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StarWind Virtual SAN OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

StarWind Virtual SAN is #2 ranked solution in top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools and #5 ranked solution in HCI Software. PeerSpot users give StarWind Virtual SAN an average rating of 9.6 out of 10. StarWind Virtual SAN is most commonly compared to VMware vSAN: StarWind Virtual SAN vs VMware vSAN. StarWind Virtual SAN is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 60% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 24% of all views.
StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide

Download the StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is StarWind Virtual SAN?

For SMB, ROBO, Cloud and Hosting providers, who look to cut down virtualization expenses, our solution is StarWind VSAN. It is software that eliminates any need in physical shared storage by basically “mirroring” internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. There is less hardware to buy in general, consequently less money is spent on purchase and maintenance. The existing hardware is used with maximum efficiency, so there is no money wasted at all.

StarWind Virtual SAN targets those who already have servers, or are bound to a particular vendor list to buy from. In case there is a new virtualization infrastructure to be built from scratch, StarWind offers a much better way – StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. It is a turnkey solution complete with hardware and software, powered by StarWind Virtual SAN. Those who need to build and maintain virtualization infrastructure at little to no expense, may be interested in StarWind Virtual SAN Free.

StarWind Virtual SAN Customers

Baker Tilly BVI, CMS Internet, Board Harpeth Hall School

StarWind Virtual SAN Video

StarWind Virtual SAN Pricing Advice

What users are saying about StarWind Virtual SAN pricing:
  • "The cost was ultimately low to implement, which allowed us to be 3-2-1 complaint."
  • "For two nodes, it cost us $10,000, and we spend $2,000 a year on support."
  • StarWind Virtual SAN Reviews

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    MIT - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT System Administrator at Ludwig Meyer GmbH & Co. KG
    User
    Top 20
    Easy to set up and maintain with good performance capabilities
    Pros and Cons
    • "The install itself is easy as pie."
    • "Feature-wise we are only waiting for the release of a "planned disaster" feature that would allow us to patch a hypervisor node without having to take the full storage offline."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use the solution for HA storage for HVs.

    We are an SMB that can't be bothered paying tens of thousands of dollars just to get a proper HA storage for a two node failover cluster. Therefore StarWind's vSAN was financially attractive from the start.

    The reviews you can find all over the web incentivised us to research this solution deeper (e.g. just check all the great posts vom Kooler on Stackoverflow), leading to us actually implementing it.

    We were coming from an S2D implementation which already gave us a ridiculous amount of headaches (bugs, performance stalls, "we know what's best for you" automatisms) in addition to being slow and annoying to administrate/debug while also having the most annoying documentation ever to be created by mankind. These solutions rush out some code and ship it and never fix anything (but break it every few weeks with patches).

    The initial tests were easily implementable (without begging some sales folks for a POC, due to a free version being available) as well as proper documentation that you actually like to read due to it having been typed by a tech (and that also isn't behind a pay/registration wall).

    As close to perfect as the documentation is, do read the blog posts to the two-node HA setup as well. Some minute details were only found in those.
    There are no showstoppers, and not many things in general, just a few hints here and there.

    The install itself is easy as pie. The config file is properly documented (you can do most things via GUI, just some things are set in the main config file).

    Do help yourself to the iSCSI Powershell commands (Windows defaults from MS) when implementing. It is way more attractive than clicking via GUI.
    (New-IscsiTargetPortal, Connect-IscsiTarget etc.)

    Some things must be done via GUI though, since iSCSI has been implemented way back and "making scripting available" wasn't that widespread for developers back then. This being a Microsoft topic, not StarWind though. They would have had to make their very own iSCSI implementation otherwise.

    For testing, you should use a proper tool like https://docs.microsoft.com/en-...
    since "Windows copy from within the VM running on the test setup" can be flakey.
    Not as in "the results aren't valid real world performance if you check with the Windows copy within a VM" but rather "non-scientific" since you can't extract much data from that process aside from size/time.

    There is a visual bug with a specific part of iSCSI. It's Microsoft's fault, and, as usual, has never been fixed in over 15 years. Just don't panic if you experience it.
    https://www.dell.com/support/k...
    https://social.technet.microso...

