Hedvig Exits Stealth With New Distributed Storage Platform, VC Funding

Hedvig CEO Avinash Lakshman

Hedvig on Wednesday came out of stealth with the introduction of a software-defined storage solution the company said not only breaks the tie between storage software and hardware but also provides the widest range of storage services.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Hedvig also said that it has raised a total of $12.5 million in funding, including a seed round of $2.5 million and an A-round worth $10 million.

Hedvig was founded by CEO Avinash Lakshman, who the company said was a co-inventor of Amazon Dynamo, which eventually became NoSQL, and inventor of Cassandra for Facebook.

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Lakshman told CRN that the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform provides a level of abstraction to let compute platforms consume storage regardless of protocol, whether it is file, block or object storage.

The biggest differentiator in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform, however, comes from its ability to provide the widest range of services, including replication, disaster recovery, compression and deduplication, each with its own quality of service.

"There may be apps that don't work well with deduplication, but are running on systems that have deduplication running," he said. "Our technology is flexible. It looks at the application, then turns on or off those services as needed."

Turning on the required services happens when the applications are published, Lakshman said. There are no changes that have to be made to an application. Instead, the services are configured with just a few clicks, similar to what companies need to do to configure an application for Amazon, he said.

The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform scales from three to several thousands of nodes, Lakshman said. "One could do it with two nodes, but we don't recommend it," he said.

The deployment can be made on a wide range of server platforms, and Hedvig is not publishing a hardware compatibility list, he said.

The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is a good choice for partners looking to help customers modernize their IT infrastructure, said Andre Mellul, CEO and founder of Fabrics4Clouds, a Montreal-based provider of traditional infrastructure and modern cloud solutions.

Mellul told CRN that he is on a mission to be a rip-and-replace guru focused on modern technology. "Everything has to be software-defined," he said. "Over the last year and a half, I learned about Hedvig and the value it provides even as we were making strategic investments in object storage. I met Avinash, and felt that, based on our business background, Hedvig provides the best alternative."

Hedvig lets Fabrics4Clouds provide a scale-out storage capability, but at a much deeper level than other vendors, Mellul said.

"We can go deep with deduplication, compression and Docker, while working with block, file and object storage," he said. "It's replaced two products for us."

It is important for solution providers to explore solutions like the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform on commodity servers, Mellul said.

"With Hedvig, we provide true commoditization of the hardware," Mellul said. "About 70 percent of a deal is software, and 30 percent hardware. We say software is the gift that keeps giving. When a customer buys hardware, it's used until it's replaced. But software is different. How many customers who bought VMware in 2005 is not a VMware customer today? Almost none."

The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is seeing interest among server vendors who could use it as a way to add value and margins to their otherwise commodity servers, Lakshman said. However, he declined to identify any specific server vendors looking at the solution. "It fills a gap in their portfolio," he said.

Rob Whiteley, vice president of marketing at Hedvig, told CRN that the company has signed on distributors and solution providers who can integrate the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform on commodity servers.

"On the channel side, we sought out people comfortable with infrastructure and with software-defined platforms," he said. "Some have this as a practice, others focus on this business."

Hedvig will eventually have a two-tier distribution strategy, but for now focuses mainly on boutique channel partners, Whiteley said.

The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is in limited general availability at a half-dozen sites, Lakshman said. Full general availability is slated for the second quarter of 2015.