We changed our name from IT Central Station: Here's why
reviewer1378515
CIO at Sheremetevo Security
Real User
Top 10
Updates to server hardware are now painless and done during working hours with zero stress
Pros and Cons
  • "Updates to server hardware are now painless and done during working hours with zero stress. We had a RAID failure a few months back, and nobody in the building even noticed and there was no after hours time used for repair."
  • "We would like the documentation to be more complete. Most items are covered, but if you don't know something, you may need to contact their support."

What is our primary use case?

We are using VSAN in our cloud environment to provide CSVs to the Hyper-V Group. We are using a converged environment, so we have two commodity class servers configured as a high availability StarWind cluster and then we have many Hyper-V compute nodes that access the CSVs from the StarWind cluster.

We can use Veeam to back up and replicate the virtual machine files from the CSV/cluster.

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

How has it helped my organization?

Creating a high availability cluster required the configuration of the cluster on our hardware and the shared space to access the files has improved my organization.

Using the StarWind VSAN solution allowed us to reduce costs by using equipment that we already owned.

StarWind has allowed us to virtualize our environment without the huge expense of a dedicated SAN, putting cluster technology and its benefits within our reach. Server downtime was a constant threat to our operation before StarWind but has never been a problem since.

What is most valuable?

Updates to server hardware are now painless and done during working hours with zero stress. We had a RAID failure a few months back, and nobody in the building even noticed and there was no after-hours time used for repair.

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

The configuration is so much simpler, with fewer points of failure to worry about. Integration with Microsoft clustering has been perfect, allowing us to leverage our investment in MS server licensing to the fullest

What needs improvement?

The product can be improved:

  • There is no good way to see how all networks are distributed on the console. Besides, once they are created and highlighted, everything seems to be going well.
  • If we stay with Virtual SAN instead of managed devices, it would be nice to have more automated tools to manage iSCSI connections in Windows, which can be a bit confusing at first.
  • We would like the documentation to be more complete. Most items are covered, but if you don't know something, you may need to contact their support.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are using VSAN in our company for about 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 scalability of this solution is impressive. We're very happy to use it.

How are customer service and technical support?

The experience of work with clients/technical support is very positive. Everything is fast and available.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't difficult.

What about the implementation team?

We have implemented through a group of suppliers. Their level of experience is quite high.

What was our ROI?

Will soon pay off by reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

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

Make sure that you understand what all of the pieces do and don't make the assumption that you can drop support once setup is complete.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We immediately chose Starwind because our system administrator had experience with this product in the past.

What other advice do I have?

This product is definitely worth the investment.

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.
User
Top 20
Easy to set up, saves us on hardware costs, and gives us improved fault tolerance
Pros and Cons
  • "StarWind vSAN has allowed us to leverage our server infrastructure more completely without the need to add more hardware."
  • "I would like to see options for automated notifications of any changes, including, for example, synchronization issues."

What is our primary use case?

We are running Dell PowerEdge Series as Hyper-V hosts with StarWind providing a virtual SAN infrastructure to allow for CSVs and data replication between the hosts without having to add dedicated storage hardware.

This serves to allow us to have a fault tolerance of suffering not just a drive loss (RAID Configurations on each server allow for that) but it also allows for the loss of an entire server since we are running N+1.

The servers are directly connected to one another using 10GB NICs, allowing for fast connectivity and support for direct wiring. This meant that we did not have to invest in a dedicated 10GB SAN switch, either.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to the implementation of this solution, our servers were all standalone Hyper-V Hosts. VMs resided on a host and were unable to live migrate or sustain connectivity when a host had a reboot or maintenance item.

StarWind vSAN has allowed us to leverage our server infrastructure more completely without the need to add more hardware.

The failover ability has proven useful already in maintaining connectivity to VMs during a power event that impacted one host. VMs failed over immediately and the data replication brought the downed host back to fully synced status quickly after reboot. 

What is most valuable?

The ability to utilize my onboard disk from the Hypervisor hosts, not requiring the purchase of dedicated SAN hardware, SAN switching, etc., is a real cost value.

The replication of data between the hosts that StarWind does also allows us to create redundancy since we are able to operate at an N+1 configuration. This feature allows for much greater fault tolerance than we have had before.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see options for automated notifications of any changes, including, for example, synchronization issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

It has been a few months since we implemented StarWind Virtual SAN.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support team, from implementation to general operating questions, has been an incredible value add and well worth our support contract already.

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

Not at this employer,  but my experience previously does include HP, Dell, EMC, and Nimble hardware-based SAN units.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. StarWind provided good documentation and access to engineers to help guide the process at each step.

What about the implementation team?