    How has it helped my organization?

    Price-wise this is very attractive. The support is great (little that we needed due to the good docs) and I would expect you to reach a very good performance just like we did.

    The next-best solution from my research back then - that you would actually want to use, so no S2D or anything - would have started at 7X or 8X the price. Since StarWind's solution has served us very well over the last two years already, I would recommend it.

    To respond to the "how it has improved our organization," in a nutshell: it has provided very stable and performant storage-level HA which allows for live failover of VMs (as long as the compute doesn't die as well).

    What is most valuable?

    We like the ability to be installed and used on the same host, so we get the max performance possible.

    It is easy to set up and maintain, resulting in a happy admin and low TCO/good ROI.

    It offers good performance and stability and also makes for a happy admin.

    It provides HA for our failover cluster storage where anything can go wrong up until compute, the thing still chugs along like nothing ever happened.

    The upgrades are also very easy to implement. It's basically "click click click" once everything has been shut down and you're back up really quickly.

    What needs improvement?

    Feature-wise we are only waiting for the release of a "planned disaster" feature that would allow us to patch a hypervisor node without having to take the full storage offline.

    ATM (20220609) is still necessary, since taking a node offline without properly activating the maintenance mode on the vSAN would trigger a full sync of the vSAN nodes.

    This is fine and a good thing since it ensures data integrity. However, there is something in the making that would ensure integrity without a full sync after a node goes down, which, as stated above, one could "abuse" to patch (and boot = take down) the hypervisors during business hours 😁

    Other than that, the thing is rock stable and chugging along without issues.
    We are an SMB so we "only" have around 50 VMs on our FO cluster, which is a medium load for SSDs.

    If you plan to go more to the "max" side of performance use, do proper testing!

    Buyer's Guide
    StarWind Virtual SAN
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    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?

    It's rock-stable.

    So far, we only had visual issues in a specific place due to Microsoft being a PITA and never fixing any bugs they bring in (this one being over 15 years old).

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It scales very easily.

    Depending on your setup, their actual SAN might be a better fit for you, however, that's for your very specific case to decide.

    How are customer service and support?

    We really only had contacted the support for the final checkup after setting it up ourselves, so that they could verify everything is running as it is supposed to.

    That was great, so our experience has been great overall.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We previously used Microsoft S2D. It had bad documentation, offered bad performance, and had bad GUI and bad CLI.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup is very easy, and they offer very nice documentation and blog posts.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did the implementation all in-house, self-taught by their great docs.

    What was our ROI?

    Since our HVs already run with Windows DC we had S2D included in the cost.

    However, the operational costs were high. I'd easily say the invested time over a year with S2D would be $20-30K while StarWind's vSAN now took like $500-750 (yes, less than $1K!) over two years. 😎

    Even if you add the license cost (which is cheap even with our 3-year premium support package) it is a no-brainer.

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

    There is the "invisible" cost of you reading the docs, however, that comes with every solution. At least with StarWind, you have tech-to-tech documentation that you can actually use.

    The pricing is very fair!

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked into VMware and others. They usually had a way higher cost or worse performance or worse GUI/documentation, or all of those things together.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'd advise others to use the free license to test it. The doc is also public. This is the way.

    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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    reviewer1667487 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Technical Architect at HS Data Ltd
    User
    Top 10
    Flexible and easy to use with great support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution is also quite flexible. As an example, other vSAN solutions that we looked at had more stringent requirements regarding mixed HDD/SSD storage which wouldn't have worked in our environment."
    • "The main thing I would like to see improved is the level of documentation."

    What is our primary use case?

    We needed a reliable shared storage solution for our VMware vSphere Essentials solution so we could implement vMotion and High Availability features. We decided to utilise a vSAN solution to reduce costs after looking at the price of external storage solutions.

    In our environment, we have a 3-server VMware vSphere Essentials Plus solution that consists of 16 x HDD and 8 x SDD on-server storage. The solution is attached to 1GB network for production but we also have 10GB network connections available for direct-connectivity between servers.

