Brendan - PeerSpot reviewer
Technology Manager at Tryon International Equestrian Center
User
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.

Buyer's Guide
StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
March 2024
Learn what your peers think about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: March 2024.
767,077 professionals have used our research since 2012.

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.
PeerSpot user
CEO CIO at Store & Haul Inc
Real User
High-availability should prevent any downtime and the costs associated with it
Pros and Cons
  • "High-availability is what I bought it for."
  • "The only thing I have run into is that I did want to add more hard drives into the host, so that we could look at doing a RAID 10, and the hard drive prices were pretty expensive... that's pretty nit-picky and I don't think it has anything to do with StarWind itself. I think it's more on whomever they work with for their hardware."

What is our primary use case?

I wanted something for high-availability. We're a logistics company and we have guys working 24/7, to some degree. I needed a solution that was going to provide high-availability. 

It's all on-prem. It's the two-node, high-availability model.

How has it helped my organization?

We're getting close to 50 trucks and growing pretty quickly. We have guys out on the road all the time and this system we're putting in place is going to track all of that in the greatest of detail. If anything happens with a load, it's all being communicated back through the system. That includes dispatching the drivers, monitoring the drivers as they're hauling the load, tracking when they arrive at their destinations. All that is done through the system. Any time that it goes down for an extended period of time is a time that we have to operate on paper. As of now, we are familiar with doing that, and we probably will continue to have a backup plan, but it's not nearly as efficient. Someone is going to have to go back and enter the data in later. That could potentially lead to disruption where wrong information goes to the driver, causing delivery of a load to the wrong location or at the wrong time.

It's too early to say whether or not this solution will save our company money. Right now, I very much think it's going to. Even if I were to have one substantial instance of downtime - if I were to just build it out on a regular host and the host went down and I had to spin up another host and bring up backups, etc. That downtime, right there, would be significant money lost. I'm pretty sure that it will save money but I can't say that it's 100 percent sure since we haven't been through that scenario yet.

What is most valuable?

High-availability is what I bought it for.

The hardware footprint size is good. They use Dell EMC boxes for the appliances. They're pretty standard for the industry, as far as servers go. I think they're good.

What needs improvement?

This is just being nit-picky but the only thing I have run into is that I did want to add more hard drives into the host, so that we could look at doing a RAID 10, and the hard drive prices were pretty expensive. I think they're just getting pricing straight from whoever supplies their hardware. They do have the Dell EMC guarantee where, if you have hardware that goes out, you will have a replacement there by the next day. So if one of my drives goes out they'll have a new one to me by the next day.

But I compared the price of one hard drive - I can't remember what size it was - and the cost was about $700. I could buy one like that from a Best Buy for $100. Obviously one is enterprise-level and one is just a personal-user-type of drive. They're not apples to apples but the price difference was still pretty significant. I was expecting more like a $300 or $400 difference.

Again, that's pretty nit-picky and I don't think it has anything to do with StarWind itself. I think it's more on whomever they work with for their hardware.

For how long have I used the solution?

It was installed about four or five months ago. I put it in place for a large transportation management system and I'm only now in the process of doing all the installs for it. I'm bringing up all the servers on their appliances. So I haven't used it at all for production yet. I've done about two months of installation and testing.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

They're doing a great job. I do want to benchmark this and see how well it's going to do. I'm going to hit it with heavy loads and find ways to really stress-test it more.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It seems very scalable. Obviously, my host only holds up so many drives but I can expand there. I can add a third, fourth, fifth, sixth node onto the end of the cluster if I want to. I don't know if there's a max to it. I didn't ask because in the next 20 years I don't see us hitting four hosts or five hosts of that size. From everything I can see, the scalability is good.

I have one physical box that runs my domain controller and all our other VMs are on the StarWind appliance, except, perhaps the secondary domain controller which might not be in the cluster. But every other VM we have is in the cluster. So about 95 percent of our servers are on their host and I would probably continue forward with that in the future. If we outgrew these boxes, I would just throw another one into the cluster. I would definitely go forward with StarWind as long as the benchmarking works out and things continue to go like they have been. I would continue to expand our environment with them.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their customer support has been pretty good. They've done a really good job of supporting the product and even helping me with some things that weren't directly related to the product that I was doing on the host. They helped me get some different things configured.

