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Technical Helpdesk Manager at PurpleJelly Ltd
User
Top 20
Great redundancy, good replication fine-tuning, and excellent support
Pros and Cons
  • "It enables us to provide more solution options for our clients, with the reassurance that, when implemented, they will be efficient and stable."
  • "For me, the product could be improved by it being made cheaper."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for StarWind vSAN has been to reinforce networks for our clients in a two-node Hyper V setup by utilizing the Hyperconverged configuration. This enables us to create a failover cluster for a cheaper cost than purchasing a physical SAN (plus adds more redundancy as you technically get two vSANs as each host becomes a vSAN). The Failover Cluster then allows us to live-migrate Virtual Machines when required, for example, for maintenance, or in the event that we suffer hardware failure on one of the hosts.

How has it helped my organization?

It enables us to provide more solution options for our clients, with the reassurance that, when implemented, they will be efficient and stable. Unfortunately, due to the cost of it and the size of our clients, we find that we can't always use it. However, it's an option that we know is always available and one that we'd leap to recommend if the scenario can fit it. Personally, it's something I'd always want to implement, as, without it, most clients with two Hyper V hosts can only replicate virtual machines and not live migrate. 

What is most valuable?

The extra redundancy in a two-node hyper-converged setup has been the most valuable feature. If we wanted this with an actual SAN, we'd need to purchase not only one but two SANs and enable replication between the two. With StarWind, you get the vSAN replicated between the two hosts out of the box. The vSAN also offers fine-tuning options for the replication between these hosts. For example, if there was a host failure and we were to run off one for a period of time, once the secondary host is recovered, it will need to resync with the one that stayed up so that the data is up to date. You can choose whether to prioritize the replication speed or performance of the virtual machines. 

What needs improvement?

For me, the product could be improved by it being made cheaper. We can't use this as an option for some of our smaller clients. Being able to replicate RAM between the hosts would be a nice feature so that VMs could be live-migrated fully in the event of a full host failure. Currently, the vSAN offers the ability to live-migrate the virtual machine as the VHD is on shared storage, however, if the virtual machine were to be rebooted, it would lose the running configuration (e.g. memory, etc). If this could also be live-migrated, that would be gold. 

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StarWind Virtual SAN
September 2022
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For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for two years.

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

We didn't have another solution previously. This was our first vSAN experience.

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

I tend to deal with the technical side more and stay away from the pricing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I can't recall seeing anything else that caught my eye.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, I really enjoy this product. It's easy to use and support is fantastic.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Director of IT at Kelly Aerospace, Inc.
User
Top 10
Outstanding support, great redundancy, and easy to use
Pros and Cons
  • "The price was right."
  • "Though I have learned some of the nuances with the upgrading of firmware/windows/etc., it would be nice to have a more efficient method of doing so."

What is our primary use case?

StarWind is used as our primary physical server with nine VMs. This serves different locations around the US. 

One application is shared using RDS where as before it was being shared using individual pcs for each remote user. This caused major issues with data integrity.

Also with the two-node environment, not only are we benefitting from the redundancy, we are able to load balance between the servers. This allowed us to bring our hosted ERP environment in house. 

The price was right. It is very hard to beat this system! 

How has it helped my organization?

We had a very dated infrastructure. One that had been a hodge-podge over many years with no clear direction or future needs planning. 

I was brought on board to correct this and give us some growing room in the future. As the business continues to grow at this time, redundancy/DR planning became a significant focus as well.

StarWind, with a low-cost two-node HCA system, was truly turnkey.

With the redundancy and efficiency of the software and servers, we are running better than ever, with room to grow.

What is most valuable?

The ease of use of the system overall. If you don't understand something or need any help at all, support is there. I cannot speak highly enough to the value the support team offers. They are very knowledgeable and willing to help. They work on your time, not theirs. I agree with some other reviews that they can be hard to understand at times, however, they are more than willing to make sure you understand. 

The redundancy is a big factor. As a very small IT department, that gives us the peace of mind needed as well as knowing that support is there to help me through any glitches.

What needs improvement?

Though I have learned some of the nuances with the upgrading of firmware/windows/etc., it would be nice to have a more efficient method of doing so. Though truthfully, it's not bad.

I have had to call support to help me through some of the updates, so I know they are done right.