    The StarWind vSAN solution was implemented as a hyper-converged solution meaning that everything runs on the VMware vSphere solution. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    The StarWind vSAN solution was implemented according to our project plan with minimal outages to existing workloads. We have had no issues with the solution and it works very well with minimal administrative effort.

    Recently, we had a memory failure that caused one of our VMware servers to crash. Due to the shared storage provided by the StarWind vSAN, all virtual machines on the failed server were able to failover to another server. Our helpdesk didn't receive any user complaints during the time that this happened. Once we resolved the issue, the shared storage resynched itself automatically.

    We now have the ability to run critical workloads on the VMware infrastructure and have already proceeded to migrate active directory and SAP Business One workloads onto this platform.

    What is most valuable?

    We have found the solution surprisingly simple to use. The management console allows us to monitor the solution and we have configured email alerts to alert us about critical issues. These alerts have been proven to work in an actual failure scenario, for example, when we had a memory issue with one of our servers that caused the entire server to crash. The management console also allows us to monitor the solution performance and provides us with access to system logs.

    The level of support provided by StarWind both during pre-sales and post-implementation has been excellent. The solution validation session with StarWind engineers was one of the best we have experienced and the vendor has also demonstrated a willingness to create a long-term relationship.

    The solution is also quite flexible. As an example, other vSAN solutions that we looked at had more stringent requirements regarding mixed HDD/SSD storage which wouldn't have worked in our environment.

    What needs improvement?

    The main thing I would like to see improved is the level of documentation. I had some initial difficulties understanding the solution which could have been solved via additional documentation aimed at newcomers to their solution. Although the solution does admittedly have many moving parts, I found that internal knowledge transfer to my peers was not that difficult. Hence I'm convinced that better documentation would have helped.

    I would also like to see a better system implemented for obtaining updates for solution components. The system at the moment works on a request/response model.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using this solution since the start of this year (2021).

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution has proven to be reliable with the need for minimal administrative effort. During an actual failure with memory on one of our servers, everything worked exactly as planned. We didn't even receive any issues/complaints from users via our helpdesk.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    During the solution validation session with the vendor, we spoke about benchmarking the product. After performing the recommended tests, we were satisfied that the solution would meet our performance needs (both in terms of storage and networking).

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We haven't had any issues with the solution so have had no need to request service/technical support. However, our experience during our project makes us believe we are in good hands if we ever need anything in the future.

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

    We did not use a different solution. We initially implemented our VMware vSphere Essentials solution using direct storage and didn't have access to features such as vMotion and high availability. The StarWind vSAN solution allowed us to implement shared storage and pave the way to migrate critical workloads onto the VMware infrastructure.

    How was the initial setup?

    We complicated the initial setup process a bit because we wanted to perform the design, implementation, and migration ourselves. This led to some difficulties in terms of initially understanding the solution. StarWind helped to fill in the gaps and our implementation and migration went completely to plan with little need for downtime. We were able to implement the solution on two servers while keeping our workloads running on the third server. We then migrated the workloads and built the remaining server.

    What about the implementation team?

    We wanted to perform the design, implementation, and migration of the solution ourselves. We asked for help where needed during the design stage and found the vendor was very knowledgeable and could quickly answer all of our questions. We performed the implementation ourselves and then conducted a solution validation session with the vendor. During this session, the vendor validated that everything was configured according to their best practices and also performed some advanced tuning. We also had an open-ended discussion about how to operate the system. This solution validation session was one of the best I have ever experienced.

    The level of support from the vendor throughout the entire project has been excellent and they have been more than willing to develop a long-term relationship. 

    What was our ROI?

    We were price-sensitive and wanted to minimize expenditure on additional hardware. The ability to utilize vMotion and High Availability features in our VMware infrastructure has already repaid the cost of the solution.

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

    We found the StarWind vSAN solution was cost-effective compared to alternatives. You should talk to the vendor (or a good partner) about your needs because there are some differences in price based on your environment. We also recommend purchasing support.