I am familiar with the ProActive Premium Support feature. They talked to me about it but I haven't used it or gone ahead with it yet. It is something I am still considering. The way they sold it to me was that it supports stuff outside of things relating to the high-availability cluster itself. It's almost like consulting services in a way, where they'll help you with other things like domain controllers and keeping your servers up to date and that kind of stuff. I'm the CEO here but I act as the main IT person as well. I try to build everything out so I have very little hands-on. So for some of that kind of service I'm probably going to either hire someone cheaper to do updates, an onsite person, or go with a service like that where they maintain things and update the servers, because it's time-consuming.

StarWind's support plan was very reasonable. But the support that came with the host was actually very good. They're very responsive and I've dealt with numerous people from StarWind. I don't have issues with it at all because I have many friends who have very heavy accents, but some of them have heavy accents which, once in a while, makes it a little bit hard to understand them. But they're all super-knowledgeable on the product. They're all very smart and well-trained. I have been impressed with their customer service across the board.

They always respond very quickly when I send an email. They have support that monitors the boxes. If I'm doing something where I take a box down, they're proactively emailing me: "Oh, do you know your box just went down?" Most of the time it's been on purpose, because I'm doing so much work on the boxes, but they're very proactive at monitoring things for you.

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

We didn't have a previous solution. This TMW system, deploying it, is the first that I've had. It's my first attempt at streamlining everything from a systems perspective. I had some physical servers that I was using for different things, like a QuickBooks Server and print server, a domain controller, and some basic things like that. I didn't have anything that was high-availability.

StarWind was one that in my research had come up again and again. It was like, "Hey, look at these guys and what they're doing, and their pricing is reasonable for a mid-sized to small business." I found them in several different forums at several places and decided to give them a call. I was really impressed with everything that I'd seen from them.

How was the initial setup?

High-availability is a little bit complex in general. They made it as easy as it could be. I worked with their tech support and they walked me through everything. I felt that it was pretty simple, overall.

Technically, in terms of the deployment, we got the two hosts in, racked them, got them hooked up to the network. That took a couple of days. Then they came on. They had Windows Server 2016 already installed on both boxes, so I activated the data center version. From there, I got on the phone with them and they walked me through the rest of it. That took a couple of hours for configuring stuff and making sure everything was good. From their side, it was pretty quick. The boxes arrived pretty quickly after I ordered them. Overall, it was pretty fast. It didn't take long to get them going.

From there, I had to build out my VMs on top of the host and do all the installs for the software product that we're putting together.

In terms of deployment and maintenance, it's just one person. I'm the only one doing it right now.

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

I honestly feel that there's no one else in the market doing what they're doing for the price point that they're doing it at. That's why I asked them about investing in their company. I think that the options they're providing and the software that they have is sort of revolutionary for the price point. It's making it possible for small businesses and medium-sized businesses to be able to have high-availability at a cheap price.

The total cost was $24,400. I believe it was just a one-time fee. They did a per-hour plan for their services, which was for the data migration. If you had a current environment, domain controller, deployment, B-center deployment, stress-testing, performance-testing, all that kind of stuff was figured into a block of 48 hours. If you were to go above and beyond that 48 hours, I'm sure there is an additional hourly fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at other options like the vSAN from VMware, but the prices for our size of company were just too cost-prohibitive. Cost was the main, deciding factor. I compared them apples to apples and Hyper-V was equivalent to VMware especially for the price differences. I talked to several guys in the field. Some were all Hyper-V and some were all VMware. But when I asked them, "Why do you choose this one over this one and that one over that one?" they would give excuses but none of them were really legit anymore.

Some of them had excuses about Hyper-V which had been corrected in later versions. When I really got down to the nuts and bolts, there weren't significant differences, for what I needed, between those two platforms. When I looked at vSAN, it was just so far out of our price range that I said to myself, "Well, there's no way. I'm not going to go high-availability if that's the only option," because it was so cost-prohibitive for us.

I couldn't find a lot of other options, though I might've just overlooked them. I couldn't find a lot of other solutions that were virtualized in the drives. And I didn't want to have a SAN because I didn't want the single point of failure of a single SAN.

