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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"

Buyer's Guide
StarWind Virtual SAN
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.

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 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.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Web Services and Systems Development at a non-profit with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
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.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
StarWind Virtual SAN
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,952 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Justin Graves - PeerSpot reviewer
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?

Five 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 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.
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PeerSpot user
Real User
Great snapshot production, easy to expand, and very stable
Pros and Cons
  • "It is extremely stable."
  • "It would help if the manufacturer provided clearer and more detailed documentation, with explanations of how the application can be installed in various HA configurations."

What is our primary use case?

We have two servers in an HA configuration. The two servers having an identical configuration. On each server we have: two disks in RAID 1 (for the operating system), two arrays of four disks in RAID 5 (for virtual servers that require high data transfer speed), one array of six SAS disks in RAID 6 (for virtual servers containing a lot of data), and two arrays of six SAS disks in RAID 10 (for medium servers in terms of data volume and speed required). On the network side, SAN servers are connected to HOSTs via a 10 GB ethernet connection and between them for HB and SYNC via 1GB connections.

How has it helped my organization?

Until the installation of StarWind, we only use physical servers. After installing, I migrated all physical servers as virtual servers and added other new servers. We currently have approximately 30 virtual servers on only three hosts and the two SAN servers. Thus, we get significant savings from the necessary hardware. In addition, we have much more flexibility in allocating available resources. 

Having a configuration of two servers in HA, we can perform maintenance and upgrade operations without having to interrupt the operation of production servers.

What is most valuable?

From my point of view, the main advantages of this solution are the drastic reduction of the number of physical servers required and the reduction of acquisition costs for servers. 

In addition, there is less electricity consumption for servers and for their cooling and the possibility of dynamic and fast allocation of storage resources where needed. This simplifies the backup and restore process. The product has the ability to take snapshots on production servers before any major upgrade so that if problems occur you can quickly return to the previous configuration.

What needs improvement?

It would help if the manufacturer provided clearer and more detailed documentation, with explanations of how the application can be installed in various HA configurations. They should include advantages and disadvantages for each proposed configuration. Currently, you can only find information on this on the manufacturer's website, but it does not contain very detailed information regarding each proposed configuration.

It might help to add the functionality to automatically send an email to a predefined address when errors occur in the application.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for more than 10 years and, in that time, without encountering major operating problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. Currently, it is not necessary to intervene or restart the SA servers for years at a time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to expand the storage space. The only limitation is the space that the license allows you to use in the HA configuration.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support provided is very prompt.

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

Previously, I only used physical servers.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, the implementation of this solution seems complex, however, once you understand how the application is designed, it becomes relatively simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before deciding on the solution offered by StarWind, we also analyzed HPE LeftHand SAN Solutions, however, this was significantly more expensive.

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
Indeep G - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Systems Administrator at Prism Economics & Analysis
Real User
Top 5
Good DR, saves costs, and eliminates the need for manual tape changing
Pros and Cons
  • "The virtual tapes can be uploaded to the object storage of your choice with object locking/governance which gives you an extra layer of protection."
  • "There needs to be more visibility on how long the cloud replication will take as there is no current ETA."

What is our primary use case?

We were looking for physical tape backups to protect against DR situations but were concerned about the fact that it would require the manual intervention of changing the tapes and sending them offsite as we could easily forget. 

Luckily, I came across  Starwind VTL which is the same as having a physical tape library without the hassle of changing tapes. 

The whole process is automated and we have the option of choosing between multiple cloud storage providers such as Amazon, Wasabi, Azure, etc. It's been six months and it has been working well without any issue with the jobs completed within 24 hours which meets our RTO. 

In regards to the cost, we ended up saving a few thousand dollars as well due to the high cost of the physical tape library.

How has it helped my organization?

With Starwind VTL, it eliminates the need to manually change and remove tapes and schedule them for offline pickup which users would not have the time to do.  It is also cost-effective as having a physical tape library would cost thousands of dollars. 

In addition, the virtual tapes can be uploaded to the object storage of your choice with object locking/governance which gives you an extra layer of protection.  

Furthermore, having virtual tapes locally and on the cloud provides an additional layer of protection in addition to our normal backups that are performed. 

What is most valuable?

The cloud replication feature is most valuable as it copies the local virtual tapes from our on-prem storage to object storage where we can set object locking and governance.  This is a great feature in case something happens to our on-prem storage. 

Also, since it's virtual tapes, there is no manual intervention of changing tapes and scheduling them to take them offsite which is another additional cost. The support team is also good as they were able to resolve the majority of issues during the initial implementation.

What needs improvement?

There needs to be more visibility on how long the cloud replication will take as there is no current ETA.  

Also, there is no date/time column so you don't know which is the latest tape that has been uploaded to object storage.  

You also cannot search by tape name so you have to scroll through the tape list if you ever need to cross-reference.  

Another shortcoming is that the tapes do not remove from the list once they've been deleted via the retention policy so you would have to manually remove them.  

I've requested all of these in a feature request with their R&D so hopefully, they will be included in future releases.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for over two years now.

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

We did not have a previous solution. This was an add-on solution to our existing backup solution.