    In our case, we purchased StarWind vSAN for vSphere Essentials Edition which included 1 year of standard annual support and maintenance.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We initially looked at several external shared storage solutions and found them to be cost-prohibitive. We then evaluated vSAN solutions from HPE (this was discontinued) and the native solution from VMware. The native solution from VMware had fewer moving parts than the StarWind vSAN solution, but was more expensive and didn't provide the required level of flexibility that we needed regarding mixed HDD/SDD storage.

    What other advice do I have?

    We strongly recommend that you develop a good relationship with the vendor (or a good partner). In our experience, they played a key role in the success of the solution.

    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
    StarWind Virtual SAN
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    I.T. Director at MBI
    User
    Easy to set up with great support and reasonable pricing
    Pros and Cons
    • "It has been extremely stable for the three years we've been running it."
    • "I would definitely like to see quite a bit more on the monitoring side of things."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our company's needs are simple, and I like redundancy, so I was looking for the least expensive way to achieve as close to full hardware redundancy as possible without breaking the bank. 

    I learned about vSAN technology, and it made sense to me to just get two hosts with identical hardware, and configure their storage as shared, providing full hardware redundancy (on top of the already partially redundant aspects of the hosts themselves), then just get a decent SAN for off-site DR backup storage (we settled on Synology's Flashstation for that), and I'm really glad we did.

    How has it helped my organization?

    StarWind's solution provided me the peace of mind knowing I had full hardware redundancy with my new servers and local storage, and it was less expensive than the VMware native license/solution would have been. 

    It has been rock solid from day one. I've engaged with their expert support multiple times for maintenance sessions, to upgrade their software, and once to migrate from their Windows Server-based appliance to their Linux version once it was ready. We have only ever had one issue during an upgrade that was quickly resolved by their engineer.

    What is most valuable?

    By far, the best features are the cost, implementation, and support. The VMWare equivalent license upgrade would have been quite a bit more than the StarWind solution, and the only additional hardware requirements were the dual 25GB fiber NICs needed for the storage Sync functionality. 

    They also worked with our preferred reseller (PCM at the time) and had our two brand new Dell hosts shipped to them first for pre-configuration, which they then turned around and shipped to us pre-configured and ready to go.

    What needs improvement?

    Implementation, maintenance, and support were and have been virtually painless, however, I would definitely like to see quite a bit more on the monitoring side of things. 

    I would really like to be able to see a lot more of what is going on under the hood metrics-wise. It would be great to be able to see at least a little bit more. Specifically, things like performance, bandwidth utilization of the synchronization connection, and how it impacts the overall performance of the hosts.

    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?

    It has been extremely stable for the three years we've been running it. There hasn't been one operational hiccup and only one issue which happened during a support session performing an upgrade, which was quickly resolved by the engineer.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Our needs are simple. Therefore, we only have ever used or needed two hosts. That said, it is nice to know that it can scale to clusters if we ever need to go that route, as unlikely as that seems right now. 

    How are customer service and support?

    The few times I've ever engaged with technical support were for upgrades, and it was always pretty painless, with the one exception I mentioned before, where we had a problem with a host that ultimately required a hard reset. We're still not sure what happened to cause it to lock up, however, once it was back up everything was fine.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    I had looked at other vSAN technology in the past, however, the cost was beyond our budget, especially after factoring in the cost of the support needed, since I am not a storage engineer.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was easy. We simply had to unbox the servers, rack them, connect the cables, and turn them on. It was that simple.

    What about the implementation team?

    The initial setup was handled in-house - meaning, yours truly. All I had to do after firing them up was add the hosts to my existing vCenter server, migrate all of the VMs over to the new Hosts/Storage, and, once done, shut down and remove the old hosts from vCenter.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI is hard to quantify since we've never used anything else. That said, at least without it there would have been many thousands of dollars just for the licensing costs and appropriate support would have been even more than that. StarWind provides comprehensive support on everything, as long as you buy the hardware through them too.