What other advice do I have?

I feel like it's a pretty solid solution. I actually asked them if they're publicly traded because I was going to buy stock in their company.

I would really encourage people to check out StarWind. I come from a software development background, so a lot of virtualization and some of the related areas are very new for me. I've learned a lot and taught myself a lot. I have a lot of buddies in this field, in virtualization, networking, and server management, etc. I've been really suggesting to them that they take a look at it and see what they think. I've been really impressed with it so far, given the pricing.

I could give over a lot of lessons I've learned from other vendors but, honestly, with StarWind, I can't say I have any lessons learned, other than that there are some vendors out there who do take care of their customers.

We're not in a production environment, we're still very much in a test environment. But last night I did do some testing as we get more of a load on the boxes. I want to see how well they perform once I have a heavy load on them. So I totally shut down one of my hosts last night. I loaded up a VM - I was sitting on the VM that was on the host and I was going to shut down. I was doing some work on that VM and then I restarted the host while I was working on the VM that was on that host because I wanted to see what the user's impact would be when it rolled over to the other host. I couldn't tell a difference - and I was sitting on the box - that anything had happened. I watched the Cluster Manager and I could see the VMs migrating over to the host that was still online. So it seems to work very well. Once I get it up all the way, once we're in production, I want to really stress-test the thing and see how well it holds up. Obviously, one user is not a very good test case. Once we get more people on it, I want to see how it holds up.

I've discussed options with them if we need to increase performance, like switching over to RAID 10 versus a RAID 5 and a couple of things like that. There are several options for upping performance if we need to. But my approach was to get everything for this TMS system up and running because it's about six or seven servers, all for this one system. And then we'll see, once we start utilizing it, how performance is. We'll start doing benchmarking and then try to get things better from there.

In terms of system performance, because I've never run this system on anything else before, I really can't say if there is an improvement with it. I am going to try and do a lot of benchmarking, when I get done with the company that I'm working with to install the software, to see how it's running. Obviously it's replicating data across two different hosts and it's replicating with the hard drives and the RAM. There is a performance hit of some kind there but how great that is or if it's going to be noticeable at all, I don't know yet. Everything that I've seen when loading up the app is that it seems to perform pretty well. But again, it's not under enough of a stress test to really say for sure.

I would give StarWind HCA a nine out of ten. I haven't tested it enough to give it a ten. But so far, everything that I've seen on my side has met or exceeded what I was expecting.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
JohnBarnhart - PeerSpot reviewer
JohnBarnhartSenior Product Marketing Manager
Real User

Hello. I enjoy reading IT Central Station's competitive reviews. Out of curiosity while you were researching different SDS/HCI vSAN solutions, where did you go to obtain your research information and along the way, did you ever hear of or investigate DataCore SAN Symphony?

Buyer's Guide
StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
March 2024
Learn what your peers think about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: March 2024.
767,077 professionals have used our research since 2012.
IT Manager at Projects Inc.
Real User
Enabled us to significantly condense and eliminated excess in our server rack
Pros and Cons
  • "The hardware footprint is perfect. It fits in our rack perfectly, and we were able to condense a lot of physical servers we had. It has greatly eliminated the excess stuff in our server rack..."
  • "We have the ProActive Premium Support and it has reduced our monitoring efforts. It has been very useful. They have been able to detect things such as when there's an issue with the cluster or they're getting some kind of weird reading that I have no idea about. They're really quick to let me know about it and even set up a schedule to address it. I've been very happy with their level of support on that."
  • "I wish I understood what goes into the StarWind software a little bit better. To me, it's kind of magic the way some of it works. As an IT professional, you don't really want things to be magic. I do wish there was a little more "Here's how it works." There could be more documentation given to administrators..."

What is our primary use case?

We run it mostly for business processes. We have a manufacturing plant. We use it for our ERP system, some of our databases, some IT applications. It really drives the organization and the main things we use on a day-to-day basis.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to have a lot of issues with our database servers. At one point, we had a database front-end that required five different servers to run, literally five physical servers. Just one of those computers going down would effectively halt the whole database. Bringing in these units really helped us condense our infrastructure and make things more reliable and redundant. That has definitely been the biggest key value in this.

