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reviewer1351425
CTO - Partner at SabreTech Consulting LLC
Real User
Top 20
Ability to use off the shelf hardware is invaluable in terms of cost and flexibility
Pros and Cons
  • "The management interface on the software is very simple. It is insanely simple compared to most SANs. The interface is also powerful when used to complete tasks that an IT administrator needs to complete."
  • "StarWind relies on the underlying OS to manage the "SAN files" whether that would be a RAID volume, software RAID (such as LVM), etc. It would be useful if StarWind could incorporate the actual physical drive management inside of the solution, similar to Storage Spaces Direct."

What is our primary use case?

We are using VSAN in our private cloud environment to provide highly redundant CSVs to a Hyper-V Cluster. We are using a converged environment so we have two commodity grade servers setup as a highly available StarWind cluster, then we have numerous Hyper-V compute nodes which access CSVs from the StarWind cluster. 

We are able to use Veeam to backup and replicate the VM files from the CSV/cluster.

We use off the shelf 10 GbE SPF+ modules and off the shelf 10 GbE switches.  With MPIO, we were able to create a redundant network infrastructure to support our SAN network. 

How has it helped my organization?

We were previously using Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, but that product was unreliable and practically unsupported by Microsoft. We were able to leverage our previous hardware capital investment and converted our infrastructure to use StarWind VSAN. The migration process was simple, and afterwards, we had a highly reliable SAN system. 

We've always wanted to deploy a software-defined storage system, as proprietary SANs do not meet our requirements. They are expensive and very inflexible. StarWind has been excellent.

What is most valuable?

The highly available feature between two nodes works without any issues. We have practiced DR scenarios and our CSV/cluster has always stayed online. The software has the ability to "elect" a master after a failure of one or two nodes, then it will resync after that without issue.

The management interface on the software is very simple. It is insanely simple compared to most SANs. The interface is also powerful when used to complete tasks that an IT administrator needs to complete.

The ability to use off the shelf hardware (servers, RAID cards, SSDs, etc.) is also invaluable in terms of cost and flexibility. 

What needs improvement?

A duplication feature inside of a CSV would be very useful. I'm sure there are a lot of duplicated blocks on a CSV that have 75 VMs of Windows Server.

StarWind relies on the underlying OS to manage the "SAN files" whether that would be a RAID volume, software RAID (such as LVM), etc. It would be useful if StarWind could incorporate the actual physical drive management inside of the solution, similar to Storage Spaces Direct.

A web interface for management and StarWind SNMP MIBs would also be very useful.  

For how long have I used the solution?

One year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.  We have tested storage network outages with failure of one or two nodes. The solution is able to stay online or repair itself with ease. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The storage is as salable as your underlying storage. If you are using hardware RAID cards, then you are somewhat limited for expansion, etc. It is still much better than proprietary SANs. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Support has been very good. I regularly schedule off hours support sessions and their team has never complained. 

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

We previously used Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct but had numerous reliability issues with the solution. It was definitely not ready for a production environment. 

How was the initial setup?

Setup was somewhat complex, but StarWind works with you the entire way and handles nearly all of the setup. 

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with StarWind. The experience was excellent. 

What was our ROI?

Less than one year. 

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

The premium support from StarWinds is a must have. The ability to have access to a storage engineer 24/7 is a must for a production environment. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had thought about proprietary SANs, but those didn't fit our requirements for cost and flexibility. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

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.
Justin Graves
IT Supervisor at Area Agency on Aging Region 9, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Greatly improved virtual machine reliability and accessibility
Pros and Cons
  • "Highly available storage is the most valuable feature. The entire rollout is hyper-converged and requires no extra storage further than the hosts in which Hyper-V is running. Another feature that has been great is the support from StarWind in general. We have their proactive support package on the main cluster that employs Starwind Virtual SAN."
  • "Management of VSAN itself could be improved. A Web UI for management would be great rather than an application installation. StarWind is testing a command center virtual appliance that I have installed in my environment."

What is our primary use case?

Highly available HyperV cluster. Our environment includes 2 Hyper-V hosts with onboard storage running about 20 virtual machines. StarWind allowed for a redundant cluster to be configured without any extra storage and easily create an HA cluster. StarWind Virtual San functions as the primary drivers for all of our storage needs in the highly available cluster. It is used almost daily to allow for live migration of machines and failover in the event of maintenance or physical host hardware problems.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind Virtual SAN improved my hyper-v deployment by making it highly available. It was easy to roll out and it is easy to manage. It has greatly improved virtual machine reliability and accessibility. Deployment of StarWind Virtual SAN has helped reduce the stress of not having a cluster that would allow for virtual machine failover if a host has a hardware problem. It is reassuring to know that all virtual machines are in a safer environment versus running on standalone hosts with no shared storage.

What is most valuable?

