New encryption, improved flash support highlight Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform 3.0

The new Hedvig software also adds new plug-ins for Veritas and Red Hat, and enhances an existing one for VMware.

Rob Whiteley, Hedvig’s Vice President Marketing

Santa Clara-based Hedvig has released the 3.0 version of their software-defined Distributed Storage Platform. A brand new addition is Encrypt360, a software-only encryption solution. Their FlashFabric flash caching has been enhanced with more advanced auto-tiering and read cache capabilities. Finally, they have enhanced their integrations, with new ones for Veritas OST and Red Hat, and an enhanced one for VMware.

Hedvig’s technology uses multi-protocol support to collapse disparate tiers of storage, and unify block, file, and object interfaces in a single platform, so the data can be allocated easily by workload-optimized servers. At HPE Discover in June, Hedvig announced that a joint solution with HPE was now available through the HPE Complete program which supports young companies who partner with HPE. It has already had a massive impact on their business.

“Our joint solution with HPE is already 50 per cent of our pipeline,” said Rob Whiteley, Hedvig’s Vice President Marketing. “In a very short period of time, we have benefited from their presence in the market and our presence in their portfolio. A lot of HPE customers are NOT earlier adopters, so they require the brand strength of an HPE to make something like us acceptable to them.”

The 3.0 release is designed to continue this momentum and keep apace with the fast-moving changes in customer requirements for the platform.

“Increasingly, customers are defaulting to all-flash datacentres,” Whiteley said. “There is lots of all-flash but it tends to be sold as an appliance, whereas we are software-only. While that helps us, there is still great pressure to innovate there. Compliance and regulatory requirements are also bubbling to the top of a lot of customer considerations. They are asking about more security capabilities, so we responded to that as well.”

Encrypt 360 responds to these cybersecurity concerns, and is something new for Hedvig.

“This is all net-new,” Whiteley said. “We haven’t talked much about security in the past. Compliance-oriented buyers require encryption. Most storage solutions – including us before – recommend self encrypting drives. Customers told us that those completely change the economics. They also wanted more fine-grained controls.”

Hedvig Encrypt360 is native to the platform, so requires no special hardware to make it work.

“It has two components, a back-end which makes up the core cluster, and is really the heart and soul, and the proxy, which is near the host,” Whiteley said. “The proxy does the encryption. Doing it at the host ensures that traffic headed down is automatically encrypted. Most storage solutions don’t have anything running at the host level. This lets us ensure that data is always protected, whether in-use, in-flight or at-rest. There’s no point in the lifecycle of the data where it is not encrypted.”

“It does this using AES encryption libraries that are commonly available,” said Eric Carter, Hedvig’s Senior Director of Marketing.

Whiteley said that Hedvig does not ship a key management solution natively themselves.

“We support other key management systems, including AWS,” he said. “AWS is an extensible system, and can easily plug into others the customer wants.”

Encrypt 360 does provide advanced audit logging for compliance, with deep metrics and usage monitoring statistics.

“If you want, you can turn the encryption on on a case-by-case basis,” Whiteley said. “There is about a 10 per cent performance hit, but that is linear, so won’t scale up.”

Hedvig FlashFabric is a suite of flash caching technologies that optimize performance in Hedvig clusters.

“It makes sure that the software is highly-optimized for flash,” Whiteley indicated. “We’ve always supported flash, but with 3.0 we have gone further to optimize it for all-flash. This is because, with the uptake of NVMe, we are seeing customers creating different configurations of all-flash, with some NVMe and some ‘lesser’ forms of flash.”

The addition of more advanced auto-tiering and read cache capabilities to FlashFabric makes it easier for the suite to properly utilize NVMe and other flash innovations like 3D Xpoint, automatically consuming resources and optimizing performance of commodity servers based on application needs.

“It can be configured on servers in your own datacentre or in the public cloud,” Whiteley said.

The plug-ins, both new and improved, add to Hedvig’s existing Docker and OpenStack CloudScale plug-ins.

The new Veritas OpenStorage Technology (OST) plugin allows Veritas NetBackup customers to seamlessly make Hedvig a deduplicating backup target

“This was driven by customer requests,” Whiteley said. “The OST plug-in makes us a more elegant solution for NetBackup.”

Red Hat has certified Hedvig Storage Proxy containers running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux for customer production use, and published it in the Red Hat Container Catalog.

“This certifies us as a container for the Red Hat version of Enterprise Linux and their version of Docker and Kubernetes,” Whiteley said. “It also ensures Hedvig interoperability with OpenShift. Even though few are using these today, increasingly the Docker of choice is through OpenShift, so this is important to us.”

The enhancement of the VMware plugin adds new backup capabilities to VMware vSphere Web Client. It also certifies Hedvig as VMware-ready storage certified.

“We have had a VMware plug-in for over a year,” Whiteley said. “Getting the VMware Ready status is a checkbox, but the new backup capabilities will let us better take advantage of the VMware efficiencies, and provide much better performance.”