In terms of redundancy, we were completely physical before we brought these units in. We had no virtual infrastructure at all. In addition to that, nothing was redundant. These really helped to give us some form of redundancy in a pretty compact package. With a lot of hyperconverged units, you need at least three of them, sometimes four of them. One thing that was attractive with StarWind was that we could get it in two units that communicate directly. It is a pretty self-maintained hyperconverged appliance. That was something that was really appealing.

Overall, it has helped to improve our system's performance greatly.

What is most valuable?

Nearly all of it is valuable. On a software level, it works really well. I've never had any issues with the hosts communicating with each other. The failover works perfectly. They set up everything on a software level and I've been very happy with it. They can monitor the software remotely and make sure everything's working with our Hyper-V cluster. Overall, I have been very happy with the setup of the software.

The hardware footprint is perfect. It fits in our rack perfectly and we were able to condense a lot of physical servers we had. It has greatly eliminated the excess stuff in our server rack. The footprint is completely acceptable.

We have the ProActive Premium Support and it has reduced our monitoring efforts. It has been very useful. They have been able to detect things such as when there's an issue with the cluster or they're getting some kind of weird reading that I have no idea about. They're really quick to let me know about it and even set up a schedule to address it. I've been very happy with their level of support on that. 

For example, they had messaged me a couple of times in regard to what they assumed was a bad block on our server. That could be very devastating if there is something actually wrong with our data — a corruption or anything like that. They went in there a couple of times and looked at it and made sure everything was okay. I would consider that pretty nice preventative maintenance.

When we first got the appliance, we hadn't done any major updates on the actual hardware itself. They recommended to me that we do an update on it. They pretty much did the whole process for me and that saved me a lot of time on software and firmware updates.

The Premium Support has saved me about ten hours of troubleshooting time. Whenever there's an issue, they're quick to reach out to me. I'd consider that a good value in terms of my time in general. There is less I have to worry about, as far as something going wrong with these servers goes, when they're monitoring it 24/7.

What needs improvement?

I wish I understood what goes into the StarWind software a little bit better. To me, it's kind of magic the way some of it works. As an IT professional, you don't really want things to be magic. I do wish there was a little more "Here's how it works." There could be more documentation given to administrators to know, just in case you have to troubleshoot this by yourself, what you should look out for.

For how long have I used the solution?

These are our first HCA units at this company. We have had the product for six to eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been excellent. We've never had any crashes or issues with the products themselves going down or any kind of instability. Everything that we have had — as I mentioned, there was something potentially wrong due to a disk issue, although it turned out that there wasn't a problem — they have usually been quick to catch it proactively.

But as for anything unexpected happening or that brought us down, there's been nothing thus far, which has been awesome.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It could be relatively scalable. We're at where we need to be with two of them, but it seems it would be very straightforward to get a third one, for example, if we wanted additional redundancy or more computing power.

It's being fully utilized to drive our day-to-day production. We rely on it every day to drive the business, so it is very key in our infrastructure now. I could see us getting an additional unit if the business needs demand it. I don't think we will have a demand for it within the next five years, but if it happens, if we have rapid growth, I would definitely look into getting another unit.

Currently, we have about 100 end-users of the solution in our organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

They could use a little more diversity in their technicians. Some of them are a little bit difficult to understand. That's typical for remote technical support people, but they should make an effort to have more US-based technicians available. It would add good value to their customer support.

The actual responsiveness and helpfulness of each technician has been great. I don't have any other complaints about the support. We've never had to escalate a case to anyone beyond first-tier support.

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

We didn't have a previous hyperconverged solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. We got the units in, we plugged them in, and set them up. They had given us a map of how everything should be connected, which I had no difficulty understanding. 

They then followed up with a more formal implementation day, where they did some of the final setup on the two units. It was a GoToMeeting type of set up and they remoted in and finished configuring the host.

I do wish that they had done the setup in advance so that we could have run them right away. I thought they would be a fully turnkey kind of product, so I was a little surprised to see that there was an extra set up when we got them in. But it was nothing too time-intensive.

The software configuration took about an hour. The hardware was done by them before we even received the product. It did take a couple of days before we could actually get them booked to finish the installation. That was my main complaint, not so much the actual time it took the technician to do the rest of it.

