A recent Gartner report I read makes some solid points about the need to go beyond just the technical when evaluating storage solutions. Over the next 10 years, Gartner argues, non-technology criteria—beyond the down in the weeds speeds and feeds—will be at least as important as the technical capabilities when choosing the most appropriate storage product for your organization. The report focuses on the need to evaluate new storage products against what they call “The Five S’s” of storage:
Savings: Can the solution improve the cost structure/TCO, especially at full deployment and over the solution life cycle?
Simplicity: Can the solution be deployed and administered,upgraded and migrated with a reasonable amount of effort and knowledge?
Support: Can the provider’s customer support meet requirements and support all necessary geographies?
Sustainability: Is the solution extensible enough to meet not only today’s requirements but also those you anticipate in the next three to (ideally) five years?
Synthesis: Can the solution support and participate in the broader environment and required ecosystem(s), such as application, hypervisor, backup and archiving interactions, as well as a cloud deployment model?
These five criteria are helpful in seeing the real and long-lasting value of a software-defined storage solution. When making the business case for software-defined storage, it’s important to ensure your scope of evaluation includes all of the above five areas versus just the usual CapEx and OpEx categories.
What about Hedvig?
How does the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform stack up against these Five S’s of storage? Let's have a look.
Savings: Overall, this one is the bread-and-butter of software-defined storage. One of our sales guys not long ago prepared a financial model for a major European service provider showing that Hedvig was 55 percent less expensive than the traditional storage approach, and that was just for the infrastructure itself! Add in operational savings and you’re easily getting to a 70 percent plus lower TCO.
Simplicity: This criterion has two prongs for us. First, rather obviously, our storage solution should be easy to use—and it is. Because of his background at Amazon, our CEO, Avinash Lakshman, had a vision that modern storage for the enterprise should be as easy to use as AWS. With Hedvig, yes, there is a tremendous amount of complexity, but the good news is that it’s all under the hood. Our software paired with commodity server nodes brings cloud-like simplicity into the private data center. The bar we originally set was that the platform should be just as easy for a developer, a server admin, or virtualization admin to use as it is for a storage admin. Second on the simplicity front, we help eliminate one of the less-obvious complexities of storage management: the need for hardware refreshes and data migration every three to five years. It can easily take weeks to migrate data from the old infrastructure to the new, not to mention the process is inherently error prone. With Hedvig, all you do is just keep adding and swapping out servers over time while keeping the same software. You decommission the old infrastructure, install the new, and the software simply rebalances your data among the new servers. No more forklift upgrades.
Support: There is, to be sure, the easy answer—that we’re a startup and software-defined storage is all we do, so of course you’ll get 100 percent of our attention. In building our team, we have drawn on industry veterans and highly skilled support engineers to respond to customer needs. But just as critical to the support equation is the fact that we embrace the design principles of modern distributed systems—what Avinash calls “design for failure.” Hedvig software is designed with the assumption that hardware components will fail. We have made our software smart enough to recognize failure, respond accordingly to protect both data and data access, and not go down. There’s actually support avoidance built into the entire concept of our storage architecture.
Sustainability: What Gartner is really talking about here is extensibility. One of Hedvig’s biggest strengths is the breadth of environments we support: every hypervisor as well as bare metal, Docker and OpenStack. It’s rare to see a storage product that can work with all these different environments. Looked at another way, the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform is actually an appreciating asset rather than a depreciating one because you keep the software as you replace the hardware. We will keep adding features to support customer requirements. Another extensibility advantage is that customers can expect to gain improved performance over time. Not only will the underlying hardware added to the platform become more powerful and efficient over time, the bigger a distributed system gets, the better it performs because it is parallelizing functions and distributing data to take advantage of the aggregate horsepower of the server cluster.
Synthesis: In addition to supporting just about any compute, OS, hypervisor, container, and cloud technology out there with all flavors of storage interconnect, what also sets us apart from other storage systems is our policy management. When you provision storage inside our system, the Hedvig Distributed Storage platform allows you to set unique policies at a very granular level. This means that every app, every virtual machine, every container—whatever unit of value you care about—can have its own storage. We have multiple features like dedupe, compression, caching, and pin-to-flash that can be individually toggled on or off, making Hedvig truly application centric.
As I said above, most organizations evaluate storage products using only cost and simplicity (CapEX and OpEx) factors. But if you broaden your criteria to these five additional points, you will start to see the greater value and performance that software-defined storage—and Hedvig—can provide your enterprise as you scale and grow your business. Want to see for yourself how we can transform storage in support of your business? Click below.