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

The pricing is very reasonable compared to a physical tape library.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated the physical tape library, however, it was too costly.

What other advice do I have?

The initial setup will take time, however, their implementation team will assist all the way through.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Application Engineer at Rakuten
Real User
Easy to use with good data replication and very helpful technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The fact that the solution is vendor-agnostic allows it to be used with any virtualization vendor while remaining a powerful abstraction over storage."
  • "StarWind Virtual SAN architecture is slightly complex and requires the team to carefully identify and study how the solution integrates with VMware vSphere."

What is our primary use case?

Our team was looking for a reliable and cost-effective solution for our VMware vSphere platform.

VMware vSAN wasn't an option due to cost and scalability issues.

Enabling storage high availability across multiple nodes was our top priority as we couldn't risk having any downtime in case a node was to fail.

We ideally wanted a dedicated set of tools to administrate and perform maintenance on our hyperconverged storage.

That solution had to be as platform agnostic as possible so that we could reuse it with another vendor.

How has it helped my organization?

The product provides a robust and cost-effective alternative compared to other available products.

StarWind Virtual SAN allows our team to aggregate our cluster storage in a scalable way without seeing an explosion in the licensing costs.

It let us decouple our hyperconverged storage from the actual virtualization plartorm.

As an agnostic software solution, StarWind Virtual SAN could be re-used in other projects across different teams with another virtualization vendor. That aspect was key to the success of our department as all teams were able to work together.

What is most valuable?

Data replication is useful as it enables storage high availability on the cluster.

The fact that the solution is vendor-agnostic allows it to be used with any virtualization vendor while remaining a powerful abstraction over storage.

There are easy-to-use tools for the administration and maintenance of hyper-converged storage.

StarWind Virtual SAN also let us fine-tune the desired level of replication across all nodes, allowing the administrator to specify a custom number of fault to tolerate across the cluster nodes.

What needs improvement?

StarWind Virtual SAN architecture is slightly complex and requires the team to carefully identify and study how the solution integrates with VMware vSphere.

Tooling is spread across web UI plus desktop clients which can sometimes be confusing as the team isn't always sure which tool to use during maintenance procedures.

Also one drawback, when compared to VMware vSAN, is that StarWind Virtual SAN requires a lot of network interfaces in order to provide the same data replication and node redundancy features.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have never encountered any bug or problem that would bring the cluster down.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are very happy with scaling, especially regarding licensing.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is very responsive, helpful, and friendly.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We did not use a different solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a bit hard to do by ourselves as there are many moving pieces and tools to operate. However, support helped us a lot with setting everything up.

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

I'd advise users to consider the scalability of the project as licensing can become a problem with competitors' products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did ook at VMware vSAN.

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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Bern Farrant - PeerSpot reviewer
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 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.
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IT Director at Marion County R-II School
Real User
Top 20
Good performance, data replication and shared storage capability reduces downtime, and the GUI works well
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution enables us to make better cost-effective use of our existing hardware and leverage the current infrastructure at a higher level than we could before."
  • "This product would benefit from having automated alerting functionality."

What is our primary use case?

We are using this to replicate the onboard disks from our Hyper-V Hosts (Dell T640 Servers) for both replication/data protection, but most importantly, to function as shared storage enabling us to have a functional Hyper-V cluster with failover through the shared storage without needing to purchase oversized and pricey dedicated SAN hardware.

This solution enables us to make better cost-effective use of our existing hardware and leverage the current infrastructure at a higher level than we could before.

How has it helped my organization?

The data replication and shared storage have enabled us to dramatically reduce unplanned and planned downtime. With our Hyper-V cluster now able to do automatic failovers of our Virtual Machines, we have reduced the effects of reboots that would have interrupted access before.

We have also noticed performance benefits with this new deployment over the previous configuration that was implemented. This has also allowed us to increase our storage capacity by adding more cost-effective disks rather than pricier SAN solutions.   

What is most valuable?

As a technical admin, the GUI is a nice bonus that allows sometimes faster actions rather than going into the CLI. A great benefit in my current solution is showing off GUI configurations and monitoring to our non-technical administration in the school and helping them understand implementations and values from that.

What needs improvement?

This product would benefit from having automated alerting functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

We deployed StarWind Virtual SAN in March of 2021.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great, so proper sizing makes entering into the solution easy and without waste. We should not exceed the scalability options available.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been very impressed with the support team. Every encounter I have had has been quickly responded to with both the right person and the needed solution. I feel very confident that they are available and accessible if any issue arises that I need to get help addressing or just ensuring my configuration is best practices.

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

We did not use another similar solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and guided by a very knowledgeable engineer on their team.

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

This solution is very accessible and the pro-level for support is well worth the cost. 

What other advice do I have?

Other than automated alerting, there is no real product feature that I feel would be useful to us. We have had no issues with the software as is. There are no gaps that we have had to fill in with other solutions or challenges that have caused us to redesign or change our intended implementations.

I have installed a few updates from the initial installation and found that process to be quite easy and successful each time as well. I look forward to seeing how they may innovate in the future and bring benefits we have not considered.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free StarWind Virtual SAN Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
Updated: September 2022
Buyer's Guide
Download our free StarWind Virtual SAN Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.