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

    I'd advise users to do their due diligence, however, StarWind's technology works as advertised, at a much lower cost than the native VMware solution. Their licensing is simple and affordable, and their support is impeccable.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We considered VMware's native vSAN technology and may have gone with it if I hadn't found StarWind while searching for alternatives.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you are looking at a simple, affordable vSAN technology, you can't go wrong with StarWind.

    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.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    reviewer1495242 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Systems Administrator at Daifuku America
    Real User
    Top 10
    Reasonably-priced, quick and helpful technical support, facilitates 3-2-1 backup compliance
    Pros and Cons
    • "A great feature is that I basically set it and forget it, as everything is automatic."
    • "The console is something that I feel could be improved. There is nothing technically wrong with it, but it can be jazzed up and/or made to be a little more intuitive."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have a failover Hyper-V cluster and a stand-alone Veeam server. We back up our VMs via Veeam. We wanted to get our backups 3-2-1 compliant with a backup to disk backup, a second backup to another medium that was a virtual tape in our case, and backups to the cloud. 

    We had a second physical server with tons of storage, so we installed StarWind. We were able to create a VTL and have tons of virtual tapes. We utilized iSCSI and were able to get Veeam to use this VTL as a destination for tape backups

    In addition to Veeam being able to back up to tape now, we were also able to get the StarWind software to connect with our preferred storage vendor, Wasabi. Now, we back up to disk, back up to tape, and then ship those tapes offsite automatically to Wasabi.

    The StarWind software was easy and quick to implement/setup and now our backup process is fully automated. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    Our backups are 3-2-1 compliant, which satisfies several audits and cybersecurity/insurance questionnaires. In addition, the process is fully automated.

    We now have multiple copies of our backups and in the event of a complete disaster we also now have a DR strategy in place. 

    Prior to this solution, we had a single point of failure when it came to backups. Now we, essentially have three targets, two of which are completely air gapped for security.

    Lastly, the virtual tapes I've been told are impervious to ransomware. 

    What is most valuable?

    A great feature is that I basically set it and forget it, as everything is automatic. This is one less major thing to worry about.

    Before, we had a lot of stock and pressure on our singular backup server. It carried a lot of weight. Now with the VTL software in place, we have three backup targets. The primary backup server is still critical but if that server were to go down, we would still have backup data intact. If our data center went down, we would still have backup data intact thanks to the offsite options. 

    We can rest easier knowing our data is fully protected. The fact we have a DR strategy is priceless.

    What needs improvement?

    The console is something that I feel could be improved. There is nothing technically wrong with it, but it can be jazzed up and/or made to be a little more intuitive. Perhaps introduce a few right-click options, as that's my general go-to approach as opposed to searching for specific menu items.

    I also feel that when dealing with a magnitude of tapes perhaps better formatting or color-coding will help locate or identify tapes easier than scrolling through the list. Also if the lists' real estate on the screen could be increased that would be helpful as well. 

    Other than that, I have no complaints or issues with the software.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for six months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I haven't had any issues with the app becoming unusable. It's very stable and I have yet to experience a problem with it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The software can be upgraded with each release, so it's very scalable. 

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support is amazing. Five stars. They are quick to respond and are able to handle issues very quickly and provide great feedback and explanation. 

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

    We did not use another similar solution prior to this.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward and simple. I had the support team guide me along the way but the setup process was intuitive and there was nothing confusing about it. 

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented it through their support team. After we purchased the software, they helped set us up. They were very knowledgeable and fast. We had tape backups working in minutes. 

    What was our ROI?

    I don't have exact figures in terms of ROI but I can say the product was well worth the cost.

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

    The cost was ultimately low to implement, which allowed us to be 3-2-1 complaint.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate other options.

    What other advice do I have?

    After we purchased the software, we were able to contact support right away. I would suggest you take advantage of this, as they are quick to respond and got my software up and running literally within minutes.

    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
    reviewer1465917 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Corporate Technology Manager at MTE Logistix
    Real User
    Top 10
    Easy to set up and they have good support that is fast to resolve problems
    Pros and Cons
    • "The fact that I can now count on a true failover solution is what is most appealing."
    • "I would like to see different levels of support offered."

    What is our primary use case?

