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]

 

Features

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.

Storage Field Day 10 – Wrap-up and Link-o-rama

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 10.  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.

SFD-Logo2-150x150

This is a quick post to say thanks once again to Stephen, Tom, Megan and the presenters at Storage Field Day 10. I had an enjoyable and educational time. For easy reference, here’s a list of the posts I did covering the event (they may not match the order of the presentations).

Storage Field Day – I’ll Be At SFD10

Storage Field Day 10 – Day 0

Storage Field Day 10 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Kaminario are doing some stuff we’ve seen before, but that’s okay

Pure Storage really aren’t a one-trick pony

Tintri Keep Doing What They Do, And Well

Nimble Storage are Relentless in Their Pursuit of Support Excellence

Cloudian Does Object Smart and at Scale

Exablox Isn’t Just Pretty Hardware

It’s Hedvig, not Hedwig

The Cool Thing About Datera Is Intent

Data Virtualisation is More Than Just Migration for Primary Data

 

Also, here’s a number of links to posts by my fellow delegates (and Tom!). They’re all really quite smart, and you should check out their stuff, particularly if you haven’t before. I’ll try keep this updated as more posts are published. But if it gets stale, the SFD10 landing page has updated links.

 

Chris M Evans (@ChrisMEvans)

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Hedvig

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Primary Data

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Exablox

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Nimble Storage

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Datera

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Tintri

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Pure Storage

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Kaminario

Storage Field Day 10 Preview: Cloudian

Object Storage: Validating S3 Compatibility

 

Ray Lucchesi (@RayLucchesi)

Surprises in flash storage IO distributions from 1 month of Nimble Storage customer base

Has triple parity Raid time come?

Pure Storage FlashBlade well positioned for next generation storage

Exablox, bring your own disk storage

Hedvig storage system, Docker support & data protection that spans data centers

 

Jon Klaus (@JonKlaus)

I will be flying out to Storage Field Day 10!

Ready for Storage Field Day 10!

Simplicity with Kaminario Healthshield & QoS

Breaking down storage silos with Primary Data DataSphere

Cloudian Hyperstore: manage more PBs with less FTE

FlashBlade: custom hardware still makes sense

Squashing assumptions with Data Science

Bringing hyperscale operations to the masses with Datera

Making life a whole lot easier with Tintri VM-aware storage

 

Enrico Signoretti (@ESignoretti)

VM-aware storage, is it still a thing?

Scale-out, flash, files and objects. How cool is Pure’s FlashBlade?

 

Josh De Jong (@EuroBrew)

 

Max Mortillaro (@DarkkAvenger)

Follow us live at Storage Field Day 10

Primary Data: a true Software-defined Storage platform?

If you’re going to SFD10 be sure to wear microdrives in your hair

Hedvig Deep Dive – Is software-defined the future of storage?

Pure Storage’s FlashBlade – Against The Grain

Pure Storage Flashblade is now available!

 

Gabe Maentz (@GMaentz)

Heading to Tech Field Day

 

Arjan Timmerman (@ArjanTim)

We’re almost live…

Datera: Elastic Data Fabric

 

Francesco Bonetti (@FBonez)

EXABLOX – A different and smart approach to NAS for SMB

 

Marco Broeken (@MBroeken)

 

Rick Schlander (@VMRick)

Storage Field Day 10 Next Week

Hedvig Overview

 

Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd)

Flash Needs a Highway

 

Finally, thanks again to Stephen, Tom, Megan (and Claire in absentia). It was an educational and enjoyable few days and I really valued the opportunity I was given to attend.

SFD10_GroupPhoto

It’s Hedvig, not Hedwig

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 10.  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_logo_260x77-200x59

Before I get started, you can find a link to my raw notes on Hedvig‘s presentation here. You can also see videos of the presentation here.

 

It’s Hedvig, not Hedwig

I’m not trying to be a smart arse. But when you have a daughter who’s crazy about Harry Potter, it’s hard not to think about Hedwig when seeing the Hedvig brand name. I’m sure in time I’ll learn not to do this.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hedvig, it’s software-defined storage. The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is made up of standard servers and the Hedvig software.

