We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The most valuable feature of this solution is the support. They are excellent and you can learn a lot from the support team."
"It allows me to configure High Availability and failover clustering with some fault tolerance, at a cost point that doesn’t break the bank for a small business budget."
"A typical system administrator with minimal experience in Hyper-V, VMware, or Windows can do VSAN configuration and maintain VSAN operations."
"When using new (warranty) servers, you can forget about the storage service for several years. The users will not even notice the failure of two servers out of three."
"We have experienced multiple hardware failures at one site and the fault-tolerant volume worked exactly as expected with zero downtime."
"StarWind vSAN is a great solution to create a redundant two-node-only Hyper-V cluster, both for domain or workgroup scenarios."
"It has given the company an almost zero possibility of downtime."
"It has a nice, simple control panel. You can clearly see the state and health of storage along with the synchronization."
"The hardware footprint is perfect. It fits in our rack perfectly, and we were able to condense a lot of physical servers we had. It has greatly eliminated the excess stuff in our server rack..."
"We have the ProActive Premium Support and it has reduced our monitoring efforts. It has been very useful. They have been able to detect things such as when there's an issue with the cluster or they're getting some kind of weird reading that I have no idea about. They're really quick to let me know about it and even set up a schedule to address it. I've been very happy with their level of support on that."
"The software is great. It's very easy to understand. I've not delved into any of the command-line stuff, but there's no real need to script it. Since it went in, pretty much the only thing that I have needed to do is increase device image sizes and that process is very straightforward."
"Overall, the solution has improved our system's performance. I was concerned about the physical-to-virtual conversion of our database server. It's actually much faster now, as a virtualized host on this Hyper-V cluster."
"The most valuable feature is the high-availability. We have three nodes, and all data will be synched instantly through all the nodes. Even if we had a disaster where two nodes failed, containing dozens of critical machines, almost automatically, all the loads would be run on the remaining node."
"The hardware footprint is great. We've got two 2U servers which replaced four 2U servers. Granted, they were about three years old at that point, but we actually increased our processing capacity by about 50 percent while keeping our storage capacity about the same. We've actually been able to downgrade to a half rack from a full rack because we've gotten rid of some of our network equipment and some of our additional storage arrays."
"What makes it valuable is the high-availability. In the education field, when you've got students in classrooms, any loss of service disrupts the lessons to a point that the whole lesson is affected. For part of the business which isn't business-critical, to have a little bit of a hiccup wouldn't be such a big thing, but here, it's the high availability of service that is important."
"The support is the most valuable feature. The support has been amazing. It's around the clock. One of our hard disks accidentally ejected without me knowing or being onsite. They called and told me about it before I had a chance to see it myself."
"VMware vSAN has greatly reduced refresh spending."
"It is more stable now than it was before. It's not like it was in the first year. Now it is stable, and we trust it more."
"It is very easy to set up and very easy to use. It is very useful."
"The deduplication and compression are excellent."
"It uncoupled the idea of proprietary technology and component capabilities. It is basically a proprietary technology for a cost-effective infrastructure."
"The most valuable features are secure IOPs and LAN security."
"It's completely hyper-converged, so it's very convenient."
"Provides good performance as well as integration with deployment tools."
"I wish there was online support because email return takes a long time and a faster solution should be found."
"I would like to see some additional, and possibly clearer, implementation videos with some slower and possibly more detailed descriptions of what the various steps of implementation are for someone who is unfamiliar with high availability and failover clustering in Windows."
"This solution should be more self-sufficient, running without creating domains or failover clusters."
"For the StarWind VSA vSphere solution, I would like to see a simpler and automated virtual machine installation process in terms of network settings."
"If there was one feature I would like to see it would be a built-in subsystem for managing UPS backups shutdown procedures providing a way to initiate VM shutdown on all host servers, shut down the host servers, then put the fault-tolerant mirroring in standby, and finally shut down the StarWind SANs."
"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."
"New versions of this solution should be tested more thoroughly before the release as we had a few problems with one version due to a bug."
"In the next release, they could make some graphs of the real-time loading, speed of storage, and interfaces. Of course, these can be viewed in other places. But, in the event of a malfunction or troubleshooting, this would be convenient."
"I wish I understood what goes into the StarWind software a little bit better. To me, it's kind of magic the way some of it works. As an IT professional, you don't really want things to be magic. I do wish there was a little more "Here's how it works." There could be more documentation given to administrators..."
"We were slightly disappointed with the hardware footprint. We were led to believe, and all the pre-sales tech information requirements pointed to the fact, that it was coming on Dell hardware. Then it came on bulk servers."