    We decided to migrate our infrastructure from Terago Cloud to a Tier III datacenter. It was primordial for our company to have redundancy at every level. It was not an easy sell to make that move and I needed to prove to management that we could have a very secure environment.

    I needed to have a software that could create a fail over between my hosts that would work well with VMWare 7.0. After researching several company we made the decision to go with Starwind.

    Of course, once we had everything in place, we made a test failover. It failed. I went back to Starwind and this was fix within one phone call. Missing configuration. The following test was successful.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The fact that I can now count on a true failover solution is what is most appealing. Also, it was easy to test the solution to make sure it worked. How many companies out there install software without testing it?

    It was easy to get organized and test to be sure it was performing to its full capacity. During the failover, only a few seconds of downtime were seen, proving to me that I can count on StarWind during business hours and know that they have our back at the Host level. Who can afford downtime?

    What is most valuable?

    Without a doubt, it would be support. Either we were sending an email to our Rep or simply calling in to open a case, a returned call could be expected within the hour. Always courteous and helpful. Those guys know there products and surrounding, like VMWare. They also keep on following up until you say that all is well.

    We were having issues with our vCenter when we first deployed, and we had to call back technical support a few times. Each time was a fast and professional service that was offered to us.

    What needs improvement?

    This is a tough question. One that I wouldn't have put in here for the simple fact that I decided to write a positive experience with Starwind.

    Now, if I want to be picky, I could simply say that the price is not cheap. I started with the basic package, for 4 TB. Than I had to purchase to go up to 8 TB. It does look now that I will have to pay the remaining fee to purchase unlimited data. Should I have done so first, maybe but things change very rapidly and what wasn't needed not too long ago is now. SO overhaul, price. I would also need to pay extra to be able to have support during the weekend, otherwise, you have support only from Monday to Friday. Can be inconvenient if your business work 24 hrs shift Sunday to Friday.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN since the rebuild of our infrastructure in August 2020.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    So far so good and since it is running directly on VMware, I do not see any issues in the future either.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    With the right licensing, I do not see any issue with scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The installation was straightforward but it still was a new product for us and we didn't know how it was going to integrate with VMware 7.0. At this time, I am seeing a few issues with 7.0, so I wasn't sure if we would have any problems during installation. Nevertheless, StarWind support is what is making me write this review today. Compared to any other company we may have called, no other is as fast and as good to get the problem resolved.

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

    This was our first installation.

    How was the initial setup?

    The installation was fairly straightforward. Although the first test didn't work for us, only a phone call was required to make this work. We have successfully tested the solution and can see first hand that it work great!

    What about the implementation team?

    We did in-house with the help of Starwind tech. If you want to make sure it work properly, this is the way to go and their support is fantastic.

    What was our ROI?

    N/A

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

    Make sure to look for the next package that they offer for the licensing part. Adding Drives will happen faster than you hope it will.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    StarWind came highly recommended and rightly so.

    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
    Chief Information Officer at Scott County Hospital, Scott City, KS
    User
    Easy to use, reduces downtime, and offers great support
    Pros and Cons
    • "StarWind allows us to move virtual machines from one physical host to another, which greatly reduces the downtime required for maintenance."
    • "The system failovers properly on its own without too much worry."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have a two-node hyper-converged system set up. Our main electronic medical record system runs on top of this system. We can fail over to one host, which lets the virtual machines run on the other. We can perform maintenance and move the virtual machines back. As a medical facility, it's important for our products to be up and available. This system allows us to do that. We have plans to purchase an additional host this fall, which I hope to be able to add to the VSAN. I believe there's an additional purchase to do so, however, I'll look into that when we get closer. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    StarWind allows us to move virtual machines from one physical host to another, which greatly reduces the downtime required for maintenance. I've been with the organization for about four months now and came in not knowing anything about StarWind. To become better acquainted, I asked if StarWind would give us a 'demo' of our current system. They showed us how our configuration was set up and helped us make a couple of suggested changes. We have since restarted one of the hosts without any trouble on the StarWind side at all. 

    What is most valuable?