A missed SSD update caused a few headaches. That said, thanks to support, no data loss occurred, and considering the issue, we had minimal downtime.

Overall, I find StarWind above par and am excited to see what they think of next.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for 1.5 years.

How are customer service and support?

Support is nothing but stellar. The support staff is very knowledgeable and willing to help.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it through a vendor team. The experience was extremely positive!

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

The initial cost included setup, and it was genuinely turnkey. It would be hard to find a lower-cost solution that offers what Starwind offers.

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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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.
632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Christopher Morley - PeerSpot reviewer
Founder and Consultant at Unified Microsystems (UAE, Philippines)
Real User
Great technical and installation support with great high availability
Pros and Cons
  • "Given the high availability of the server cluster, we were able to reduce separate physical servers onto one hyper-converged cluster - this saved in OPEX and CAPEX costs immediately, along with licensing costs of the Windows Server licenses."
  • "The documentation could be clearer in terms of explaining the installation."

What is our primary use case?

The product is for clients who require high availability of their servers, from file servers and domain controllers, through to line of business applications.

I've done installations of two-node HA clusters running Windows Server Hyper-V. With the HA cluster we then ran virtual machines, both Windows Desktop, Windows Server, CentOS and Ubuntu. We have installed on pysical servers with both DELL PowerEdge and HP Proliant server hardware (Windows clustering requires exact server hardware to be matched - so two-node DELL, and two-node HP).

How has it helped my organization?

As an MSP, stability is important for our clients. StarWind's virtual SAN solution has allowed us to have an always-on architecture allowing survivability of hardware failure. We install it for all clients who need high availability of their virtual servers on-premise.

Given the high availability of the server cluster, we were able to reduce separate physical servers onto one hyper-converged cluster - this saved in OPEX and CAPEX costs immediately, along with licensing costs of the Windows Server licenses.

What is most valuable?

We have multiple sites running StarWindws Virtual SAN, which have been running for years without any issue.

The thing that impressed me the most about the product is the technical support from the vendor. Everyone knows the benefit of high-availability clusters, but setting one up and reading the documentation is an enormous task in itself.

With StarWind Virtual SAN and the installation support, we have high-availability clusters running within a couple of hours. This has been repeated over and over on many customer sites, so they have their process perfected in this regard.

What needs improvement?

The documentation could be clearer in terms of explaining the installation, although I will make two comments on this.

The high availability of virtual SAN is by its very nature not a simple drop-in thing, so the documentation will understandably be complex.

Secondly, the installation process is completely guided and done remotely by StarWind certified installation engineers, who handle all aspects.

Given the above, the only thing I can really say needs improvement is that I am not keen on the pricing per storage tier model, however, understand this is a common model charged.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've done multiple client installations over five years.

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

No, there was no other solution that we have tried.

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

Consider how much space you will need as pricing is per node and data.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, we found the price point compelling, which led to immediately trying StarWinds versus traditional SAN costs from DELL and HP, etc.

What other advice do I have?

Overall it has been a great product and company to work with for the past five years and many more to come.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an MSP and resell StarWinds Virtual SAN as one of our technology vendors for our customers.
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reviewer1423983 - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Manager at North Valley Health Center
Real User
Top 10
Impressive speed performance and high availability has improved our user experience
Pros and Cons
  • "Speed and high availability have been the most valuable for us."
  • "I think the setup could be streamlined a bit."

What is our primary use case?

We use this product in our VMWare vSphere environment.

We use vSphere 7 Enterprise Plus and have a four host system. All four hosts have matching solid-state storage in a raid 10 array. We have two pairs acting as sync pairs so that one host in each pair can fail before we lose access to the VMs on those hosts. They are connected via 40GB redundant links for both iSCSI and sync.

We have really tried to focus on both speed and redundancy and feel that this setup was the best way to accomplish that goal.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has translated to a huge improvement in speed and high availability compared to our old iSCSI shared storage solution. Previously, we had a network-attached storage device with tiered arrays. Part of it was a standard spinning disk and the other was solid-state drives.

With this new solid-state local storage, we have massively improved our user experience.

The sync functionality is amazing as well, compared to our old replication system, in that it happens in realtime as data is written so that high availability is as fast as possible.

What is most valuable?