Highly available storage is the most valuable feature. The entire rollout is hyper-converged and requires no extra storage further than the hosts in which Hyper-V is running. Another feature that has been great is the support from StarWind in general. We have their proactive support package on the main cluster that employs Starwind Virtual SAN. The StarWind support team is right on top of all monitoring activities. If I am maintaining a physical host and it has been down for too long, I will get a notice from StarWind to confirm a problem or inform them that maintenance is being performed. They are top-notch.

What needs improvement?

Management of VSAN itself could be improved. A Web UI for management would be great rather than an application installation. StarWind is testing a command center virtual appliance that I have installed in my environment. It is very much a step in the right direction to make StarWind Virtual SAN management easier and even Hyper-V as a whole. Something Hyper-V has lacked for years is a good Web UI to manage a host or cluster. StarWind has taken upon themselves to help with this as well as manage the Virtual SAN in a single pane of glass.

For how long have I used the solution?

Greater than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very stable. I've had little to no problem since rolling it out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It should be easy to add a host to a cluster once VSAN is installed.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent! 10/10

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

No. We used standalone hosts.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is a bit complex but StarWind has great documentation to get setup and a great support team to assist in setup.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation has been done using StarWind support and with an in-house team as we have 2 separate clusters both using StarWind Virtual SAN

What was our ROI?

12-24 months.

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

Evaluate your solutions. This is a great solution for those user Hyper-V and ready to hyper-converge.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Maxta, Nutanix, VMware, KVM.

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.
TRAIANO ...
Technology Solutions, Support & Training at UNISONMEDIA Group, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Resilient with seamless failover, and the support is helpful
Pros and Cons
  • "Recovery and maintenance are now less stressful and most importantly, it allows our users to keep working."
  • "A mobile app to sync up for overview and status would really be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

We have Microsoft Hyper-V.  StarWind is configured as a two-node cluster with a Windows environment. It is crucial for the Virtual Machines that give us the resiliency of Exchange, 4TB File Servers, Networking Services, Quickbooks Server, Terminal Servers, Virtualized Spam Protection, Active Directory Services, and a few others.

We needed something that allows for better resiliency than the old way of doing things.  We have seen other choices out there but this seemed to be the best one, given our budget and the hardware we wanted to use.

How has it helped my organization?

This StarWind solution has enabled us to be more resilient, once it was set up and tested.

Failover happens very smoothly. Recovery and maintenance are now less stressful and most importantly, it allows our users to keep working.

Before StarWind, we were dealing with an archaic way of synchronizing Virtual machines and data between non-clustered physical hosts and it was very frustrating. Now, things are less hands-on and easier to manage and navigate the virtual environment, including maintenance while other users keep working.

What is most valuable?

We found that robust communications between clusters and synchronization were key and most valuable to us due to the amount of data we were synchronizing.

The expertise from their technicians is very helpful even in the middle of the night, with the right support plan of course. The technical documentation, the follow-up and the details noted on a per-call basis was amazing. We really appreciate that kind of commitment to our success and stability that the StarWind software brings to our business.

What needs improvement?

Built-in Notification would really help and as I understand, their new release has this now.  

A mobile app to sync up for overview and status would really be helpful.

Also, it would be helpful if the software had a few more guides and links/videos on how-to's.

An "Update available" notification within the software would also be helpful and a guided wizard to do the upgrade properly would also be nice and efficient.

A better visual of the SAN storage/actual storage and how it is used would be good, especially when it comes to where the files are located on the disk. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for the last two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability seems great and we have not had any problems with the software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Seems very scalable, although we chose to have a two-node cluster.

How are customer service and technical support?

This area has been the best for us, especially being new to this technology. The support team was amazing with follow-up and they are super patient.

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

I have not used another solution for the same purpose. This was what I picked based on my research.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, I didn't quite understand the framework and what exact hardware was needed so I had to do some learning. However, once all was in place it went pretty smoothly.

What about the implementation team?

We did our deployment in-house, with help from StarWind.

What was our ROI?

Return on investment for us, I would say maybe breaking even. As I said, I wish the costs were better balanced.

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

The cost seems a bit steep, and I wish it was less expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have looked at Nutanix and VMware.

What other advice do I have?

Mainly that the costs would be less expensive.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

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

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
IT Specialist at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Eliminates the need for other physical shared storage
Pros and Cons
  • "It's quite easy to install."
  • "Updating the software can be a bit tricky."

What is our primary use case?

As traditional storage is too expensive, our clients are looking for a more affordable solution. If you compare StarWind to EqualLogic EMC or NetApp, it's a cheaper option.

What needs improvement?

Updating the software can be a bit tricky. You have to go down scripts to put it in maintenance mode, etc. It takes a while to update. From my experience, I think that's a thing that they need to improve on.

