Rambus To Buy Hardent

Deal aims to accelerate CXL memory interconnect development.


Rambus inked a deal to buy Hardent, an engineering services company, in order to accelerate Rambus’ push into the CXL arena.

Compute Express Link (CXL), developed primarily by Intel before being turned into an open industry standard, allows memory to be disaggregated within a data center and shared across multiple servers. This, in turn, lets data centers control how critical resources are allocated and optimized. So compute-intensive applications that require large amounts of external memory can be prioritized over less-critical applications, and loads can be balanced as needed.

“The notion here of CXL-attached memory, either as a pure expansion for certain workloads or bandwidth, is the first thing to look at,” said Matt Jones, general manager of IP cores at Rambus. “The acquisition of Hardent really helps us to put more engineering resources into these efforts. We see the market is moving in this direction very quickly, based on what we hear from our customers, from the ecosystem, and from the memory providers.”

Improving how effectively external memory gets utilized is a continual goal, but granular and multi-directional control of how data flows provides a brand new twist. It also has other benefits. Because DRAM tends to age differently than logic, this approach allows each of them to be replaced on different schedules. In addition, pooling for memory is roughly comparable to what virtualization was to servers in the 2000s. It allows for maximum utilization of resources, which improves efficiency and lowers data center operating costs.

Fig. 1: CXL’s role in boosting system performance. Source: Rambus

“This allows us to move beyond pooling to things like near-memory compute, putting some of the more targeted workload computing in conjunction with some of these pooling techniques,” Jones said. “We’re hearing from the ecosystem and customer base that near-memory compute will be the next step in the evolution. Our primary play here is the data center and the CXL horsepower, but we will continue to harden IP development, which will open up some new markets for MIPI-transported video for displays in automotive and AR/VR.”

The Hardent acquisition also adds expertise in systems engineering, verification, video compression, and error code correction.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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