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Anton Arutyunyan
Head of Software Development Department at Everest
Real User
Top 5
Reliable, cost-effective, and offers high performance replication for redundancy in clusters
Pros and Cons
  • "StarWind vSAN is a great solution to create a redundant two-node-only Hyper-V cluster, both for domain or workgroup scenarios."
  • "Being able to run StarWind vSAN on top of any free UNIX operating system to build a resilient iSCSI/FTP/SMB storage system would be useful."

What is our primary use case?

Our company, an IT integrator in Ukraine, conducted a pilot deployment of five two-node Hyper-V failover clusters with CSV build with VSAN for Microsoft Hyper-V. Each cluster consisted of only two hardware nodes with redundant 10Gb/s direct DAC links (no switch) and 1Gb/s uplinks. After four months of testing, we have no doubt in using this exact solution in our customer’s production environment.

We are going to deploy three similar installations this year. Also, we are planning to test the new VSAN for VMware vSphere.

How has it helped my organization?

Being able to create reliable virtual environments with less hardware and no need to pay for expensive enterprise or datacenter grade software. This expends our portfolio with a solution for those customers with low budgets and a lack of highly qualified administrators.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • Clear licensing model;
  • Rich PowerShell integration for scripting and testing;
  • No need for RAID controller-level mirroring and BBU. Thus we significantly increase effective storage space and speed;
  • Great synchronous replication speed in addition to RAM volume cache;
  • Reliable failover solution with MPIO which requires just two servers running Windows Server 2019, Standard edition.

What needs improvement?

If we could get more within its price, it would be useful to:

  • Be able to collect operational logs with external dedicated syslog or SNMP servers;
  • Be able to encrypt separate LUNs/iSCSI targets with a key stored on external KMS/KMIP servers;
  • Being able to run StarWind vSAN on top of any free UNIX operating system to build a resilient iSCSI/FTP/SMB storage system would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for four months.

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

Previously, we had to use Storage Spaces Direct or VMware vSAN for similar projects. Those two are worth mentioning, but they are more expensive and have a larger administrative footprint.  

How was the initial setup?

Fast and simple installation using GUI with all required manuals, video guides, and a great support team explaining every step of a process. There is no need for highly qualified professionals.

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

The cost, including OPEX, is lower compared to other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

StarWind vSAN is a great solution to create a redundant two-node-only Hyper-V cluster, both for domain or workgroup scenarios.

You should be totally sure to avoid "split brain" in a two-node clustering with a redundant heartbeat, but without any external witness/arbitrator it is not against the solution`s concept.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Technical Department Manager at ACS SA
Real User
Cost-effective, high-performance, and good technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "High Availability is the best feature of product."
  • "Maybe in the future, the replication will be supported in more cloud providers."

What is our primary use case?

StarWind VSAN software was easily deployed on the commodity hardware and integrated into the existing IT infrastructure.

We have used in HyperConvergence and Citrix XenServer installations without any problem.

With our customized hardware, we have very good IOPS and throughput.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has allowed the company to create an HA virtual server environment satisfying budget restrictions and reliability requirements. VM live migration was ensured by StarWind VSAN as well, thanks to building a failover cluster.

The price of StarWind VSAN was another tidbit.

On top of all of this, the StarWind Support Team did everything to ensure that the IT infrastructure was up and running as quickly as possible.

What is most valuable?

High Availability is the best feature of product. You have redundancy of storage systems at a competitive price. All other storage solutions are very expensive and without redundancy and if you have it the price is very high.

Additionally, the feature of asynchronous replication, both for on-site and off-site systems is very competitive. Also the support of LSFS file system is very good.

What needs improvement?

Maybe in the future, the replication will be supported in more cloud providers.

I don't think there are features that this product doesn't have it. It has all of the things that a system engineer will want.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution has excellent stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is excellent.

How are customer service and technical support?

In one problem that I with the performance, they gave me a solution very quickly using a remote session.

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

Before our StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) deployment, we had NetApp, IBM DS Series, and HP StorageWorks MSA1000 storage systems.

They have low performance and no replication (is very expensive).

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this solution in-house.

What was our ROI?

The ROI for this solution is very good.