Speed and high availability have been the most valuable for us. Again, I would say the speed for our users has been extremely valuable. I wouldn't say it was terrible before but you know it's fast when normal, non-tech-savvy users are asking if we upgraded something because some local database app feels faster today!

From a business continuity standpoint, I love how it has improved our failover processes in vSphere. Having the data replicate in real time between host pairs has almost completely automated the process. 

What needs improvement?

I think the setup could be streamlined a bit. I was already familiar with iSCSI and setting up shared storage, but the abstraction process of getting from configuring the raid array on the local host machine, and making sure all the correct values are set to get the best performance, was a bit finicky.

Then, you had to prepare the appliances on each host and again make sure your VMDKs are properly formatted and then mounted correctly so they can be shared as iSCSI disks. It just felt like a lot of opportunities for a user to make big mistakes that would affect the end performance.

I was very impressed with the tech who walked me through the whole process, as I'm just not sure I would have gotten there on my own. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for five months.

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

I did not use another solution prior to this one.

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

I think the bang for the buck is much better with StarWind Virtual SAN.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated VMware vSAN.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Luca Bertellini - PeerSpot reviewer
Cardio Solution Architect EMEA at General Electric
Real User
Top 10
Great features with excellent support and very good pricing
Pros and Cons
  • "The license price is one of the cheapest in the market."
  • "I would like an automated installation/configuration despite the fact that their service is very collaborative, a customer should be able to deploy the solution by themselves."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case we had was covering with StarWind vSAN was to provide customers with a redundant solution that was able to guarantee flexibility. In terms of physical storage, we can aggregate in order to provide a redundant, replicated solution. At the same time, we were looking to keep the total cost of ownership as low as possible as the customer may have multiple venues to cover with the same schema of the system. 

With StarWind vSAN we were able to set a simple 2-node cluster leveraging the internal disks to create a replicated vSAN - eliminating any SPOF at a reasonable price.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind, compared to other competitors in the market and in the same range of price, allows us to design system plans with the resilience of enterprise-grade storage, however, we are able to use smaller storage even at the consumer level. This makes us more competitive as the total price of the offered solution was comparable to a usual non-HA system yet with all the resilience features that StarWind is bringing with its product. This combination of low price with enterprise-grade HA features is key in the market.

What is most valuable?

There are tons of valuable features that StarWind vSAN brings to the table. It is very difficult to choose one to be raised as a role model.

The unique capability to create a vSAN on a 2-node cluster while all the other competitors will require users to have at least an external witness to set the Virtual SAN.

The service team is very collaborative and skilled and followed us from the implementation to the go-live of the system constantly.

The license price is one of the cheapest in the market.

What needs improvement?

The price is the key aspect (yet not at the expense of reliability and stability). It is not so easy to find an aspect where StarWind can improve their offering or any additional feature they can include for the price they ask. 

I know that StarWind can scale out easily, however, I wasn't in the position to test that. I would like an automated installation/configuration despite the fact that their service is very collaborative, a customer should be able to deploy the solution by themselves. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for more than one year.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test the scalability aspect.

How was the initial setup?

As it was driven by StarWind reps, it was running very smoothly.

What about the implementation team?

There's nothing to finger point on the StarWind team. They were great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated StorMagic, VMware vSAN, and 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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Adam Charlton - PeerSpot reviewer
DevOps Engineer at Slimming World
Real User
Top 10
Good performance gains, a painless setup, and fantastic support
Pros and Cons
  • "Immediately we noticed huge performance gains, even on older hardware and once we implemented a 10GB link between both servers, the sync was near-instant after the initial sync was complete."
  • "The logs can also become very noisy when there is an issue, which is very infrequent."

What is our primary use case?

After deploying a HA SQL Failover Cluster, we started to notice performance issues due to our storage, which was an off-the-shelf NAS.

I had already heard about StarWind and its VSAN software from previous blogs.

A VSAN solution seems like an ideal solution as we already had the hardware, minus the disks required. We already had two Dell R540's with six available bays in each server.

After reviewing their documentation, the setup process was simple enough to follow and so I decided to run a little test environment.

How has it helped my organization?

I was pleasantly surprised by the performance gains even on spinning disks and the overall setup being fairly painless.

I decided to go ahead with this solution, got the cost signed off, and implemented it in production.