"The only critique I might have is that the support is overseas in Eastern Europe and, on occasion, there has been a language issue. But in general, they're as good as can be..."
"At the moment, the initial configuration is very technical and error-prone. That is the reason Starwind does it for you as a service, which is a great thing. But it would be nice if we could change or rearrange storage assignments ourselves."
"That situation, where Dell EMC servers were going down, has been my only real difficulty... it ended up being something that the wider audience of Dell EMC was actually aware of as an issue. Neither the StarWind technicians nor the Dell EMC technicians were able to actually identify that problem sooner than a week or so... The communication between Dell EMC support and StarWind support, in that particular scenario, left something to be desired, for me. I did express those concerns to StarWind and they were very responsive to that."
"There is room for improvement in the setup and installation phase. We had massive problems connecting the StarWind appliances to our network infrastructure. That wasn't necessarily a StarWind problem. I don't know if their business partner in the UK wasn't used to having to deal with the supply of the cabling infrastructure, but that's where the problems started."
"The only real flaw that I have seen so far is this hard drive that was accidentally ejected because when it was received and added back into the RAID. There was an error there. It was not added back into the RAID correctly, so I have an outstanding hard disk. Apparently, a guy just knocked it with his hand as he was in my office, so it was just a small eject. He said that he didn't crash into anything. That is the only thing that has reared its head."
"One area for improvement of the solution is that I had to get Windows, which I really didn't want because of the extra maintenance or overhead, as well as viruses, etc. It's going to take time for them to get their Linux to that point. They already have Linux but it's not as mature and they don't really support it on HCAs. They have it for individuals who want to use it on their servers, but not on HCAs."
"This solution is not great for large file shares/object/rich media repository."
"Disaster recovery needs to be improved, when there is a crisis, there is a problem with what is the quickest way to get out of it."
"If one node out of your ten nodes fails, it takes a lot of time to replicate and rebalance VMware vSAN. This time can be reduced. When a node fails and the data is not accessible, vSAN has to be rebalanced to make the redundancy level of two again. However, if it is taking a lot of time and any other hardware fails during that time, then we have a problem. Two disk failures mean that all data will be lost, and we may have to recover it from the backup. So, the number of threads that run to do the rebalancing could be more so that the time taken to make it fully redundant again is not so much."
"There's a lot that can be done to segregate. That may be available now in vSAN 7, I suppose, however, the deduplication and compression can be segregated."
"They can package it in a way that is specific to the hardware infrastructure and the hardware platform. It should stay fairly up to date with the drivers and the manufacturer issues. The problem with uncoupling the proprietary technology and component capabilities is that by uncoupling them, you run into some concerns or challenges over the poor performance model. These concerns really come when you start talking about high performance, high bandwidth, and high availability types of environments. While vSAN is a leader, in a critical view, it is not about being cost-effective. It is more about the immediate impact of money loss to the business in critical applications where we want to maintain a continuous operational 59 model. It is, however, good for QA/QC tasks. I don't necessarily know how it works in regards to VDI or virtual desktop infrastructure."
"The price can be reduced. Small businesses cannot afford this solution."
"It should be easier to use."
"Troubleshooting tools could be improved."
"There are two tiers of support and in my opinion, support is worth the cost."
"Licensing is easy and the whole package is cost-effective."
"The cost takes into account the number of nodes, so the size of the storage is not important."
"The cost, including OPEX, is lower compared to other solutions."
"This is the best priced solution for an SMB."
"The premium support from StarWinds is a must have. The ability to have access to a storage engineer 24/7 is a must for a production environment."
"The cost seems a bit steep, and I wish it was less expensive."
"I think the bang for the buck is much better with StarWind Virtual SAN."
"The Nutanix piece was about $45,000, getting close to $50,000 with all the licensing involved, whereas the StarWind was less than half of that, after Microsoft licensing and such."
"We looked at Nutanix and found it did almost the same thing but for more money. In fact, StarWind was nearly one-third of the price; it cost us £36,000. That includes five years of monitoring... The Nutanix was near enough £110,000 for relatively the same amount of performance and storage."
"Our entire package was around $35,000 for everything, including three years of support."
"There is a bit of a start-up cost. Having never used HCAs before, I was reluctant to buy it. I would suggest that you jump in and do it, as I wish I hadn't wasted so much time."
"In terms of cost, a storage array is more expensive... For half the cost of Compellent, I got two hosts, more storage, and redundancy."
"It's an all in one package, making it very easy."
"We didn't have any issue with pricing or any of the sales process."