StarWind provided guided installation with an engineer. He was quite well prepared and great to work with on the project.

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

The support contract is well worth it. The price for it was very reasonable and their team has been very engaged whenever we reach out.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did preliminary pricing on HP, Dell & Nimble, but the costs associated with hardware were going to present a challenge to our school at this point.

What other advice do I have?

As of this time, I really do not have a wishlist of features beyond perhaps some automated notifications of any changes, sync issues, etc. That being said, we have not had any operating issues come up that I would have really needed automated alerts for, so this would just be a wish list item.

From what we have implemented, we are not finding any lacking features or issues with our configuration that we would like to see improved. If this changes over time, I would certainly update my opinion, but for what was advertised, we feel like this is a pretty stable product that is meeting its goals.

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
Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
566,121 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Senior Systems Engineer at a tech consulting company with 1-10 employees
User
Easy to configure and simple to maintain with great cache features
Pros and Cons
  • "The ability for us to manage all of our nodes from the same console makes systems administration very easy."
  • "If there was one thing we could request, it would be the ability to shrink volumes. For example, we want to be able to decrease in the size of the volume."

What is our primary use case?

We are currently running a Microsoft environment. The Virtualisation stack is currently hosted through Microsoft Hyper-V. We are using local storage and hosting our storage via Starwind Virtual SAN for our production systems.  

Currently, we are only running a two-node cluster to serve our Hyper-V storage. Both nodes are directly connected. This little two-node cluster currently supports all of our offices across the country.  

Our business has a heavy reliance on the systems and systems uptime of 24/7 is required.

How has it helped my organization?

Starwind has significantly improved our performance in comparison to our previous environment. Our uptime and our internal SLAs are great. Over the years, it has not failed us once. 

Their support has been amazing and is always there for us when needed. We have worked with various support members over the years and every single one of them knows the product without needing to escalate. Being Hardware agnostic has also helped us a lot to maintain our systems and update to new hardware without worrying about the usual compatibility issues.

What is most valuable?

Starwind is very easy to configure and even easier to provision.  

Even better is how simple it is to maintain and patch without any downtime.  

Over the years we have updated both the operating system and the hardware on several of our nodes without any downtime incurred.  

The cache features that are available have significantly improved our performance.  

The ability for us to manage all of our nodes from the same console makes systems administration very easy.  

Tasks such as adding, removing, and expanding volumes are very easy.

What needs improvement?

Starwind Virtual SAN has fulfilled all of our requirements. There is not anything additional we require. The product does everything we need and more.  

If there was one thing we could request, it would be the ability to shrink volumes. For example, we want to be able to decrease in the size of the volume. We understand this is not a limitation in the product as it can potentially cause more problems by leaving things behind. Also, even though we cannot decrease the volume at this time, it is easily addressed by creating a new volume with the appropriate size and migrating data over to it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Starwind since 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. We have not had a single outage or drop due to Starwind.  Software has never crashed or not performed as specified.  Our uptime is only disrupted by server maintenance and scheduled periods.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is very scalable as you can add as many nodes as you require along with additional hardware.

How are customer service and technical support?

In over 20 years of working in the IT industry, I have never encountered better support than I have with the team at Starwind. 

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

We previously used Microsoft Storage Spaces.

How was the initial setup?

It was as if we didn't need to do anything. Starwind was there from the start to help us provision.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the initial setup all in-house.

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

I would strongly advise companies to engage with Starwind very early in the design process as they can help with finding the appropriate path. The pricing model is very simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated HP SAN, Nutanix, and Dell Storage.

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
CIO at a renewables & environment company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Excellent support, great performance, and offers very good resiliency
Pros and Cons
  • "Having the ability to scale horizontally if needed is a huge plus for future growth."
  • "Although minor, some of the documentation could be rewritten to be clearer."

What is our primary use case?

I use the solution for running vSphere for a highly tech-driven SMB. We are running a 2-node vSAN for running ~40 VMs servicing mostly internal users. We are running VMs/apps that are either compute-intensive, storage-intensive, or memory-intensive.  

We have limited staff and staff time for managing infrastructure so it was important for us to find a solution that works well and doesn't require a lot of daily human interaction.  We like rock-solid solutions that just work. StarWind vSAN provides us with exactly this.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has provided us with improved performance (since the storage is Direct Attached and therefore faster than a SAN). It has reduced single points of failure (the compute and storage are fully duplicated) and reduced maintenance since we no longer have to manage a separate SAN or storage networking. Furthermore, our hardware is simplified taking up less room in our rack and requires far less wiring.

On another note, StarWind vSAN has improved our organization by providing us with third-party proactive support to help us diagnose issues quickly - especially when we don't notice them right away.

What is most valuable?

