Software-defined storage startup Hedvig Inc. secured another $21.5 million in funding to create new bundled hardware and software component options, expand into the Asia-Pacific region, and add engineering, sales and channel resources.
Leading the Series C funding round were new investments from Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Pathfinder venture arm and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board. Hedvig also received contributions from existing Silicon Valley-based investors Atlantic Bridge Ventures, True Ventures and Vertex Ventures.
Milan Shetti, CTO of HPE’s data center infrastructure group, will serve as a technical advisor to Hedvig. He wrote in an email, “Hedvig’s mission of improving the economics of storing and managing the world’s data is directly aligned with our strategy, and we look forward to working with the Hedvig team as it continues to shape hybrid IT.”
HPE’s relationship with Hedvig goes beyond funding. Hedvig plans to offer a bundled version of its software with HPE servers, according to Rob Whiteley, vice president of marketing at Hedvig.
The new financing boosted the Santa Clara, Calif., vendor’s total to $52 million since June 2012.
“We’ve taken a fairly conservative approach to raising capital. We wanted to make sure that we got our initial set of customers and waited for the software-defined storage market to mature before we really went aggressively after the market,” Whiteley said.
Hedvig sees Docker interest rising
The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform can run on commodity hardware and pool server-based storage across multiple sites, on premises and in the cloud. The API-driven product supports block, file and object storage. Most customers implement the Hedvig storage management software as a complement to the all-flash tier they use for their most mission-critical data, according to Whiteley.
He said Hedvig would use the latest cash infusion to create “end-to-end solutions” that more tightly bundle hardware, orchestration tools and software components such as Docker containers.
Whiteley said Hedvig has seen considerable interest in Docker and wants to ease procurement for customers. Hedvig joined the new Docker certification program, and its Docker Volume plugin is now available in the Docker store.
“We might take Docker Datacenter, which includes all of their software suite, our software and HPE hardware, to create an end-to-end Docker solution, as an example,” Whiteley said.
Whitely said the HPE bundle partnership spawned from Hedvig’s financial service customers that were HPE server shops. He said they were asking Hedvig to put its software on HPE server hardware.
The Hedvig storage management software is certified to run on commodity server hardware from Cisco, Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Quanta and Super Micro. But Whiteley said certification merely signals the software is compatible with the hardware. He said Hedvig has yet to offer pre-integrated, pre-tested bundles such as the one it plans with HPE.
“Mid-enterprise” companies of between 1,000 and 5,000 employees tend to want a “hardware/software bundle,” Whiteley said, whereas financial service companies and service providers are more comfortable procuring their own hardware.
So far, Hedvig has taken a “meet in the channel” approach, where the channel partner bundled the hardware and software for the customer, Whiteley said.
The new Hedvig-HPE bundle could be sold through HPE’s direct sales force or partner ecosystem, and through Hedvig’s direct sales force or channel, according to Whiteley. He said Hedvig’s channel partners currently account for approximately 80% of sales, and the company’s direct sales force handles about 20%.
Whitley said Hedvig currently has about 50 customers, and top verticals are financial services, service providers, manufacturing and retail. He said the average deployment in 2016 was about 750 TB, with the largest deployment at about 3 PB. Whiteley said some customers have started as small as 25 TB.
To date, the vendor has operated only in North America Asia-Pacific market. Working with Singapore-based EDBI should help as Hedvig sets up operations, he said.
Hedvig plans to ramp up its engineering, sales and channel teams across all three regions. Whiteley said the company currently has 50 retail channel partners but hopes to boost the number of resellers, system integrators and distributors to at least 100 by year’s end.