reviewer1493754 - PeerSpot reviewer
Informatics Analyst III at University of Alabama at Birmingham
Real User
Top 10
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.

Buyer's Guide
StarWind Virtual SAN
November 2022
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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 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.
PeerSpot user
User
Top 20
Great functionality and performance with a variety of services
Pros and Cons
  • "The features that I found most valuable are ease of use of the software that StarWind offers - with the first setup being a bit painful."
  • "When you will cease your contract with StarWind (for support) your product won't be updated and that is a big selling point, especially for us, as we have loads of products from StarWind."

What is our primary use case?

We found StarWind when trying to look for a hybrid storage space that could handle various physical hardware as well as virtual operating systems.

Upon first contacting the company, the sales and technical demo were superb compared to other products and they clearly explained and showed us a live demo of our potential environment.

The whole purchase process was swift and followed up by calls and emails from their team.

Compared to other products that we looked at, the cost-saving was so great that choosing StarWind was a no-brainer.

When I need something urgently and very technical, I get the answer back that I want. I don't have to battle through with a first liner that tells me to "turn it off and on again".

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has improved our organization by:

1. The variety of services offered

2. The financial viability compared to the services offered

3. Product functionality and performance is suitable for our organization

4. The strong consultation accessibility for customers that wish to discuss the product first with their experts and start the process how they like it, not how the company wants it to

5. The support team has the expertise of a strong service in the products that their customers have purchased

6. StarWinds, in general, has a strong user community that offers help on forums and other sites

7. The company has a firm customer focus keeping in touch with us at all times, even after purchasing the initial product after two years

What is most valuable?

The features that I found most valuable are ease of use of the software that StarWind offers - with the first setup being a bit painful. However, now that we have a handle on it, it saves a great ton of time on management and caring about the hardware part of it as all it is is a software-based solution. I love managing the cluster that we have set up via the Virtual Storage Attached Network device, with the Web Management being so simple yet packed with all the features that I require. The management of the traffic and the speeds are awesome as well.

What needs improvement?

Some users have commented on online forums and others that the documentation and KB articles could be clearer or better written. However, I found this to be the case a couple of years ago. Now, in 2022, this has been rectified and you can usually find the information that you are looking for.

Another problem that we have come across is that when you will cease your contract with StarWind (for support) your product won't be updated and that is a big selling point, especially for us, as we have loads of products from StarWind.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the product for around two years now.

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

We previously used the standard SAN hardware solution from a big IT company - we switched to basically save on hardware costs and maintenance.

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

The initial setup cost will be great, especially with the new hardware. The StarWind pricing isn't that expensive compared to others, however, there are yearly maintenance costs to be aware of.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we had a look at Lenovo XClarity as well as Nutanix AOS and VMWare vSAN.

What other advice do I have?

I'd advise new users to not hesitate and just go ahead with it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
StarWind Virtual SAN
November 2022
Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
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Jethro Morais - PeerSpot reviewer
Sys Admin at FDC - Fundação Dom Cabral
Real User
Reliable with good support and high availability
Pros and Cons
  • "It provided the much-needed HA on an extremely low budget."
  • "The documentation can be better for the free tier."

What is our primary use case?

In our remote offices, we have two servers on VMware. With no HA for the 10 VMs, StarWind VSAN came to use to address this need. As I had previous experience with it and truly believed that this was the best option, I set up our first remote site and used it for three months on a test. I used that time to gather information on my company's use and tested fail-over, replication, and sync. I was concerned about network usage for replication in my company due to the volume of VMs and data modification needed to replicate; it turns out it was never an issue.

How has it helped my organization?

It provided the much-needed HA on an extremely low budget. 

There was always a need to have HA in our remote offices. However, it was never addressed due to a lack of budget. For a time, we experienced faults due to failing hardware, and, finally, when the budget allowed, we started using StarWind vSAN and never experienced outages again. 

As we adopted StarWind vSAN we also replaced some hardware that was the root cause of our problems. Nevertheless, StarWind vSAN provided me the certainty of reliability and much-needed tranquility to sleep again.

What is most valuable?

The reliability is the most valuable aspect of the solution. It does not need constant babysitting as it is stable as you need it to be. In our company, the team is small, and we do not have the time to keep checking everything all the time. As unadvised as it is, I simply do not have time to always monitor and check. With this product, I have gone months without even accessing the management console. Support is also reliable, and it is necessary to know you can trust it! I've not used it much; however, the few times that I did, it provided me with the help and guidance I needed.

What needs improvement?

The documentation can be better for the free tier. I've learned that in my home lab. To be fair, I cannot imagine anyone that will use this without performing several tests beforehand. Overall, documentation can be more explanatory and straightforward. That said, it is not bad, it just can be better.

I honestly like that the product is simple and does the job well; for the next release, I hope they keep it that way.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for several years now. I've started using the free edition on my home lab and never let it go. I still use it today at home. I'm decommissioning at my company as we are removing the servers of our remote offices.

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

I did not use a different solution. After researching my needs, I found a post guiding the simple home lab test use, and it was good enough. I've tested it, loved it, and never looked back.

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

The setup costs depend on your approach. I like to test everything, and as I do this, I learn. I like to implement everything, so the cost is time allocation in my case. In my company, this is a good investment. As for price and license, there is not much room for negotiation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other options. 

What other advice do I have?

Go for it; it is awesome.

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