Software from California-based start-up wins out against the public cloud
Hedvig, the company which aspires to re-architect software-defined storage, has been chosen by Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB), the world’s leading supplier of iron ore to the global steel industry, to provide it with a distrobuted storage platform.
The industrial giant wanted to transform how it stores and manages backup data. In an industry faced with significant challenges and opportunities, LKAB’s choice of Hedvig means, it beleives, lower, more predictable costs for its data storage hardware, software, and support.
Supporting heavy industry with storage
“We looked at other software-defined solutions and found either that they encountered serious issues working in our environment, or that the vendors weren’t really committed to the product,” said Christoffer Niemi, IT architect at LKAB. The company also evaluated public cloud storage and determined it to be a costlier solution.
“Hedvig’s product is easy to use and can grow with us. We just replace or add servers as we extend capacity and update the system.Hedvig’s approach is more predictable and leverages our investment in Cisco, which means a more predictable cost,” added Niemi.
LKAB relies on analysis of historical data to determine future mining operations, permanently storing data collected from a wide range of applications.
A need for speed
Ordering and installing additional storage could previously take weeks, and each time the company met the limitations of a current solution, it faced a forklift upgrade of both hardware and software that was unnecessarily expensive and resource-intensive.
Confronted with these challenges, LKAB worked with Layer 8 IT-Services to identify and implement the Hedvig solution. This enabled LKAB to keep pace with changing business requirements and eliminate storage acquisition, provisioning and growth pains.
“LKAB was ready to adopt a software approach to storage, and we identified that Hedvig could deliver a more flexible and cost-effective infrastructure,” said Johan Tungström, CEO of Layer 8. “We worked closely with Hedvig to test and implement the solution, and LKAB has not only improved current operations, but is better equipped to manage future growth.”
LKAB Drilling operation
Hedvig’s software works with LKAB’s existing Cisco UCS hardware, presenting a large deduplicated storage target to backup servers and clients in the environment. LKAB has configured the software to replicate data between racks in a single data center as well as to a secondary site for disaster recovery protection. The company expects to host more than 500TB of data on the Hedvig platform and has additional data and application use cases on the roadmap.
How it works
Hedvig’s storage platform works on the principles of virtual disks which are provisioned for use by applications. Each virtual disk can be configured for replication and compression - they can also be used as flash disks if flash performance is required. “You are almost creating flash in software - although the quality of the underlying hardware determines the performance,” explained Rob Whiteley, VP of Marketing at Hedvig.
The Hedvig platform uses inline deduplication algorithms, compression and snapshots of the data which take place regularly. If a node goes down, the other servers work together to rebuild it using the three copies of the data stored across other servers. A 4TB hard disk lost on a node can be reconstructed in 20 minutes, according to the start-up.