Every time I put it in maintenance mode, all of the replications stop. If they could fix this, it would be a great product.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using StarWind Virtual SAN since June 2020.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's hard to say because I haven't really added anything. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the information was quite clear on their website. The knowledge base is quite sufficient with all the info required. For this reason, I haven't had to contact technical support.

How was the initial setup?

It's quite easy to install. Also, the configuration and documentation guide from their site was quite good.

What about the implementation team?

We don't need maintenance. We do it ourselves. As I said, it's pretty straightforward —  standard, to install. It's not complex.

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

I think the cost of this solution is quite fair.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure to consider the requirements of your environment. If you're in a high-performance-driven environment, I don't think this is the right solution. In this case, I would go with a traditional storage solution because you'll get better performance out of a physical one. For me, it's just a cheaper solution that doesn't require indigenous apps, etc.

I would not go for enterprise deployment. I'll go with the traditional one. Make sure your requirements fit with what you want to buy.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
Bern Farrant
Security and Systems Engineer at New Creation Consulting
Real User
Top 5
Cost-effective, responsive and competent support, stable, and the documentation is good
Pros and Cons
  • "In the three years that we have been using StarWind, the product has yet to cause us any problems."
  • "Perhaps more reporting features on the utilization, usage, and performance of the configured high-availability images and underlying physical disks would be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to provide a vSAN for Microsoft Windows Server failover clusters. We are a web hosting company that prefers to purchase smaller discrete servers rather than larger and expensive integrated with SAN solutions. However, we still want to provide a high-availability environment for even our small web applications.

We use StarWind vSAN to accomplish this goal without having to use the extremely tightly validated server hardware and networking options required by Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has solved the problem of cost-effectively providing a high-availability failover cluster utilizing standard server and networking hardware. We save many thousands when purchasing hardware and the vSAN has never been the cause of any downtime. So, not only have we saved money, we have beaten our internal SLAs that our previous solutions were negatively affecting.

In addition, the highly competent support alleviates stress when we do have questions. Our technology stack has improved since we have started using StarWind vSAN.

What is most valuable?

First, we have found StarWind to be a "set and forget" type of product. It really is nice to not have to spend administrative time monitoring, tweaking, and configuring a product.

Second, the reliability has been exceptional. In the three years that we have been using StarWind, the product has yet to cause us any problems.

Third, their support team is excellent to work with when we do have questions.

Fourth, the documentation on the product is exceptional, and while not necessarily part of the vSAN product, they publish a lot of helpful information on their blog.

What needs improvement?

Perhaps more reporting features on the utilization, usage, and performance of the configured high-availability images and underlying physical disks would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've never had to handle any problems with the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Beyond a three-node direct-attach, some of the cost advantages decrease a little.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is responsive and competent. If only more companies were like this...

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

We previously used DFS to synchronize between nodes; however, it did not provide nearly the same level of reliability and is not a true HA solution as a hyper-converged environment with StarWind vSAN.

How was the initial setup?

With the excellent documentation and having their support review our configuration, the initial setup was very easy.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed using our in-house team.

What was our ROI?

StarWind vSAN has saved us far more than we've ever spent on it.

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

If you are looking at a traditional SAN for a small cluster, give StarWind vSAN because you will save thousands without any compromise. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tested out Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct and priced out other competing traditional SAN options.

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.
CEO, Founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
User
Top 10
Cost-effective, fast and helpful support, and offers real-time replication between servers
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features are high availability and real-time replication between two servers."
  • "The StarWind Management Console is available only for Microsoft Windows/Windows Server, and should also be available for Linux and macOS, as it would reduce implementation costs."

What is our primary use case?

Our hardware is located in one of the largest data centers in the country, where we have high availability services for our company. Our internal systems include VPN, hosting services like website, email, database, DNS, FTP/SFTP, and SMB/CIFS.

Replication is between two servers with SAS and SSD storage, based on Dell servers. Network connectivity is 40GE for data synchronization and1GE for the heartbeat, directly connected.

We are using WMware vSphere as a hypervisor. This solution is highly scalable and cost effective.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution improves many areas in our company including performance, data availability, and data security.

StarWind VSAN allows us to build high availability and real-time replication, even between two servers. It offers multiple scaling and replication capabilities and includes health and performance monitoring tools. For this reason, we can build highly available services for our company, which are currently essential for the organization's activities.

Our current implementation allows us to maintain the company's production continuity and to maintain constant access to data processed by the company.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are high availability and real-time replication between two servers. StarWind VSAN immediately copies all data to the second server over the 10GE/40GE network to ensure instant failover. Multiple connections can be made for the heartbeat. 

What needs improvement?

The StarWind Management Console is available only for Microsoft Windows/Windows Server, and should also be available for Linux and macOS, as it would reduce implementation costs.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of StarWind Virtual SAN is very good.

How are customer service and technical support?