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

This solution has competitive prices and the implementation is very easy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options. We have only classic storage and filers.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this solution because it gives me flexibility and expandability.

It works like a charm without any problem or concern.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
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reviewer1238652
User at a tech services company
Real User
Highly available with no downtime, easy to deploy, good support
Pros and Cons
  • "Using our own choice of HW allowed us to price our service to answer our customers' needs."
  • "Performance when in storage-separate configuration needs to be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We needed a SAN to support our environment comprised at the time of two Hyper-V 2012 Clusters. We're now migrating to Hyper-V 2019 and we had no issues with the migration from the storage. We use SATA NL and SSD to give our VMs different performance tiers.

Update: We finished the migration and moved all storage iSCSI comms to Mellanox. We have had 0 issues with Starwind. 

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind allowed us to deploy SSD storage with very high availabilty at a good price at a time where all other vendors were pushing huge premiums on SSDs. We were also able to deploy different storage tiers with no issues, which was very important to our solution.

What is most valuable?

Using our own choice of HW allowed us to price our service to answer our customers' needs.

The high availability made sure we never had downtime from it.

Having twin nodes has made maintenance and upgrades easy.

Support has always been great with issues and planning.

What needs improvement?

Performance when in storage-separate configuration needs to be improved.

The virtualization layers and not having the storage on the same node as compute take a lot of the IOPS we could have on an HCI scenario, but we grew out of it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution since 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution itself is simple and having two separate hosts gives it great availability. There is no single point of failure apart from the software itself and while we had some issues we never lost both nodes.

We only came close when Microsoft introduced a bug that crashed our hosts if they had pending iSCSI connections, and you have those if a node is not synced.

How are customer service and technical support?

No issues.

They solved our problems, validated our configurations and roadmap, and suggested improvements.

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

Prior to this solution, we used HPE MSA. We wanted easier tiering, better performance, and not to have everything on one "box".

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was simple. We chose our HW, validated with support, and had them help configure them.

It's easy to understand and to deploy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated solutions by HPE, EMC, and NetApp.

What other advice do I have?

We're satisfied with the features available.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Davide Bozzelli
System Engineer & IT Manager at General Computer Italia
Real User
Top 10
Improved data redundancy by avoiding storage vendor locking and improves the performance and availability of our Customer Service
Pros and Cons
  • "The ability to run the software virtually on every virtualization platform and the ability to eliminate all storage vendor locking are the most valuable features."
  • "Management tools could be improved, sometimes the usage seems to be slowed down and confusing. A native web interface could also be an option. I love to see in the future port of the software on a general Linux distribution like RedHat or Ubuntu in order to avoid windows license costs. I would also like to see features like erasure coding implemented. On the VSAN software, I would like to see some improvements in the storage pools (eliminate the usage of the file as a data container and use the raw partition)."

What is our primary use case?

I'm running StarWind VSAN in an Hypercoverged virtualization cluster. The capability of running the software on top of a general windows os gives me the ability to create a fully redundant SAN solution on almost every virtualization platform. I'm using the software to provide core infrastructure services like AD, DNS, DHCP to my users. Every service is automatically fully redudant thanks to VSAN and in the event one host goes down VMs will be automatically restarted on a second node with a little downtime.

How has it helped my organization?

The product improves my company's data redundancy by avoiding storage vendor locking and improves the performance and availability of our Customer's Services. We don't need at all of the expensive storage appliances like EMC or HP by using standard x86 servers to provide the same level of data security. We could then lower the prices of hardware support contracts by simply using StarWind VSAN on top servers like Dell PowerEdge or HP ProLiant. The ability to sync data on two servers gives users a perfect disaster recovery plan at almost no cost.

What is most valuable?

  • The ability to run the software virtually on every virtualization platform and the ability to eliminate all storage vendor locking are the most valuable features. 
  • The capability of creating a hot copy of my data on another piece of hardware and continually sync it. 
  • The ability to increase the performance of reads and writes thanks to data caching and load balancing on the two hardware nodes. 
  • The capability to implement an asynchronous replication on the third node outside my main data center in order to create a disaster recovery solution.

What needs improvement?

