Hedvig Closes $21.5M Funding Round, HPE Invests In The Software-Defined Storage Startup

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has taken an equity stake in yet another storage startup as one of the investors in a $21.5-million round of funding in Hedvig, a developer of software-defined storage technology.

The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform combines block, file, and object storage for bare metal, hypervisor and container environments, with performance that increases as the solution scales.

With the new Series C round of funding and its new investor, Hedvig expects to see opportunities working with HPE in the future, said Rob Whiteley, vice president of marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup.

[Recent: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Antonio Neri Discusses Nimble Storage Acquisition And Nimble's Lenovo And Cisco Relationships]

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"We offer a software-defined storage platform that is very flexible," Whiteley told CRN. "We want to ramp up solutions with new partnerships. The HPE relationship gives us more opportunities to tackle enterprise requirements."

Phil Williams, Hedvig's vice president of channels and business development, told CRN that he expects his companies will have more opportunities to work with HPE with this new round of funding.

"We're not prepared to talk much about it yet," Williams said. "But investments like this are a way to bring new technologies into a company like HPE. But we're still working on the details."

The new funding round, which brings total funding in Hedvig to $52 million, will also be used to expand the company's global presence and build out its sales and marketing capabilities, Whiteley said.

"Software-defined storage is picking up a lot of steam, but it's still a new market," he said. "The number-one spot is still up for grabs."

In another sign of possible interest in Hedvig, HPE also appointed Milan Shetti, chief technology officer of its Data Center Infrastructure group, as technical advisor to Hedvig, Whiteley said.

Shetti is no stranger to working with startups which eventually get acquired. He as president and CEO of Ibrix when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2009. Ibrix developed file-serving software that provided data protection, management, and availability to scale-out and cloud computing environments

Hedvig is not the first storage startup HPE invested in. HPE early last year invested in Scality, a developer of object storage technology. HPE is also a major reseller of Scality's software.

HPE this year has been busy with storage vendor acquisitions, including those of hyper-converged infrastructure technology developer SimpliVity and all-flash storage array developer Nimble Storage.

Whiteley declined to talk about the size of HPE's stake in Hedvig or the company's finances. However, the said the company is gaining traction in two primary use cases.

The first is with large enterprises looking to build clouds. "They want an on-premises AWS-like infrastructure," he said. "Such customers look at Docker or public clouds, all of which are easy to connect to our solution. It's the majority of our business."

The second is traditional businesses who are less advanced when it comes to the cloud, Whiteley said. "They like using the cloud for backups," he said. "They are happy with their backup infrastructures, but want to take it to the cloud."

Hedvig in 2016 unveiled the second generation of its platform, Whiteley said. For 2017, the company plans integration with a number of data protection vendors; the addition of more seamless cloud and hyperscale tools in addition to the Mesos, OpenStack, and Docker tools it now works with; and a new hyper-converged infrastructure version of its platform, he said.

Hedvig as proven to be a good channel and technology partner, said Gautam Shah, president of Colfax International, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based solution provider and Hedvig channel partner.

"We like how Hedvig allows customers to use commodity servers--anybody's machines--to deploy scale-out storage," Shah told CRN. "This means more business for us."

The new round of funding shows that Hedvig is maturing as a company, and should be here for the long-term, Shah said.

"As it matures from being a startup, and as its customers, talent, and funding grows, Hedvig becomes more effective as a partner to the channel," he said. "This helps the channel feel more comfortable working with Hedvig in return."

Colfax has a history of working with open source storage software on commodity hardware, and sometimes runs into issues related to scalability and expandability to the cloud, Shah said.

"Hedvig removes a lot of the complexity," he said. "We have the commodity hardware. For customers with more sophisticated needs, we can help them look at Hedvig and its more sophisticated capabilities."

Hedvig currently has about 40 active channel partners, mainly in North America and Europe, but wants to be at about 100 partners by year-end, Williams said. "We'll talk about plans for HPE partners later," he said.