StarWind support is amazing. They are helpful and respond very quickly.

Support is available via teleconference, as well as online. They not only assist with the selection of the appropriate solution but also, help with testing and production implementation.

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It was done via teleconference, which made it very simple.

What about the implementation team?

The vendor team assisted us with deployment using teleconference technology. They have a high level of knowledge and skill.

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

The StarWind VSAN business model is very cost-effective.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated VMware vSAN and StorMagic.

What other advice do I have?

The StarWind VSAN product is very well developed in many areas.

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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CEO at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Real User
Extremely flexible, easy to scale, and stable
Pros and Cons
  • "The most useful aspect is the hyper-converged SD SAN and the ease to expand it by just adding cheap SSD or NVME disks."
  • "A great feature would be a wizard and to include a new disk in the SAN. At the moment, including a new disk requires several steps - some that must be done at the OS level and others in each node."

What is our primary use case?

There are 2 server clusters with a software-defined SAN. They are Hyper-V Windows 2016 clusters and have been working fine for several years. We are using both NVME and SSD disks with both are working fine with good levels of performance. We provide a SaaS solution hosted in external datacenters in one cluster and the other hosts our internal servers. Starwind replaced a Dell SAN that had failed. The SaaS solution runs on an Oracle database which has had excellent price-performance using Linux in Hyper-V VM.  

How has it helped my organization?

The product allows extreme flexibility for SAN and hyperconverged infrastructure. Using Hyper-V combined with Linux VMs has allowed us to scale our solutions with additional clients and client volumes. We have customers using our platform with over 1.3 million accounts. The databases have scaled seamlessly. We now have over 16 TB of disks in our hyperconverged SD-WAN and Starwind has managed them flawlessly. The ability to grow SAN size by just buying more cheap SSDs or NVME disks has been very useful.

What is most valuable?

The most useful aspect is the hyper-converged SD SAN and the ease to expand it by just adding cheap SSD or NVME disks. 

What needs improvement?

A great feature would be a wizard and to include a new disk in the SAN. At the moment, including a new disk requires several steps - some that must be done at the OS level and others in each node. We have no more recommendations for the product beyond that.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the product for over 3 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no stability problems whatsoever.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. Right now, we have over 16TB of disks. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is always available and helpful

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

Previously, we used a Dell EMC SAN which was failing. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was supported by Starwind. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at DataCore.

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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Chief Technology Expert at Rapid Response Networks
User
Top 20
Scalable with excellent support and allowed for the use of existing hardware
Pros and Cons
  • "The biggest benefit was that it allowed us to provide SAN services on a limited hardware budget."
  • "The main issue we ran into was the documentation. We attempted to set up the product in our test environment by ourselves and ran into several areas of the documentation that were unclear to us."

What is our primary use case?

We decided on StarWind's Virtual SAN product due to the fact that it was a simple way for us to use vendor hardware to achieve SAN functions. 

It allowed us to implement a robust solution without needing to buy dedicated SAN hardware for the remote site.  

We set up a 2 node cluster using Dell servers and Dell-provided hard drives and used Starwind to create several redundant disks across the two hosts. This solution allowed us to enable High Availability across the hosts using the shared storage without the need to purchase dedicated hardware.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest benefit was that it allowed us to provide SAN services on a limited hardware budget.  

We built out a pair of matched servers with vendor-supplied hard drives and were able to provide a fully redundant storage array between the servers. VM hosts can now provide high availability failover if either host goes down. Not needing to spend a huge amount for a dedicated solution was a plus and the system is easily expandable if we need to make changes.  

Their support team has been excellent in helping us throughout the project process.

What is most valuable?

Support was great and provided presale support for our test environment before the purchase and after to help us configure the product before it went into production.  

They have also been great in following up on our project and helping with other implementation issues.  

Being able to use existing hardware was a big factor in our purchasing decision and helped this project fit the needs of our client's budget. Using existing hardware greatly reduced the project costs and overall complexity of the solution.

What needs improvement?

The main issue we ran into was the documentation. We attempted to set up the product in our test environment by ourselves and ran into several areas of the documentation that were unclear to us.  

Starwind provides excellent pre-sale support and scheduled several meetings between our IT staff and their support team to review the configuration and answer questions. This helped immensely in deploying the software in our test environment and helped us to understand the product better. Support was always willing to help with any documentation that we were confused over and continued to follow up with us after the project went live.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for eight months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product appears to be very stable and robust.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution appears to be easily scalable and adjustable to fit future needs.

How are customer service and support?

Vendor support has been very responsive and provided help with all issues we have encountered.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup can be complicated and the documentation is not always clear. Support from the vendor was needed in our test environment setup.

What about the implementation team?

We used an in-house team with vendor support during the implementation. Support has been excellent and has followed up regularly with our team.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Dell and VMware SAN products as well. 

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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