Hedvig’s Evolution

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 15.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

Hedvig recently presented at Storage Field Day 15. You can see videos of their presentation here, and download my rough notes from here.


More Hybrid Than Ever

It’s been a little while since I’ve spoken to Hedvig. Since that time they’ve built on a platform that was already pretty robust and feature-rich.

[image courtesy of Hedvig]



If you’re unfamiliar with Hedvig, this post by Ray Lucchesi provides a nice overview of the offering. There are a number of nice features, including the fact that it’s hypervisor agnostic. You can also run the proxy on bare metal deployed as KVM instance. Each host requires a proxy and there are 2 proxies per host (active / passive) for HA. It provides protocol consolidation on a single platform and can do deduplication, compression and encryption at a virtual disk level. Workloads map to a virtual disk, and the deduplication is global (and can be toggled on / off at a virtual disk level). Deduplication is performed at a block-level to a 4K granularity.

The default replication policy is “Agnostic” (let the system decide where to put the data), but you can also tell it that you need it to be “Rack Aware” or even “DC Aware”. The cool thing is that the same policies apply whatever protocol you use.

Hedvig uses a concept called Containers (no, not those containers, or those containers). These are assigned to storage pools, and striped across 3 disks.

There is demarcation between metadata and data.

Data Process:

  • Local data persistence
  • Replication

Metadata Process:

  • Global knowledge of everything happening in the cluster

The solution can integrate with external KMS infrastructure if you’re into that sort of thing, and there’s a really focus on “correctness” of data in the system.


Hedvig’s Evolution

Hedvig already had a good story to tell in terms of scalable, software-defined storage by the time I saw them in 2016. Their recent presentation demonstrated not just some significant re-branding, but also increased maturity around the interface and data protection features on offer with the platform. Most of the demonstration time was spent in the Hedvig GUI, in stark contrast to the last time I saw them when there was an almost constant requirement to drop in to the CLI to do a variety of tasks. At the time this made sense as the platform was relatively new in the market. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m as much a fan as anyone of the CLI, but it feels like you’re in with a better chance of broad adoption if you can also present a useable GUI for people to leverage.

Of course, whether or not you have a snazzy HTML 5 UI means nothing if you don’t have a useful product sitting behind that interface. It was clear from Hedvig’s presentation that they certainly do have something worthy of further consideration, particularly given its focus on data protection, geo-resilience and storage efficiency. The fact that it runs on pretty much anything you can think of is also a bonus. I don’t think too many people would dispute that SDS has a lot of advantages over traditional storage deployments. It’s often a lot more accessible and provides an easier, cheaper entry point for deployment. It can often be easier to get changes and improvements made to the platform that aren’t necessarily tied to particular hardware architectures, and, depending on the software in play, it can often run on just about any bit of x86 compute you want it to. The real value of solutions like Hedvig’s are the additional data protection and efficiency features that provide performance, scalability and resilience beyond the standard 2-node, 1000 disk midrange offerings.

Hedvig seem to be listening to their current and (potential) customers and are making usability and reliability a key part of their offering. I look forward to seeing how this develops over the next 12 months.

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