It could be done by one person, but two are helpful for the initial racking. And for day-to-day maintenance, now that it's deployed, we definitely need just one full-time person.

What about the implementation team?

Everything was done through StarWind. We didn't have any consultants. The only actual help we had from the outside was getting it physically installed.

What was our ROI?

To give it a ballpark, I would say the solution has saved us $25,000 over the six to eight months we've had it. In terms of a projected ROI, we don't have a hard number on it but I would say about $100,000 would be ideal over the five years that we would have it.

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

The Nutanix piece was about $45,000, getting close to $50,000 with all the licensing involved, whereas the StarWind was less than half of that, after Microsoft licensing and such.

The price point was spot-on.

There were no hidden fees. Everything was up-front. We had the option to go with three or five years' worth of support. There was really nothing unexpected. We knew we had to license our Windows Servers, but that was about it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Nutanix and we looked at Dell VRTX and we decided on StarWind ultimately, by a pretty significant margin.

With the Nutanix, we didn't like the fact that pricing was way higher than the StarWind appliances. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, we would have needed at least three of the Nutanix hardware, the HCAs. They also run their own specialized platform. I have more of a Hyper-V background, which is what StarWind bases its virtualization on. There would have been a little more of a learning curve on my end as well. Ultimately, the price was the biggest killer on that.

What other advice do I have?

Not so much with the appliance itself, but more the process for going from physical to virtual machines took a lot of planning. That was a little challenging. They did offer to help migrate some of our data over to the new servers if we chose to, but we decided not to. We did everything in-house in terms of getting everything migrated over to the new servers.

For a small to mid-size organization, it's a great fit. It may not be the right fit if you're a really big enterprise.

I would give the solution a nine out of ten. There's great hardware in this solution. Everything that we purchased was really competitive. I am a person knows what I'm looking at when it comes to hardware, and I thought everything was great. The software is also very good.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Systems Engineer & Cloud Specialist at myCRECloud | Cloud Application Hosting
User
Top 20
Exceptional support, easily duplicates VMs and helps manage infrastructure
Pros and Cons
  • "The StarWind array has greatly improved our workflow internally as it is quite easy to use and provides robust features that allow us to provide anything our clients need quickly and efficiently."
  • "The only issue we have seen is with the StarWind Server Manager. We have had to continually reboot the server in order to use it."

What is our primary use case?

We have a three-host clustered environment which is being used to host about 85 VMs. We have over 1TB of RAM and about 72TB of storage available. Since we are a cloud host provider, we needed a solution that would allow us to rapidly expand and support our ever-growing user base. It is extremely easy to spin up a server using StarWind Manager. It allows us to create a base image and quickly clone new VMs off that image. We have tons of storage space and we can easily add more resources to a VM on the fly. 

How has it helped my organization?

It improved our organization by providing us with more resources to allow us to grow our customer base. 

We were able to make a call and quickly get the assistance we needed and had a cluster built in no time. 

The StarWind array has greatly improved our workflow internally as it is quite easy to use and provides robust features that allow us to provide anything our clients need quickly and efficiently. 

The best part is the ability to fail VMs over quickly and hassle-free. It is extremely easy to make any changes and modifications.

What is most valuable?

The best feature is the StarWind Manager. It allows us to easily duplicate VMs and manage the infrastructure. Hyper-V is a little clunky, so their software allows for a more friendly interface and easier to manage your servers. 

Another feature I like is the ability to quickly failover in the event of any issues with the three hosts in the cluster. We have had small instances where we need to either perform maintenance on one of the three hosts, or one of the hosts is having an issue. When that is the case, we can quickly drain the roles and force all VMs off that host. 

What needs improvement?

The only issue we have seen is with the StarWind Server Manager. We have had to continually reboot the server in order to use it. This can be frustrating at times when you want to quickly log in and make changes on the fly. I wish there was a way to make the server more stable so that we don't have to perform a reboot every time. 

Honestly, we do not have too many complaints. The best part about StarWind is the customer support. 

