Apr 17, 2024

Revving the Invention Engine to 50: A VAST Patent Milestone

Revving the Invention Engine to 50: A VAST Patent Milestone

Posted by

Asaf Levy, Chief Architect

I couldn’t be prouder to announce that VAST has officially reached a significant milestone of 50 granted patents, with many more pending. It’s a remarkable milestone for our company and a testament to the brilliant minds and innovative spirit that have propelled us to become the data platform for the AI era. 

When we founded VAST eight years ago in a small, smelly apartment in Herzliya, we did not envision achieving this inventive output so quickly. Nonetheless, our progress is indicative of how relentlessly we’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in data infrastructure and architecture.

The Early Days: Quality Over Quantity

In the early years of VAST, pursuing patents wasn’t a huge focus. We had a tiny team and were laser-focused on bringing our vision to life. There was no in-house patent attorney, so we only had the bandwidth to submit our most novel, compelling ideas. I remember long nights with our external lawyer crafting those initial filings, including several that explained the fundamental concepts behind our DASE (Disaggregated Shared Everything) architecture. We even hand-drew the system diagrams - some of which I’m thrilled to say are now powering data ecosystems at an exabyte scale for the world’s leading enterprises.


The concept behind our Scalable storage system patent, which is foundational to DASE

Building a Systematic Approach

As VAST grew, so did our patent portfolio. A key inflection point was when Orna Yarkoni joined VAST as Head of Patents a few years ago and helped us implement a systematic process for surfacing and protecting our IP. Now, during the development of each major release, we review as a team to identify the true inventions - the ideas that are genuinely novel and meaningfully advance the industry.

It’s still about quality over quantity. We never want to pursue these inventions solely to build a war chest. I’m proud that at VAST, we have never once filed a patent to attack or copy a competitor, and we never will. We aim to win by building the best product and consistently out-innovating the field.

Inventions Chronicle VAST’s Evolution

When I look back at our innovation journey, I’m struck by how closely it chronicles the evolution of VAST itself. So many patents trigger vivid memories of our early technical challenges and the creative breakthroughs that followed. One that stands out is “Transaction Manager”. This was truly a team effort to design an unprecedented approach to delivering advanced transactions in VAST’s platform. It’s a key differentiator for us to this day. Another favorite is erasure coding in distributed storage systems, which covers our pioneering methods for multi-layer erasure coding. It’s humbling to think that foundational elements of our original designs, captured in these inventions, now empower the data infrastructure for the AI era.

From Architecture to Features

Beyond the core system architecture, our patent portfolio reads like the greatest hits of VAST’s feature expansion over the years - showcasing major innovations in snapshots, data reduction, replication, and, more recently, databases. It’s remarkable to chart our progress from that first humble set of filings to today’s robust library spanning the entire spectrum of technologies required to manage and serve massive unstructured data sets at hyperscale.


Delivering Real-World Impact

Of course, the ultimate validation of our inventions comes from our customers. Organizations are adopting the VAST Data Platform at an astounding rate because we uniquely enable them to use their data to power AI/ML use cases, accelerate scientific breakthroughs, and drive business transformation.

Nothing makes me prouder than seeing our invention engine translate into real-world impact. From autonomous vehicles to drug discovery to mapping the human brain, VAST is the data science backbone for the most ambitious initiatives of our time.

The Best is Yet to Come

As incredible as this milestone is, it feels like we’re just starting. Based on our current pipeline, our portfolio will keep growing aggressively in the years ahead. VAST’s most valuable invention may be part of a patent that hasn’t been filed yet!

Our team is “heads down,” working on the next wave of breakthroughs to help customers harness the coming data tsunami. While I can’t share specifics just yet, we’re taking a blank slate approach and thinking far beyond the constraints of legacy systems to design the data platform of the future.

A Heartfelt Thank You

I want to express my profound appreciation for the rock star VAST engineering team. These inventions are a byproduct of their ingenuity, grit, and customer obsession. Incredibly, the same hand-drawn ideas from our tiny apartment years ago are now the lifeblood of a company worth over $9 billion and a product that powers the world’s most important data. I can’t wait to see the following chapters in VAST’s innovation story unfold. Here’s to the next 50 inventions - and beyond!

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