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Introducing Hedvig: A Distributed Storage Platform

Avinash Lakshman is the developer behind Facebook’s Cassandra database. For those who don’t know, this is a technology that he invented at Facebook that allows for searching huge amounts of data. It’s called a noSQL database and can run on low-cost servers and isn’t limited to particular types of data. It has been taken up by companies like eBay, Twitter, Apple and Wikimedia.

Cassandra is software that allows companies to store data that is distributed across many different systems. If one individual server goes down, the impact on the whole application is negligible. That solves one problem, but there’s still an issue with servers not being as flexible. When hard drives have to be added to servers it isn’t as simple as just plugging them in.

Instead, huge amounts of planning and foresight have to go into adjusting the structure of a server. This is why typical companies will only update their storage every couple of years, sometimes every five years, because it isn’t efficient to keep adjusting. However, when the amount of data being stored is growing exponentially, that’s becoming an issue.

Lakshman has now departed Facebook and created his own start-up, a storage company called Hedvig, and he hopes to solve that issue. The company’s strapline is that it offers “modern storage for modern business”. It offers a software-defined approach to storage to any enterprise or cloud provider; an elastic storage structure that adapts to the demands.

The company has so far raised $12.5 million in investment as it works its way towards the ultimate aim of helping every company keep hold of all the masses of data that they generate. This funding was raised by Atlantic Bridge Capital, with participation from True Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

“At Facebook, everything was going good for me, but I knew what it was I wanted to do,” said Lakshman.

This software-designed storage is clever because it allows the addition of storage to a system without the hassle. The Hedvig software applies on top of existing storage and it pools all of your storage together and dynamically rearranges it to adapt to ever-changing needs.

Lakshman acknowledges that current storage platforms worked well at the time, but now the industry is changing and so are the demands that come with it. His solution may sound simple, but in practice it was actually very complicated to design. Lakshman certified himself in some of the old storage platforms just to be able to better understand the issues at hand. It’s his belief that you have to understand the past in order to understand the future.

Hedvig is the name because it doesn’t actually relate to what the company does. However, it was born out of the definition that it stands for Hyperscale Elastic Distributed Virtual Integral Granular, which were qualities that the product was created around.

For more information about Hedvig and to check out the software (along with its simple and clean user interface) in action by requesting a demo, be sure to visit the company’s official website.


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