The guys on the team are great and have been willing to work with me at any time of the day as well as on the weekends. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is extremely stable. We have only had issues from external sources, for example, our Data Center losing power. Whenever you lose power to a SAN, you run the risk of data corruption. Once we got the power back on, the support team was ready to help get our environment back online. They were able to get all the shared storage synced and vm's started again. To no fault of theirs a couple of our vm's had data corruption on the OS level, however that is the extent of the damage. We were able to restore the vm's from backup and were right back to productivity. Meanwhile we noticed other people in different racks had terrible issues with their SAN's. Some people had complete and total data loss, while others were unable to get their environments to boot. Those people were at a total loss. This is why I was so happy to see how quickly we were able to get back online and get back to production. Between the durability of the cluster and the excellent support, we were back up and running in no time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a great solution that offers robust scaling options.

How are customer service and support?

Customer service goes above and beyond to help you. I've never dealt with a more capable team in my years of doing IT.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We used VMware and we switched in order to find another solution that was more cost-effective and just as robust.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward to set up as the support team got us up and running very quickly.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it through an in-house team and their level of expertise is exceptional.

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

I advise users to trust the sales team as they will help point you in the right direction as far as your needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only evaluated our history with VMware and decided to make the switch.

What other advice do I have?

Everyone on the support team and all of their efforts has been great. I know that some of the workers are from Ukraine and my heart goes out to them. I am praying for them and their families. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Infrastructure Engineer at H. W. Martin (Fencing Contractors) Ltd.
User
Easily expandable CSVs with remote support and reduced downtime
Pros and Cons
  • "The added speed of using standard HDD and SSD meant we could increase what services are stored on the servers without having to have additional servers."
  • "We'd like an easier setup for Windows updates on the Hyper-V servers so you don't have to use a script to ensure auto-updating is done."

What is our primary use case?

We have two Supermicro servers in a failover cluster, connected via a 25GB card for faster replication and virtual nic runs through 10GB interface. The disks are hybrid standard HDD and SSD for better performance. The Starwind solution auto replicated the servers and monitors if there are any issues. 

Both are running Hyper-V on Windows Server Datacentre 2019. Each server runs about 13 virtual servers and can run all virtual servers with room to spare. 

We also have an older Dell Starwind setup running Windows Server 2016. These just run standard HDD so are much slower than the Supermicro servers. 

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance has made the servers redundant, reducing downtime from just having a single standalone server with a much lower hardware cost than having an extra storage device which then reduces the redundancy unless purchasing much more hardware that increases the cost significantly. 

The added speed of using standard HDD and SSD meant we could increase what services are stored on the servers without having to have additional servers. 

Also, the servers' support reduces downtime when things go wrong. The support team has always ensured we are back up and running in a short amount of time.

What is most valuable?

It offers a simple setup. The servers come pre-configured and only require a small amount of setup. The support team is on hand to complete your installation and ensure everything is running smoothly.  

Remote support ensures someone is watching the servers, letting you know if a VM has lost connection or either host has had any issues so you can check the servers and work with StarWind to get the servers back up and running again smoothly. 

Easily expandable CSVs take only a few minutes to get increased.

What needs improvement?

The control center needs email notifications so any self-monitoring is easier. The control center looks really good and looks like it could be very valuable. However, at the moment, not having email notifications makes it less worth it.

Easier CSV creation would be ideal so there are fewer steps and a check so that if you have created one, it can check all settings within the StarWind software and the ISCSI are set up. 

We'd like an easier setup for Windows updates on the Hyper-V servers so you don't have to use a script to ensure auto-updating is done. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, we have had no problems with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good.

How are customer service and support?

Support is always very helpful and willing to help.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The setup is fairly straightforward and issues were sorted quickly.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented the solution in-house.

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

If you have a preferred hardware vendor, then wait for it to become available if out of stock. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions.

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.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Owner at Quo Vadimus LLC
Real User
Top 10
Great documentation, excellent support, and very fast
Pros and Cons
  • "We were able to set it up via the documentation and only needed their support a handful of times."

    What is our primary use case?

    We currently have it set up with VMware. We use StarWind as a two-node cluster and VMware to host all the servers. All the servers are Windows-based.  

    We use two Lenovo servers with SSDs. We were able to move from three physical servers down to two with the StarWind setup. Also, we wanted a new setup with an easy way to expand.  