The solution offers fully redundant computation and storage.  

We are now more tolerant of hardware failures without vastly reduced performance or increase human workload.  

We are very sensitive to making sure our infrastructure is reliable, bulletproof, and resilient to issues. StarWind vSAN helps with this since we now have two identical nodes with compute and storage that can both independently serve our needs without and a drastic reduction in available services or reduction in performance.  

On top of that, having the ability to scale horizontally if needed is a huge plus for future growth.

What needs improvement?

Although minor, some of the documentation could be rewritten to be clearer. Some of the documents are not the best at describing how the StarWind vSAN system is designed or implemented, and although unimportant (as "long as it works") it is still nice to read the nitty-gritty details.  

Some of the documentation is a bit rough in spelling or sentence structure. I would imagine this is due to translation and non-English as the primary language. These are not deal breakers since the support staff is very helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for less than 6 months.

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

We switched products due to an expiring warranty as well as the need for a general hardware refresh. We were also looking for newer and better; we wanted to improve resiliency, improve server/application performance, reduce rack space utilization and wiring, and just get an all-around new solution since the IT market has changed quite a bit since our previous refresh (about 6 years prior).  Ultimately, the new StarWind solution reduces our single points of failure and improves our system performance.

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

The cost structure for us was on par with just a general server plus a SAN purchase, however, we would not have received the pre-configured software, the reduced single points of failure, the reduced wiring complexity, or the proactive support.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at VMware vSAN and a generic server plus SAN solution.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend StarWind vSAN for pretty much any SMB infrastructure project.  The reduced single points of failure, increased performance, and reliable support is great.

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
reviewer1493754
Informatics Analyst III at University of Alabama at Birmingham
Real User
Top 20
Saves us money in hardware costs, responsive and knowledgeable support
Pros and Cons
  • "The primary purpose of this software is to create a virtual SAN between local storage on Hyper-V hosts. I find this feature most valuable since it accomplishes this quite well."
  • "If there was a way to automatically put disks in maintenance mode when shutting the host down and exit maintenance mode automatically, that would simplify things."

What is our primary use case?

We were looking for a way to utilize local storage for our Hyper-V cluster to prevent having to purchase a new SAN solution. I discovered this unique software and deployed it. It works well for sharing local storage in a Hyper-V cluster. Our existing, older SAN was too slow for this particular implementation. VSAN solved this problem successfully.

How has it helped my organization?

It helped us to save money by not having to purchase a new hardware SAN. The VSAN works better than our existing, older SAN. This software works well for the vital signs capture software we were implementing in a new Hyper-V failover cluster.

Our organization has less hardware to maintain since we didn't have to purchase a new SAN. Being able to run this software in the new virtual machines saved time and money. 

Their excellent tech and customer support also give our organization peace of mind.

What is most valuable?

The primary purpose of this software is to create a virtual SAN between local storage on Hyper-V hosts. I find this feature most valuable since it accomplishes this quite well. This is a unique product, as I haven't found another software that does this. 

I've also found their tech support very valuable. They helped me to save our data and set up new virtual disks using their best practices. Their customer support is also very responsive. They reached out to me to make sure everything is working as expected. 

What needs improvement?

If there was a way to automatically put disks in maintenance mode when shutting the host down and exit maintenance mode automatically, that would simplify things. I'm not sure how they would implement that, but I think it would be possible. 

Another feature they could add would be better integration with Windows networking and disk management tools. Maybe something as simple as shortcuts to those applications within the StarWind management console.

Perhaps automatic recommendations when setting up hosts/disks would be helpful as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product seems very stable and it seems to recover well if I do something I shouldn't.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is scalable. The number of virtual disks is unlimited, but each disk size is limited to 4TB with my license.

How are customer service and technical support?

I found their tech support to be excellent. I had a major issue where we could have lost all of our data on the VSAN, and they helped me to resolve it. In fact, their customer service and technical support are both excellent. They are very responsive and knowledgeable.

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

I used the free version of StarWind VSAN initially. But when I had a problem, it was much more difficult to solve without a GUI.

How was the initial setup?

Some parts of the setup are straightforward, but other parts are more complex. Their support team helped me through the complex setup portions.

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

The setup cost, pricing, and licensing are very straightforward. They are exactly what you expect.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't evaluate any other options, as I'm not aware of another software that does this.

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.
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.
Flag as inappropriate
ITCS user
Web Services and Systems Development at a non-profit with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Helpful and proactive support, offers full redundancy, and is cost-effective
Pros and Cons
  • "The vSAN provides full redundancy for storage while reclaiming some rack space."
  • "I found that certain browsers are not fully compatible with the administration web access portal."

What is our primary use case?