We had some initial issues, however, their support was extremely helpful in resolving these and was very patient as we deployed this to a secure environment with no internet access. Yet they still offered support and worked closely with a single point of contact.

I then later moved to a different company and implement a similar solution in the Oracle Cloud using their free offering, again this was simple to set up using their collection of PowerShell scripts.

What is most valuable?

Immediately we noticed huge performance gains, even on older hardware and once we implemented a 10GB link between both servers, the sync was near-instant after the initial sync was complete.

In addition, their support contact was fantastic. They spent several hours troubleshooting an issue with me and due to the complexity of our environment this only made it more challenging, yet they were persistent and helped resolved any issues

Additionally, their white papers were a great starting point to get started.

What needs improvement?

The forums can lead to lots of topics with no resolutions.

The logs can also become very noisy when there is an issue, which is very infrequent. However, when they do occur, it makes it very challenging to figure out what the cause is.

A feature that would be helpful, is a way to update the software automatically on all the hosts. Instead, you must find the download link, which in itself can be challenging, and then manually upgrade each server one by one. This process can take a while depending on the time to resync your VDISKS. 

For how long have I used the solution?

For about 3 years, in which I deployed it in 2 companies.

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

Previously we were using a Synology NAS

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

Try the free version and see if it meets your requirements. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did look at purchasing EqualLogic, however, the cost of that hardware would be far greater than StarWind's

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

What is our primary use case?

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

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

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

How has it helped my organization?

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

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

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

What is most valuable?

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

What needs improvement?

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

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of StarWind Virtual SAN is very good.

How are customer service and technical support?

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

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

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

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

What about the implementation team?

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

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

The StarWind VSAN business model is very cost-effective.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated VMware vSAN and StorMagic.

What other advice do I have?

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

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Jordi - PeerSpot reviewer
Netwerkbeheerder at a construction company with 201-500 employees
User
Robust and easy to manage with great support
Pros and Cons
  • "Starwind support is excellent. They are very fast and have very good knowledge of Starwind and Hyper-V Cluster software."
  • "If it's possible to make a driver/solution that does not make use of the iSCSI targets of Windows, that would be great. I don't know if that's possible, however, it could make the configuration a little easier."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Starwind as a virtual SAN Solution for our Microsoft Hyper-V Cluster environment. We have multiple clusters in a couple of different locations over the country. 

We wanted a robust HA environment that could run all of our servers on one node without the need for a third witness and without multiple other SAN appliances that need to be managed by a small IT team. We want to make a HA solution with a KIS (Keep it Simple) approach and Starwind has managed to accomplish this for a reasonable price.

How has it helped my organization?

We were previously using HP Storevirtual which was very hard to configure and support and the performance was very bad, plus updating was horrible.

We wanted a simple robust easy-to-manage HA software and have been using a Starwind Virtual SAN (vSAN) at two production locations with a Hyper-V Cluster for almost five years now. It has given us very good performance and hasn't had any issues in the past few years.

Starwind support is excellent. They are very fast and have very good knowledge of Starwind and Hyper-V Cluster software.

What is most valuable?

What we like best about it is that it is the only true two-node Hyper-V cluster solution that's available. On both production locations, we have a two-node setup over two different server rooms.

Our main goal was that we wanted to have all VM servers available on one cluster host in case of a disaster in one of our server rooms.

Microsoft SSD (Storage Space Direct) always needs a third witness (SMB or Cloud), however, in our two-node solution, this is not ideal. Directly connected fiber connections between the nodes make everything fast and make the chance of a cluster split-brain fault less likely.

Pros include:
- Starwind Support will install and configure the software;
- Starwind will do the updates for you, and this all without any downtime of hosts/VMs
- It's the only a two-node cluster scenario available
- It is compatible with the latest Windows Server versions

What needs improvement?

I don't think there is much change needed with Starwind vSAN. The product works very well as it is. I haven't got any new features that I would like to add. 

If it's possible to make a driver/solution that does not make use of the iSCSI targets of Windows, that would be great. I don't know if that's possible, however, it could make the configuration a little easier.

The support is excellent and all the people I've contacted have good knowledge of the product. There is nothing to change there. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've had eight years of experience with the product, and five years of using it at my current company.

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