    It's very stable and is easy to use. The system failovers properly on its own without too much worry. Support has been amazing. I wasn't at my position last year, but we had a hard disk in a host machine fail last year. Through a series of unfortunate events, a VM failed. StarWind support helped the technician pull the system back up and even assisted with restoring the VM, something he didn't have to do. I've since read other accounts of service like this. The community and KB articles are also very valuable. In any event, I know I can get help with this system.

    What needs improvement?

    I'm actually really satisfied with Starwind. Their product and support have been top-notch. They even have a version that is free, though it is a command-line only. 

    As for additional features, perhaps some integration in with systems like IT Glue.  A way to push the configuration into IT Glue in the event of an outage or just for documentation purposes would be nice.  

    Overall, however, the product does what it is supposed to do. Adding features for the sake of adding something may not be terribly appropriate in this case. The system just plain works.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    My organization has been using StarWind for several years now. I'm new to my company and have been learning how the product works.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We've had no stability issues with the product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Currently, we have this running on two nodes, however, I believe it can be scaled up significantly. For our limited purposes, I have no concern about scalability.

    How are customer service and support?

    Amazing! They've gone above and beyond with helping us when we had hardware issues last year and again this year when I asked for a demo of how things are set up.

    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.

    How was the initial setup?

    While I wasn't around for the initial setup, I performed a handful of test installations to become more familiar. StarWind has a wonderful KB article that covers the process, step-by-step.

    What about the implementation team?

    It's my understanding that it was all done in-house. The configurations are exactly as the KB article mentioned above has it spelled out.

    What was our ROI?

    We can keep our electronic medical record system running while we do maintenance. We've used Starwind for several years, so the investment has covered itself.

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

    Pricing is simple. You can buy a support package that gives you access to updates to the software or you can buy premium support, which expands the time in which you can get help from the company.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I was not around when the decision to use StarWind came about. I don't know if there are other 3rd party vendors like StarWind. 

    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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    PeerSpot user
    System Administrator at Wilson Logistics
    User
    Excellent support with simple pricing and perpetual licensing
    Pros and Cons
    • "This software lets us maintain storage redundancy across both of our Hyper-V hosts, so if one goes down the environment fails over to the other and we have minimal to no downtime."
    • "Some of the documentation seems to be a bit older and refers to deprecated items."

    What is our primary use case?

    We purchased this product to manage storage between our two-node Hyper-V cluster. We're running a pair of Dell R740's with 16 core CPUs and RAID 6 storage arrays, all solid-state.  

    We wanted this product to facilitate a hyper-converged environment while still maintaining two host redundancy. We're running about 25 virtual machines on this cluster, none of which are particularly storage IO intensive, yet we've still not seen any issues with performance when it comes to Starwind vSAN. We ended up on this option as it seemed to be simple, robust, and affordable.

    How has it helped my organization?

    This software lets us maintain storage redundancy across both of our Hyper-V hosts, so if one goes down the environment fails over to the other and we have minimal to no downtime.  

    Keeping things running is an obvious benefit, and we opted to purchase their higher-tier support (for a very minor price increase). Knowing we've got them to fall back on if we can't fix something ourselves is good for peace of mind. The notifications built into the software mean we aren't constantly checking for issues as this is a very critical piece of our infrastructure.

    What is most valuable?

    Starwind support was extremely helpful throughout the entire process, from the trial period to the actual production implementation. They responded to my emails quickly and did a walkthrough to validate the final production configuration to ensure there were no issues.  

    The engineer that assisted me with the walkthrough was very knowledgeable, and not just on Starwind software. He had several recommendations about our Hyper-V cluster configuration, and he always made sure to explain why he was making those recommendations. 

    What needs improvement?

    Some of the documentation seems to be a bit older and refers to deprecated items. This wasn't a huge issue as the technician that walked me through the install was very knowledgeable and gave me a clear list of steps to take.

