What is our primary use case?
We provide managed web hosting services, including dedicated servers in physical or virtual configurations, for various customers, including small, medium, and large companies. We started hosting operations in 1995 and operated our own hosting infrastructure in data centers in North Carolina and Virginia, USA.
Our infrastructure included physical and virtual hosting environments based on VMware, which is where our StarWind Virtual SANs were deployed.
How has it helped my organization?
With our growing needs and customer requirements and demand, we added virtualization to our infrastructure, based on VMware. Storage requirements for the virtualized infrastructure also grew rapidly. We explored all available options, from hyper-converged solutions to the large "big name" solutions. Our infrastructure was too big for hyper-converged solutions. However, we were not ready for the major investments that a full-sized storage infrastructure would need. StarWind's offerings were a perfect fit for us, and remain so until today, almost ten years later.
What is most valuable?
Prior to StarWind, we were using "local storage" with each hypervisor, and this had many drawbacks, including size limitations, performance, technical management, and redundancy.
With StarWind Virtual SAN, we could easily deploy and manage the storage solutions, add additional storage servers when needed, implement automated redundancy and failover, and scale storage allocations as and when needed, including adding high-performance SSD solutions alongside traditional hard disk solutions.
The Windows-based StarWind GUI is easy to use and understand and integrates seamlessly with VMware's vSphere portal as well.
What needs improvement?
While it is possible to implement disk encryption in StarWind using Windows Bitlocker, such a solution can be a little tricky to manage, for example, when servers are rebooted. Bitlocker solutions require a physical presence in the data center to enter the encryption string on the server's physical console.
Built-in "Data at Rest" encryption would be an important need, especially for customers with sensitive compliance requirements e.g. Government customers, healthcare customers, eCommerce customers, and many other compliance-sensitive application areas.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using the StarWind Virtual SAN product since 2014.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
StarWind Virtual SAN is very scalable, simply by adding additional Windows servers and installing the StarWind Virtual SAN software on it.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not previously use a different solution.
What was our ROI?
Compared to similar solutions from NetApp etc., our savings were likely in the tens of thousands of dollars over the years, and we did not need to pay for features that we do not need.
We were very happy and impressed with StarWind's products and the technical support from StarWind's support team. If and when we needed assistance, StarWind's tech support has been very responsive, thorough, and very helpful.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We found the licensing costs and pricing to be very affordable and manageable.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at big-name solutions such as NetApp, Cisco, and others.
What other advice do I have?
Our storage infrastructure had been operating flawlessly with great performance and reliability.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.