Management tools could be improved, sometimes the usage seems to be slowed down and confusing. A native web interface could also be an option. I love to see in the future port of the software on a general Linux distribution like RedHat or Ubuntu in order to avoid windows license costs. I would also like to see features like erasure coding implemented. On the VSAN software, I would like to see some improvements in the storage pools (eliminate the usage of the file as a data container and use the raw partition).

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the product for two years.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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

What is our primary use case?

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

How has it helped my organization?

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

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

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

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the product for over 3 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no stability problems whatsoever.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is always available and helpful

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

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

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was supported by Starwind. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at DataCore.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Norman Allen
Head of Information Technology at Baker Tilly BVI & Baker Tilly Cayman
Real User
Top 5
A simple to use, cost-effective replacement for our physical SAN that has reliable storage replication
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the reliable storage replication, which enables me to create a robust infrastructure to run our business."
  • "I wish the sync after a failure, such as hardware failure or power-related issues, for example, was faster."

What is our primary use case?

StarWind Virtual SAN, along with two Fujitsu Primergy servers, forms the backbone of our hyper-converged solution. This storage, network, and compute solution is used for our Hyper-V cluster. From this cluster, we run all of our virtual servers, which in turn run our business-critical infrastructure. This includes domain controllers, file servers, database servers, application servers, and everything to support it.

How has it helped my organization?

We once operated with a physical SAN, several servers, along with the networking equipment and the required fiber-channel infrastructure.

StarWind Virtual SAN allowed us to eliminate the need for any physical SANs. We also got rid of the expensive fiber-channel equipment. Now, we just have two servers that form the StarWind nodes and that's it!

All of our storage, networking that includes 1GB and 10GB Ethernet, and compute power are all housed in the StarWind Virtual SAN solution. 

It's simple and very reliable.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reliable storage replication, which enables me to create a robust infrastructure to run our business.

Presenting Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) from StarWind Virtual SAN to Hyper-V simplifies my storage management and reduces costs vs having a physical SAN.  

What needs improvement?

If a node goes offline unexpectedly, a re-sync between the nodes takes place in order to ensure data integrity.  This sync, though necessary, can take several hours.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have had StarWind Virtual SAN for nearly four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've now been using StarWind Virtual SAN for over 7 years.  While I have had underlying hardware go bad during this time, the Virtual SAN never failed.  I have replaced an entire hardware node with zero downtime.  It's rock solid.  

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

Prior to adopting StarWind Virtual SAN, I had multiple Dell Equallogic SAN devices.  When it was time to replace the Equallogic with new hardware, the costs were unjustifiable after learning about and evaluating StarWind Virtual SAN.  

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.
IT Specialist at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Eliminates the need for other physical shared storage
Pros and Cons
  • "It's quite easy to install."
  • "Updating the software can be a bit tricky."

What is our primary use case?

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

What needs improvement?

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

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

For how long have I used the solution?

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

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

How are customer service and technical support?

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

How was the initial setup?

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

What about the implementation team?

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

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

I think the cost of this solution is quite fair.

What other advice do I have?

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

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

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

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
Tech Support Manager at National Health Fund
User
Simple to set up, easy to configure and manage and allows us to achieve storage redundancy
My organization has been using StarWind for about two years. We use it as a storage solution for our virtual environment. It is used to provide a High Availability cluster. We found this to be the best option for us as we have a myriad of servers, some applications, some SQL, some web, etc. Using this solution has allowed us to use virtual services to achieve our business objectives The solutions use span our entire organization. It gives us the ability to use existing hardware in a cost-effective manner. PROS vSAN we found was simple to set up, easy to configure and manage and allows us to achieve storage redundancy. CONS I see no need for major improvements but there could be some improvements in the form of notifications and the simplifying of maintenance mode.

My organization has been using StarWind for about two years.

We use it as a storage solution for our virtual environment.

It is used to provide a High Availability cluster. We found this to be the best option for us as we have a myriad of servers, some applications, some SQL, some web, etc. Using this solution has allowed us to use virtual services to achieve our business objectives

The solutions use span our entire organization. It gives us the ability to use existing hardware in a cost-effective manner.

PROS

vSAN we found was simple to set up, easy to configure and manage and allows us to achieve storage redundancy.

CONS

I see no need for major improvements but there could be some improvements in the form of notifications and the simplifying of maintenance mode.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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