StarWind Virtual SAN has been a welcomed addition to my network.

How has it helped my organization?

Overall, StarWinds vSAN is a cost-saving storage option with top-notch support.

The vSAN provides full redundancy for storage while reclaiming some rack space. I can focus on other IT needs now, rather than having to worry about redundancy with an aging physical SAN storage unit. If an HDD fails, I can easily hot-swap and continue the business.

Support was extremely helpful in regards to setup and implementation.

What is most valuable?

The admin portal has been easy to use and provides a great overview of health and usage.

What needs improvement?

I found that certain browsers are not fully compatible with the administration web access portal. I would like to see continued improvement with additional compatibility for other browsers to be able to work properly with the administrator web portal.

I did find out, with the help of StarWind's support, that the Firefox browser seems to be the browser that works the best with their web portal.

It also appears that vMotion is slower than my previous SAN solution, which was a traditional physical unit.

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?

Since implementation, I have not had one issue with performance or stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution, as it is simple to add another vSAN.

How are customer service and technical support?

I never felt rushed while I had to install additional host NIC cards and they walked me through every step of the setup process. Their support has been quick to respond and with frequent updates. They will always work a case until I am satisfied that I have a proper and understood answer.

I am not bombarded with additional sales calls, but they do check in from time to time only to make sure all is well. That is appreciated.

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

I was forced to replace my traditional physical SAN when I was unable to get additional service parts, even as it was still under a support contract. I needed a full-featured, low-cost replacement for it.

StarWind came highly recommended throughout various IT channels and colleagues.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented myself, with the use of StarWind's support team. Their support team was instrumental in aiding the completion of the setup process.

The support was a great resource for setup and continued use. They took the time to really explain how their solution works, specifically within my environment.

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

StarWind is a low-cost, full-featured alternative to the traditional SAN environment, and their support will guide you every step of the setup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Dell/EMC and HPE solutions and they were all extremely expensive.

A sales rep was quick to get me in touch with an engineer who patiently walked me through my endless questions of compatibility and setup. They even assisted with recommendations for host hard drives: both HDD and SSD options.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, StarWinds vSAN is a cost-saving storage option with top-notch support.

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
Company Owner at a insurance company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Simple to set up, facilitates redundancy of mission-critical applications, and the support is good
Pros and Cons
  • "VSAN works great; it's very easy to install, configure, and manage."
  • "There is no Italian-language version of the software available."

What is our primary use case?

We built an HCI Hyper-V two-node cluster without SAN or S2D at our main site. It is used to run 25 virtual machines that host operating systems and applications including Windows 2016/2019, Debian, SQL, and PostgreSQL. It provides business continuity to my organization.

We also implemented a "Windows 2019 Guest Cluster" inside a Hyper-V Cluster without any problem. 

How has it helped my organization?

I'm not an IT Manager but an insurance broker with limited IT knowledge, and I was able to install, configure, and manage a hyper-converged cluster in a couple of hours without any problem.

VSAN works great; it's very easy to install, configure, and manage. I received precious support before buying, during the installation, and after.

All of our mission-critical applications and services are now completely redundant.

What is most valuable?

VSAN doesn't require either an expensive SAN or the expensive hardware required for Microsoft S2D on Windows Server Datacenter Edition. I can have an HCI two-cluster node using our 2,5" SAS HDD in RAID 10 without an SSD and the performance is great.

In the case of power failure or critical events, it's very simple to get back in production. The console is very simple and clear, and the PowerShell commands are very useful. 

Using one of the numerous tutorials, we created scripts to shut down and restart the cluster in case of a power outage.

What needs improvement?

There is no Italian-language version of the software available. Although I'd prefer an Italian version, I received extensive and comprehensive support in all of the deployment steps. This included communication by email, call, and video.

During a long power outage our UPS batteries was completely discharged, on power on Starwind vSAN wasn't able to choose which node was the correct node to sync from so we had to "mark as Syncronize" one of them. Then we wrote some powershell scripts to power off and power on   the nodes in sequence  before ups completely discharghe and then on power on. I'd like to manage these cases directly on GUI. Something like "in case vSAN isn't be able to mark as Syncronized a node, mark this node as sync"

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?

StarWind is extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In case we should decide to add other nodes, I think that this solution will scale easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is perfect.

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

We did not use another similar solution prior to StarWind.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple.

What about the implementation team?

I was able to install VSAN on my own and I'm not an IT manager but an insurance broker. I received great support from StarWind technicians.

What was our ROI?

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

We found that the pricing was perfect; simple and clear.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Microsoft S2D before choosing this product.

What other advice do I have?

In summary, I think it's the best solution I could buy to achieve my goals.

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