    StarWind will allow us to expand with very little setup after our initial configuration. We also set up our servers with multiple 10GB NICs bonded together and were able to separate our traffic easily with the software.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Before StarWind, we used HP Lefthand.  

    While HP lefthand did work, the price difference was a major. Once we started to use StarWind, we found it to be very reliable and fast.  

    We are very happy with moving from HP Lefthand to StarWind. During the conversion of Lefthand to Starwind, we used the support and found it very helpful. They were very knowledgeable and easy to work with.  

    We needed three servers for our setup when we were using HP lefthand.  With StarWind, we were able to downsize to only two.

    What is most valuable?

    One of the best features is how it just works. We had issues with our hardware on our servers; however, once we have the hardware issue fixed, the StarWind services would sync right up.

    The documentation is also a plus. We were able to set it up via the documentation and only needed their support a handful of times.  When we needed help, support responded and followed up, verifying our setup was working correctly. We also used their knowledge base and found it very helpful also.

    Not having to purchase specific hardware is a plus!

    What needs improvement?

    The user interface needs an update for the Windows client. I would prefer it if it was all web-based. This way, you do not have to manage an installation program on a server. If it was web-based, it would work on any platform.

    With the new interface, maybe some more reporting features would be nice.  Also, some notifications would be helpful for issues coming about with the system.

    We would like to be able to shrink volumes. We know we can increase volumes when we need it, however, shrinking would be helpful.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution for five years.

    How are customer service and support?

    Support is amazing. They are very friendly and helpful.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We used HP Lefthand. We moved to StarWind due to the price and found it had excellent support.

    How was the initial setup?

    The solution is mostly straightforward, however, we had to have help a few times.  

    What about the implementation team?

    We received assistance with the setup from the vendor team. They were very knowledgeable and took care of all issues.

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

    Be ready to use support to get through a few steps; however, after the initial configuration, it should work great!

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate any other solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's an amazing product.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    IT Manager at Sutton Group
    User
    Top 20
    Improved performance, great support, and runs well
    Pros and Cons
    • "It improved all services running on the new cluster and took up less space and less energy."
    • "I honestly cannot think of anything else to be improved, as I rarely have to interact with the Starwind product."

    What is our primary use case?

    We were running a Hyper-v failover cluster across five servers and six SAN nodes, however, this was becoming dated and we were looking for new hardware to replace this. 

    We looked into a few hyper-converged solutions and Starwind ticked all the boxes and seemed excellent value for money. 

    We are a retail company and were running various workloads including domain controllers, file servers, SQL Server, and app servers.

    The main workload was MS Dynamics AX 2012 which ran across 13 VMs running various different components. This drastically improved performance.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We condensed an entire rack of servers/switches and SAN storage nodes down to 4U for two Dell R730xd's, we had more storage, and it was much faster all around. It improved all services running on the new cluster and took up less space and less energy.

    Our ERP system performance improved for all users. Lengthy overnight batch jobs were suddenly completed much earlier and enabled us to re-shuffle a lot of tasks into a smaller time window.

    We are also finding it easier to maintain two host servers rather than the previous five.

    What is most valuable?

    The stability of the system has been the most valuable part. I never have to do anything, it just runs and runs and runs.

    We haven't had any problems with Starwind, but some of our VMs have had issues and the proactive support from Starwind meant they knew about the issues before I knew and they were on it straight away. 

    When we needed to make some upgrades to the server I contacted Starwind to discuss the changes and they were very helpful and easy to contact. The support is probably better than I have used compared to any supplier.

    What needs improvement?

    I cannot think of any way to improve it. They recently added a web-based interface that runs on a small footprint VM. This has massively improved the visibility of system metrics and made interacting with the product much easier.

    I honestly cannot think of anything else to be improved, as I rarely have to interact with the Starwind product. My main interaction is with the Microsoft Hyper-V failover cluster running on the Starwind kit and the VMs themselves, which never need any attention from me.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution for four and a half years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution is very stable and never has any issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is easily scalable. We purchase new nodes or expand the existing nodes if you can, which we have done.

    How are customer service and support?

    Customer service and support is the best I have experienced with any supplier.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We use HP servers and an HP Lefthand SAN, however, this was too slow to run our SQL workloads.

