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Buyer's Guide
HCI
September 2022
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Brendan - PeerSpot reviewer
Technology Manager at Tryon International Equestrian Center
User
Top 10
Easy to set up with excellent technical support and great high availability
Pros and Cons
  • "The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful."
  • "If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM."

What is our primary use case?

We use the StarWind HCA as the main solution for hosting all of our core VMs. 

We have about 20 Microsoft and Linux VMs that we are running on Hyper-V on the StarWind HCA. 

Our HCA is made up of two Dell servers running the StarWind VSAN software. The VMs that we have are mainly made up of general-purpose servers with a few other custom-use servers thrown in. 

We also use the HCA to host both of our domain controllers, although we don't have them in the cluster, they are still on the appliance. 

How has it helped my organization?

Having high availability has definitely improved the reliability of our infrastructure and made server maintenance much easier, which is a significant improvement for the organization. 

The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful. 

The reliability of the VSAN software has also been a big improvement in our infrastructure. 

The quality of support from StarWind has probably been the biggest improvement though as we went from having a relatively low level of support with our previous solution to having a truly top-tier support team at our disposal.

What is most valuable?

High availability with only two nodes has really been enormously valuable to us. Our infrastructure is relatively small and we really didn't need more than two nodes, however, for many reasons, we really needed to have high availability. Being able to accomplish that without extra hardware was huge. 

The ability to use whatever hypervisor that we wanted has also been very valuable to us. We were able to switch over to Hyper-V from VMWare and save on the licensing costs that we previously had with VMWare.

What needs improvement?

I really don't say this very much, however, I actually don't have many issues with this product. However, if I had to think of something, some people might not like the fact that a lot of the engineers tend to have relatively thick eastern European accents, and that might be an issue for some folks. 

If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM. It's not really a big deal, however, that would be a good addition.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for about six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. I haven't had any issues at all. It's one of my favorite things about this solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is extremely scalable.

How are customer service and support?

Their customer service and support are top-notch. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous solution was very old and not really a good comparison. 

We switched due to the fact that the hardware needed to be refreshed and we needed high availability.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was extremely easy and their support team was assisting through the whole process.

What about the implementation team?

It was implemented through their support team and their level of expertise was extremely high.

What was our ROI?

We've seen an ROI of 100% to 150%

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The setup cost and support contract was significantly cheaper with StarWind than with any of the other options that I evaluated.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered just buying new server hardware and staying with VMware. We also evaluated Scale and Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

I really can't recommend them enough. 

Their VSAN software is excellent. The ability to get a highly available setup with just two nodes is fantastic. Their support is top-notch, and from a cost perspective, they blew everybody else out of the water. Give them a call; you won't be sorry!

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Justin Graves - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Supervisor at Area Agency on Aging Region 9, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Cost-effective with top-tier support and offers a highly available environment
Pros and Cons
  • "They offer top-tier support."
  • "Currently, the StarWind management console is a bit clunky to navigate and isn't the most user-intuitive interface."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution to create a highly available server cluster. 

I currently have two physical servers running 25 virtual machines in a highly available cluster. StarWind Virtual SAN enables this without any extra hardware and any kind of hardware vendor locking. 

We use the vSAN product to run a production cluster but also a secondary cluster that houses low-level and testing servers. StarWind vSAN is used to cluster everything together into a solid hyper-converged structure that requires less hardware, less energy, and far less maintenance.

How has it helped my organization?

I have been able to do more with less hardware. StarWind vSAN allows us to create a hyper-converged server cluster on a friendly budget without being locked into a specific hardware vendor. 

The product, server, and support are top tier. Their proactive support is on top of every little anomaly in the vSAN. The product is fairly simple to get running and operates with little overhead. 

It makes setting up a high available environment easy and very manageable. Everyone from sales to support are very engaged and proud of the product.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspects are the support and the high availability.

They offer top-tier support. The support staff is knowledgeable and very willing to help. The proactive support option is unlike any support I've ever dealt with. If anything gets out of sorts, the team is on top of it with an email.

Achieving a highly available environment can be hard to execute and lead to a hardware vendor lockin. StarWind is hardware agnostic and supports as few as two hosts to create a fully functional, hyper-converged, highly available server cluster at a fraction of the cost of other vendors.

What needs improvement?

A good area of improvement would be at the level at which StarWind vSAN is managed. Currently, the StarWind management console is a bit clunky to navigate and isn't the most user intuitive interface. It gets the job done, however, following guides and documentation is highly advised to make sure things are being set up correctly. 

Another area of improvement would be the ability to manage your entire setup using StarWind software. Hyper-V, for example, still needs to be managed using a manager and failover cluster. Combining these into the StarWind product would be a game changer.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. It's been running for five years with nearly no problems in the software itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can start with just two nodes and scale from there. It's very helpful.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support is A+.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a different solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. The support helps with the initial setup. I had to rebuild a cluster once and support also assisted with that process.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the setup in-house with the manufacturer.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The product offers a very straightforward cost model versus its competitors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did also evaluate VMware, Nutanix, and Scale.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Pramod Nandgoule - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Project Manager at United Conveyor Corporation
Real User
Top 10
A stable and stable solution which is easy to set up and allows for real-time hardware changes
Pros and Cons
  • "A great feature involves real-time hardware changes."
  • "USB dongle-based licenses do not allow us to directly locate the USB ports on Nutanix."

What is our primary use case?

The solution allows us to make use of high IOPS requirements.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to go with a traditional architecture, storage and server. Now, with Nutanix, we have 30,000 IOPS, up from 1,000. 

What is most valuable?

A great feature involves real-time hardware changes. There is no need to shut down any VM during the hardware changes.

What needs improvement?

The solution does not lend support when we connect with a few dongle licenses. There is a need to make use of certain third-party USB switches through which we can have USB access. USB dongle-based licenses do not allow us to directly locate the USB ports on Nutanix. Other than this, I have no complaints.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Nutanix Acropolis AOS for the last four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is certainly stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. 

How are customer service and support?

I do not recall contacting Nutanix's support within the past four years. Nutanix sends us daily alerts and messages. A year-and-a-half ago I encountered a RAM failure, but there was no need for me to log a case with Nutanix, as the call was automatically logged and an engineer was sent to deal with the problem. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously made use of Scale Computing and HPE SimpliVity.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quick. Previously, the operations involved three days of downtime but, with the solution, the initial migration from traditional architecture to Nutanix lasted three hours, instead of three days. It was so much quicker. 

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation on our own. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is quite good in comparison with HPE SimpliVity, Nutanix Scale, and even traditional architecture. We found Nutanix's pricing to be the best. We did not incur license fees as we did with HPE Simplivity's VMware licenses, so this kept the costs down. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate Nutanix Acropolis AOS as a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
HCI
September 2022
Get our free report covering Nutanix, VMware, Dell Technologies, and other competitors of Scale Computing HC3. Updated: September 2022.
632,539 professionals have used our research since 2012.