescendo. "What Maestro does is act like a traffic cop for the server. It chooses which jobs need to be done and terminates any sessions that could slow the content flow. The server then can push out content as fast as possible."

InTouch.Net, a communications service provider based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, chose to partner with Crescendo because of the way in which Maestro addresses the TCP session issue. "People focus on the CPU and browsers, when analyzing their network speed and traffic, but what is really needed is how to deal with the flow," says Rager Ossel, CTO of InTouch. "Crescendo's technology really addresses this problem."

In addition to TCP session management technology, Maestro incorporates RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) functionality. RDMA is a communication protocol that allows data to be transmitted from the memory of one computer to the memory of another computer without passing through either device's CPU. RDMA increases network speed because data can be transferred faster when it doesn't have to pass through the CPU.

"What most people are doing is putting more TCP cards on the servers but that isn't a real solution," explains Lynn Nye, president of APM Advisors, a consulting firm in Portland, OR. "Over time, the idea is to go directly memory to memory and that reduces the load on the server."

The greatest challenge Crescendo has ahead is developing partnerships that will complement its technology as well as give the company presence on a worldwide basis. It has inked partnership deals with European and Asian solution providers, and is looking for complementary partnership opportunities in the U.S.

"We need to be careful about balancing where the market is going and what people need," says Crescendo's Beheshti. "You can't be a company that offers everything and our challenge is to pick and choose the services we determine to dovetail with Maestro."

APM Advisor's Nye agrees, but takes it one step further. "They have an advantage because they have a unique product that is a powerful offering and ahead of the curve. They just need to further develop their sales and marketing prowess and partner with server clustering and application companies, such as IBM and Oracle," he says.

Indeed, it will be a challenge for Crescendo to develop partnerships with the "big boys" of high-tech but its win at NetWorld+Interop 2004 in the Performance Enhancement category gave the company elite exposure in the U.S.

"We've already started making good connections in the U.S.," says Crescendo's Beheshti. "We're confident that we can develop great partnerships with great companies in the future. It is only a matter of time."

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