Some of the key elements of the Hedvig solution are as follows:

  • Software is completely decoupled from commodity hardware;
  • Application-specific storage policies; and
  • Automated and API-driven.

 

Capabilities

Hedvig took us through their 7 core capabilities, which were described as follows:

  • Seamless scaling with x86 or ARM (haven’t seen an ARM-64 deployment yet);
  • Hyperconverged and hyperscale architectures (can mix and match in the same cluster);
  • Support for any hypervisor, container or OS (Xen, KVM, HyperV, ESX, containers, OpenStack, bare-metal Windows or Linux);
  • Block (iSCSI), file (NFS) and object (S3, SWIFT) protocols in one platform;
  • Enterprise features: dedupe, compression, tiering, caching, snaps/clones;
  • Granular feature provisioning per virtual disk; and
  • Multi-DC and cloud replication.

 

Components

SFD10_Hedvig_Components

The Hedvig solution is comprised of the following key components:

  • Hedvig Storage Proxy – presents the block and file storage; runs as VM, container, or bare metal;
  • Hedvig Storage Service – forms an elastic cluster using commodity servers and/or cloud infrastructure; and
  • RESTful APIs – provides object access via S3 or Swift, instruments control and data plane

 

How Does It Work?

This is oversimplifying things, but here’s roughly how it works:

  • Create and present virtual disks to the application tier;
  • Hedvig Storage Proxy captures and directs I/O to storage cluster;
  • Hedvig Storage Service distributes and replicates data across nodes;
  • The cluster caches and balances across nodes and racks; and
  • The cluster replicates for DR across DCs and/or clouds.

 

Use Cases?

So where would you use Hedvig? According to Hedvig, they’re seeing uptake in a number of both “traditional” and “new” areas:

Traditional

  • Server virtualisation
  • Backup and BC/DR
  • VDI

New workloads

  • Production clouds
  • Test/Dev
  • Big data/IoT

 

Further Reading and Final Thoughts

Before I wrap up, a quick shout-out to Chris Kranz for his use of Hedvig flavoured magnetic props during his whiteboard session – it was great. Here’s a shonky photo of Chris.

SFD10_Hedvig

Avinash Lakshman is a super smart dude with a tonne of experience in doing cloud and storage things at great scale. He doesn’t believe that traditional storage has a future. When you watch the video of the Hedvig presentation at SFD10 you get a real feel for where the company’s coming from. The hyper-functional API access versus the GUI that looks a little rough around the edges certainly gives away the heritage of this product. That said, I think Avinash and Hedvig are onto a good thing here. The “traditional” storage architectures are indeed dying, as much as we might enjoy the relative simplicity of selling someone a dual-controller, midrange, block array with limited scalability.

As with many of these solutions I feel like we’re on the cusp of seeing something really cool being developed right in front of us. For some us, the use cases won’t strike a chord, and the need for this level of scalability may not be there. But if you’re all in on SDS, Hedvig certainly has some compelling pieces of the puzzle that I think are worthy of further investigation.

The Hedvig website contains a wealth of information. You should also check out Chris M. Evans‘s SFD10 preview post on Hedvig here, while Rick Schlander did a great overview post that I recommend reading. Max did a really good deep dive post, along with a higher level view that you can see here.

 

Storage Field Day 10 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 10.  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.

SFD-Logo2-150x150

Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as a delegate at Storage Field Day 10. I’d like to point out that I’m not trying to play companies off against each other. I don’t have feelings one way or another about receiving gifts at these events (although I generally prefer small things I can fit in my suitcase). Rather, I’m just trying to make it clear what I received during this event to ensure that we’re all on the same page as far as what I’m being influenced by. Some presenters didn’t provide any gifts as part of their session – which is totally fine. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. While every delegate’s situation is different, I’d also like to clarify that I took 5 days of training / work time to be at this event (thanks to my employer for being on board).

 

Saturday

I paid for my taxi to BNE airport. I had a burger at Benny Burger in SYD airport. It was quite good. I flew Qantas economy class to SFO. The flights were paid for by Tech Field Day. Plane food was consumed on the flight. It was a generally good experience.