    The only major issue we had was with the NIC drivers we were using on the link between the two hosts. For reference, we're using a direct connection between a 40 gig QSFP+ NIC in each of our hosts. The issue was that the iSCSI connection between the two hosts would drop after about ten minutes during a full sync of the two storage arrays. The support tech was able to quickly identify the drivers as the issue to get it resolved quickly and prior to our production deadline.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've used the solution for two months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's been very stable for our usage. We've had no issues since implementation two months ago.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I hear it scales well, however, we've not used it beyond our own small scale.

    How are customer service and support?

    Technical support was very good.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    Previously, we were using Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct across a three-node environment. We switched due to the fact that we sold a portion of our company and downsized to two nodes. Storage Spaces Direct doesn't seem ideal for a two-node system.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was a bit confusing based on the documentation, however, support was very knowledgeable and able to assist with any issues and questions I had.

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented it myself with assistance from Starwind support. It's not a complex process.

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

    Pricing is very simple and a setup walkthrough is included in the price of the software. It's a perpetual license and you only pay to renew support, which was a reasonable price.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We considered storage spaces direct, however, didn't ever implement it on our new two-node cluster.

    What other advice do I have?

    I really can't overstate how responsive their support was.

    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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    PeerSpot user
    Chief Information Officer at Ohio Dominican University
    Real User
    A great, easily scalable solution with a helpful support team
    Pros and Cons
    • "I've been really impressed with it so far. I think it's pretty great, actually. It does exactly what we need it to do, and it does it well, so I would recommend it. Plus, the support has been very good."
    • "I had to buy upgraded support, which was not a problem, but it wasn't a prorated amount, so I paid for the support, the full upgrade, but I only got a couple of months out of it because it was only good until renewal time."

    What is our primary use case?

    This solution replaced some old IBM DS 3400 SANs that we had for many years and we used it to build new, highly available storage. Most of our servers use Hyper-V, and this solution is the storage backbone for our Hyper-V Clusters.

    What is most valuable?

    We use the virtual SAN piece of the solution because we're not hyper-converged, so I value the highly available storage that all of my clustered servers can see and utilize.

    What needs improvement?

    I had an occasion last year where I needed emergency support from them, and the support we normally pay for didn't cover it. I had to buy upgraded support, which was not a problem, but it wasn't a prorated amount, so I paid for the support, the full upgrade, but I only got a couple of months out of it because it was only good until renewal time. That kind of thing should either be prorated or extended past the renewal time, so whenever you buy it, you get a year's worth of upgraded support. That's my only real problem with them. Otherwise, I think they're pretty good.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution has been stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is scalable. The version I have has unlimited storage, so as long as I have the space in my servers to add storage, then the solution will support it.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was easy, but mainly because we didn't do it ourselves. We had the support team work through it with us when we set it up, and just by working with their support, we got everything up and running. Once we had the hardware set up and ready to go, it took a half a day or so to get everything configured with the install. Then, because of the size of our volumes, it took several days for them to sync, but we did the initial setup in a day.

    Once the solution is set, you kind of forget about it because you don't need to touch it that often. Anytime I've needed to get back in there and add more volumes, or if I have any problems, I just call their support team, and we work through it together, so it's been pretty easy. I imagine if someone had to deal with it daily, it would probably be pretty easy to understand and work with, but we don't touch it that much.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI is difficult to quantify because we used this solution to replace really old IBM SAN hardware. We can do everything that we need to do with it, and I've had it five years and other than one time that I had to upgrade support, I've had to pay nothing extra. I consider the cost of ownership low, because anybody who has to have on-premises storage, especially if you want to be compliant with backups, needs something like this and I'm sure there's other solutions out there that do it, but this is what we chose and it's worked perfectly.

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

    I have the Enterprise version, which has unlimited storage, and we have two nodes, or two servers where all the storage is replicated to each other. For two nodes, it cost us $10,000, and we spend $2,000 a year on support. If you want higher tier support, that will cost a little more.

    What other advice do I have?

    To any who are considering this solution, I'd say that I've been really impressed with it so far. I think it's pretty great, actually. It does exactly what we need it to do, and it does it well, so I would recommend it. Plus, the support has been very good.

    I would rate this solution 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.
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    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free StarWind Virtual SAN Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: July 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free StarWind Virtual SAN Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.