"The HCA price is all-inclusive (setup, hardware, support, warranty), except for your standard Microsoft Server licensing."
"If they could reduce the cost, it would be better. Licensing costs are something that they could take care of. If you are a smaller and strong IT team, then VMware vSAN is a very good product. If you want to expand in the service provider space, then you will have to go for an open-source solution like OpenStack. We are now looking at OpenStack because we sell licensing costs. We are a service provider, so the IT component data is a substantial component in our overall costing. We feel that OpenStack might help us to cut down the licensing cost. Therefore, we are looking at SAS storage instead of vSAN. SAS is open source, but it is not wise to have open source without having the backend support. We are using RedHat SAS, and it is an open-source solution. You can also have a free version, but we are using it with support from RedHat so that we have somebody to back us up in case we have a problem. If you do normal business, then IT expense is 1% or 2% of the total turnover. The higher licensing costs sometimes don't make difference to the big companies who are not service providers and are using it only for their internal use. For them, the IT cost is 1% or 2%, but for an IT service provider, the IT costs will go up to 15% to 16% of the total cost of the operations. This is where the licensing costs become irrelevant. For example, the licensing cost of using VMware, VC, and vSAN is 8% of my monthly revenue. Every month, I pay about $35,000, and, with the revised plan, it will be something like $50,000 or revenue of 600k per month, which means almost 8% of the revenue is going into VMware licensing. In a very competitive world, 8% as a cost element is huge. So, if I can bring it down to 2%, I save 6% in revenue expenditure. In terms of profit, 6% of 30% is something like another 25% increase in my profit. My profit can be almost 25%. It would be 20% to 25% in case I am able to handle the licensing costs and bring them to a very low level. Because these IT costs are substantial for us, that is why we are going with OpenStack. OpenStack has a limitation that it requires more hardware. There will be some increase in the hardware cost, but overall we will save 5% to 6% of our licensing cost by using OpenStack."
"It is fairly cost-effective for entry to mid-level performance based on the underlying hardware components."
"The price is expensive."
"It is an expensive solution. There should be more flexible with licensing to allow small businesses the essentials of the solution's features."
"The price of vSAN could be lower."
"It is too expensive."
"It is expensive, but you get what you pay for."
"The price is okay."
For SMB, ROBO, Cloud and Hosting providers, who look to cut down virtualization expenses, our solution is StarWind VSAN. It is software that eliminates any need in physical shared storage by basically “mirroring” internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. There is less hardware to buy in general, consequently less money is spent on purchase and maintenance. The existing hardware is used with maximum efficiency, so there is no money wasted at all.
StarWind Virtual SAN targets those who already have servers, or are bound to a particular vendor list to buy from. In case there is a new virtualization infrastructure to be built from scratch, StarWind offers a much better way – StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. It is a turnkey solution complete with hardware and software, powered by StarWind Virtual SAN. Those who need to build and maintain virtualization infrastructure at little to no expense, may be interested in StarWind Virtual SAN Free.
For SMB, ROBO and Enterprises, who look to bring in quick deployment and operation simplicity to virtualization workloads and reduce related expenses, our solution is StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA). It unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, hypervisor of choice, StarWind Virtual SAN, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct or VMware Virtual SAN and associated software into a single manageable layer. The HCA supports scale-up by adding disks and flash, and scale-out by adding extra nodes.
StarWind HyperConverged Appliance consists of StarWind Virtual SAN, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct or VMware Virtual SAN “Ready Nodes”, targeting those, who are building their virtualization infrastructure from scratch. In case there is an existing set of servers, we offer a “software only version”, which is essentially our years proven StarWind Virtual SAN. Basically, it’s the fuel powering StarWind HCA.
VMware vSAN is the industry-leading software powering Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solutions.
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StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is ranked 6th in Hyper-Converged (HCI) with 20 reviews while VMware vSAN is ranked 3rd in Hyper-Converged (HCI) with 43 reviews. StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is rated 9.6, while VMware vSAN is rated 8.2. The top reviewer of StarWind HyperConverged Appliance writes "Because it's all built into one box, they could offer us the majority of the functionality we wanted, affordably". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSAN writes "Gives us a lot of advantages when we need to expand resources". StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is most compared with Nutanix Acropolis AOS, VxRail, HPE SimpliVity, Dell EMC PowerFlex and Red Hat Ceph Storage, whereas VMware vSAN is most compared with VxRail, Nutanix Acropolis AOS, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, HPE SimpliVity and HPE Nimble Storage dHCI. See our StarWind HyperConverged Appliance vs. VMware vSAN report.
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