What it takes to be a company that drives a market transformation
It’s not often you get to join one, let alone two, industry disruptors in your career. I was part of one such company in the 1990s, EMC, and I’m fortunate to be a member of another today: Hedvig.
With the release of its groundbreaking Symmetrix Integrated Cached Disk Array in 1990, EMC helped usher in the age of mainstream RAID arrays and the demise of mainframe DASD in the enterprise. Storage has come a long way since then and is now shifting into the software-defined era. Companies old and new are offering software-defined storage solutions, and I’m convinced that Hedvig is not only part of this market transformation, but is at the epicenter playing an integral role to drive it.
Today, with the advent of 4TB and 8TB drives, RAID will simply no longer work. Repairs would be measured in days, making it impossible for companies to achieve their uptime requirements. That’s one of the reasons why a distributed systems approach is needed, where RAID isn’t even part of the equation. Instead, clusters are self-healing and actually heal faster as the cluster gets bigger.
This is an example of why, based on what I’ve seen in storage over the years, Hedvig is taking the right approach from a business and technology perspective to help overcome traditional limitations (like RAID). With Hedvig, enterprises can now make their storage environments lightweight to manage and affordable to maintain. Here’s how:
- We’re combining the right technologies to enable companies to consume storage in any way. Established storage vendors routinely add a few new features to a legacy architecture and call it revolutionary. However, if you talk to most any storage admin, they’ll tell you that they’ve only been able to buy incremental improvements over the past 10 years – and ones that can’t keep up with mounting data center complexity. But I can promise you what we are doing at Hedvig is far from incremental.
We are fanatical about listening to our customers. The road to industry disruption and leadership is littered with companies that failed to understand their customers’ feedback. We keep our finger on the pulse of our customers’ needs by thoroughly discussing their business challenges and requirements. Once we understand what a customer wants, we mobilize immediately. Just recently a customer mentioned a desired customization for the Hedvig platform, and we had the feature up and running the next morning. This kind of ultra-rapid development is a critical strategic principle for driving storage (or any industry) into its next generation.
- We make tough decisions about the people who join our team. Hedvig has a rigorous hiring process where candidates interview with several members of our team and complete a series of technological problem-solving exercises in data structure, algorithms and programming. If candidates talk about wanting to do things “the way they’ve always done them,” we move on. This process has led us to create a team of engineers who are part scientist, part artist, part wizard and all strategist, constantly in lockstep with what matters to customers. Hedvig understands that brilliance must have business value, and our team knows how to funnel innovation into tangible, meaningful technology.
Our mission is to deliver a platform that encompasses the capabilities enterprises want and need to achieve simplicity, flexibility, stability and performance throughout their entire storage environment. I’m confident that Hedvig is on the path to helping create the future of software-defined storage. Given the fact that Hedvig is still in stealth mode I’m a bit forced to stay high level at this point. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s coming in storage, we’re happy to chat anytime.