 

Tuesday

When I arrived at the hotel I was given a bag of snacks by Tom. The iced coffee and granola bars came in handy. We had dinner at Il Fornaio at the Westin Hotel. I had some antipasti, pizza fradiavola and 2 Hefeweizen beers (not sure of the brewery).

 

Wednesday

We had breakfast in the hotel. I had bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit and coffee. We also did the Yankee Gift Swap at that time and I scored a very nice stovetop Italian espresso coffee maker (thanks Enrico!). We also had lunch at the hotel, it was something Italian. Cloudian gave each delegate a green pen, bottle opener, 1GB USB stick, and a few Cloudian stickers. We had dinner at Gordon Biersch in San Jose. I had some sliders (hamburgers for small people) and about 5 Golden Export beers.

 

Thursday

Pure Storage gave each delegate a Tile, a pen, some mints, and an 8GB USB stick. Datera gave each delegate a Datera-branded “vortex 16oz double wall 18/8 stainless steel copper vacuum insulated thermal pilsner” (a cup) with our twitter handles on them. Tintri provided us with a Tintri / Nike golf polo shirt, a notepad, a pen, an 8GB USB stick, and a 2600mAh USB charger. We then had happy hour at Tintri. I had a Pt. Bonita Pilsner beer and a couple of fistfuls of prawns. For dinner we went to Taplands. I had a turkey sandwich and 2 Fieldwork Brewing Company Pilsners.

 

Friday

We had breakfast on Friday at Nimble Storage. I had some bacon, sausage and eggs for breakfast with an orange juice. I don’t know why my US comrades struggle so much with the concept of tomato sauce (ketchup) with bacon. But there you go. Nimble gave us each a custom baseball jersey with our name on the back and the Nimble logo. They also gave us each a white lab coat with the Nimble logo on it. My daughters love the coat. Hedvig provided us with a Hedvig sticker and a Hedvig-branded Rogue bluetooth speaker. We had lunch at Hedvig, which was a sandwich, some water, and a really delicious choc-chip cookie. Exablox gave each of us an Exablox-branded aluminium water bottle. We then had happy hour at Exablox. I had two Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale beers (“tastes like freedom”) and some really nice cheese. To finish off we had dinner at Mexicali in Santa Clara. I had a prawn burrito. I didn’t eat anything on the flight home.

 

Conclusion

I’d like to extend my thanks once again to the Tech Field Day organisers and the companies presenting at the event. I had a super enjoyable and educational time. Here’s a photo.

SFD10_disclosure1

 

Storage Field Day 10 – Day 0

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 10.  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.

SFD-Logo2-150x150

This is just a quick post to share some thoughts on day zero at Storage Field Day 10. I can do crappy tourist snaps as well if not better than the next guy. Here’s the obligatory wing shot. No wait here’s two – one leaving SYD and the other coming in to SFO. Bet you can’t guess which is which.

SFD10_plane1     SFD10_plane2

We all got together for dinner on Tuesday night in the hotel. I had the pizza. It was great.

SFD10_Food

But enough with the holiday snaps and underwhelming travel journal. Thanks again Stephen, Tom, Claire and Megan for having me back, making sure everything is running according to plan and for just being really very decent people. I’ve really enjoyed catching up with the people I’ve met before and meeting the new delegates. Look out for some posts related to the Tech Field Day sessions in the next few weeks. And if you’re in a useful timezone, check out the live streams from the event here, or the recordings afterwards.

Here’s the rough schedule (all times are ‘Merican Pacific).

Wednesday, May 25 9:30 – 11:30 Kaminario Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Wednesday, May 25 12:30 – 14:30 Primary Data Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Wednesday, May 25 15:00 – 17:00 Cloudian Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 9:30 – 11:30 Pure Storage Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 13:00 – 15:00 Datera Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Thursday, May 26 16:00 – 18:00 Tintri Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 8:00 – 10:00 Nimble Storage Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 10:30 – 12:30 Hedvig Presents at Storage Field Day 10
Friday, May 27 13:30 – 15:30 Exablox Presents at Storage Field Day 10

You can also follow along with the live stream here.