    How was the initial setup?

    The solution was very straightforward and we felt fully supported by the Starwind team.

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

    This product is well priced with very good value for money and the support team is great so the setup is no problem.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at Dell EMC, Nutanix, Scale, and Nimble.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    reviewer1671795 - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Director at Southeast Aerospace, Inc.
    Real User
    Top 20
    Excellent support, high-quality hardware, and improved performance
    Pros and Cons
    • "The high-quality hardware options, directly affecting performance, have significantly improved the user experience and are well worth the cost."
    • "The only area that surprised me had to do with the fact that each host runs a StarWind virtual machine used to maintain the health of the vSAN, which individually uses 24GB of memory per host. You should keep this in mind when determining the resources you will need when selecting hardware and components for your specific setup. If I knew that, I would have chosen to add more memory per host to make up for the use."

    What is our primary use case?

    The StarWind HCA solution is used for our VMware virtualization environment in a two-host high-availability cluster to support critical business operations running 23 virtual machines/servers. 

    I needed to have a setup that provides the highest level of performance due to a few critical virtualized servers and the highest level of redundancy in the situation where we will need to recover from any given incident affecting business operations. 

    The solution provided by StarWind allows me to eventually migrate all my physical servers to the virtual environment, which is something I couldn't do with our older virtualized setup.

    How has it helped my organization?

    StarWind HCA has provided a much-needed upgrade to our aging VMware environment and infrastructure in terms of hardware, cost, and performance. 

    All of our virtual machines, across the board, are snappy and running at peak performance. 

    Due to the hardware, performance, and redundancy improvements provided by the StarWind two-node setup, we can take advantage of the setup and migrate critical physical servers to our virtual environment. 

    Much to my surprise, while moving one of our critical systems from a physical server to a virtual server, users have commented that they have noticed a significant increase in performance on their end when using specific software. 

    Also, the high-availability setup provides peace of mind in knowing that there is inherent redundancy provided in our configuration. 

    What is most valuable?

    The high-quality hardware options, directly affecting performance, have significantly improved the user experience and are well worth the cost. Granted, the solution was cost-effective and reasonable compared to other "brand-name" solutions out there. 

    24/7 support has also been extremely valuable. We are located in Florida and since we migrated to the StarWind setup only a couple of months ago, I've already had to reach out to them outside of business hours to walk me through the shutdown of our systems thanks to two hurricanes. I needed assistance due to my unfamiliarity with the hardware and software, and they were happy to oblige. It was a smooth experience, and I appreciated their help.

    What needs improvement?

    The only area that surprised me had to do with the fact that each host runs a StarWind virtual machine used to maintain the health of the vSAN, which individually uses 24GB of memory per host. You should keep this in mind when determining the resources you will need when selecting hardware and components for your specific setup. If I knew that, I would have chosen to add more memory per host to make up for the use. I had configured my setup thinking I would have that much memory available to use to provision additional virtual machines.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution for two months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    My experience so far is that it is very stable. Even after having to shut down and start up our entire facility twice due to hurricanes here in Florida, we haven't had any issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It looks like we have the option to scale up our solution to three, four, five, or however many nodes we would like. We may be going from a two-node to a three-node solution, so it's good to have these options.

    How are customer service and support?

    Working with the support team has been great. Connecting with somebody during and after business hours has been smooth, and they have always been responsive and professional.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I did have a different solution. I switched mainly due to the performance, scalability, and costs associated with either maintaining or upgrading our setup.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward. Some areas were complex and involved StarWind support coming in and making sure everything was configured correctly. This service is included in the implementation of their solution.

    What about the implementation team?

    The vendor team was great to work with and are experts in their field and on the StarWind solution. It was a pleasure working with them.

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

    Keep in mind that StarWind VMs for the vSAN will take up 24GB of memory per host. If you do decide to go with StarWind, adjust your hardware configuration appropriately if you need those memory resources.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I evaluated Nutanix, HP, and Dell solutions.

    What other advice do I have?

    I highly recommend the StarWind solution (high-performance tier). Making a decision after weeks of research, I have been pleasantly surprised and satisfied with my choice.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: March 2024
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.