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StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Room for Improvement

Owner at Data Barn

That situation, where Dell EMC servers were going down, has been my only real difficulty. I do understand that we were using refurbished Dell EMC hardware, so that may have played into the difficulties we were having. But at the end of the day, 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. I found after, doing my own diagnosis and my own technician work, that there was actually a solution out there that many people Dell EMC's forums were aware of. 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. They seem to really appreciate the feedback. I'm hoping that there has been a change that has already been enacted by them as a result.

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RF
Systems Admin at a tech vendor with 201-500 employees

One area for improvement of the solution is that I had to get the HCAs with Windows Server installed to install the StarWind SAN software on, 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 implementation 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.

With Windows, there's always that fear that, if you add any software to it, if you need to configure monitoring software or the like, DLL conflicts and blue screens can result. Similarly, if you use Windows Update, you can get blue screens. Or, there have been times where an antivirus company has made a mistake regarding its virus definitions and it took down the server. The antivirus blocked or deleted a legitimate OS file that it thought was a virus. So I don't run antivirus on the Windows Servers VMs that run the StarWind SAN software. At the same time, I've had to configure Windows Firewall to block everything and only allow any kind of traffic going to the server. The only thing I allow is just Remote Desktop so I can manage it. But even Remote Desktop, in the recent months, has had exploits. I keep on having to do Windows Updates.

I prefer Linux because it's not as targeted. Don't get me wrong; it is targeted for viruses and all, but not like Windows Server.

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Network Manager at Riverston Schools

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. The support team was straight on it. I have people coming out this week to replace it because remotely they couldn't add it back into the RAID. I think maybe the HD got corrupted.

I have all the ports I need in the back. When you're sitting them next to each other for replication between HCAs, it's quick because it has these dedicated iDRAC cables in the back. However, this means I can't have them in separate locations. We could run it through the network to replicate the regular gigabyte Ethernet, but that would be quite slow, especially with the setup. I don't really know how you would change this because I've got a large site. My original on-prem server is quite far away just in case there is a fire (or whatever), so the other one could pick up the redundancy. Having them next to each other defeats the purpose slightly if there was damage localized here, because I would lose both of them at the same time.

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Learn what your peers think about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Interim CTO at Royal Koopmans

A past problem that they fixed was related to split-brain syndrome. 

The only thing that is lacking would be a fool-proof GUI for system administrators. 

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.

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EJ
I.T. Manager at a real estate/law firm with 201-500 employees

We have to pay for support, which is high-end support. That can be expensive, at least for us. It may not be that much for others. 

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Senior Network Engineer at inSync Computer Solutions

I think some performance metrics would be nice to see, especially on the storage side. Since we have a decent amount of storage on our cluster, 80TB, knowing what our IOPS and typical usage is would be handy. There are times where something 'feels' slow so it would be nice what was happening on the storage side.

I do wish that if we needed more compute capacity, that we could do it without needing to invest in a lot of network equipment. That is hardly StarWind's fault, but just something to think about. 

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IT Service Supervisor at VIP Technology Solutions Group

Multi cluster support for their Command Console would be very beneficial. Currently, you can only work with a single cluster at a time. The console is new so I expect much growth in this area in the near future. The other area that could be improved is the tech support locale.  Currently, all of their tech support is located in eastern Europe so if you have any issues understanding thick accents it may be a little frustrating. With that being said they have never got frustrated with me asking them to repeat themselves, they've always been very patient.

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JE
Server Administrator at John Wood Community College

We would like more complete documentation to manage on your own without support - even though they are great to work with. Sometimes I like to have a better knowledge on my own in case an extreme situation happens that needs to be fixed immediately. 

The management console could use a facelift. It appears to do everything needed, but sometimes it is not clear what various options are or do which could be tied back to the documentation. A complete single pane of glass for monitoring would be helpful to self-solve issues without involving support and logs.

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IT Manager at Westmoreland Mining LLC

We did have some issues with shipping the product to one our sites. The company shipping the servers lost one of the nodes in transit. But StarWind was quick to order, configure, and ship out a new node so we could meet our install deadline. 

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DM
User with 51-200 employees

They have a pre-install questionnaire and it asks about network addresses and such. I made the mistake of thinking they were asking about my current setup. They received that information and applied it to the new servers. When they arrived, I noticed it before we patched them in, which would have caused several IP conflicts.

I think that the pre-installation questionnaire was a little confusing and ambiguous. I could have asked for clarification but I just filled it out and sent it. It would be nice if they were just very clear on what they were asking for.

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Global IS Admin at Benshaw, Inc.

My only concern was with the terms and conditions of the proactive support. Our legal department didn't accept them, so we weren't able to take advantage of it. Having the heartbeat monitor working would save some time, by getting issues resolved by support as soon as, or possibly even prior to them happening.

I would request that the terms and conditions be reviewed and made more acceptable to corporate security so that we could finally turn on the proactive support feature, as it is included with our support agreement.

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DG
Director Of Information Technology at a outsourcing company with 11-50 employees

Communication could have been improved during the implementation process. I've also been looking forward to further development of their management console which has been slow to materialize. StarWind is promising full cluster management and backup integration in a single-pain-of-glass console.

Possible new features could be CSV-level snapshot capability, Veeam integration, and maybe a more straightforward setup. Granted, you don't have to worry about setups with the HCA, but if you want to implement StarWind vSAN in a lab to test it is a tedious setup process.

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Sysadmin at Sun Peaks Resort

I can't think of anything that is missing. Everything has been top-notch from start to finish. Every interaction we have had has been 100% positive. If you are hard of hearing some of their team has strong accents, but I have never had an issue understanding them, nor has any of my team that had a bad interaction with them. 

Most meetings are done via Zoom, and I'm sure you could switch to a text based conversation if needed as they seem like a very accommodating team. It's not something I would worry about if you are a potential client.

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MM
Director Of Information Technology at Rocco's Collision Center

I have not had any issues or roadblocks as of yet that require any improvement. Everything that I have needed has been available in the product. 

The only issues are when Hyper V itself has limitations and I'd love to see support or enhancement in the area of direct-attached GPU cards. It would be great to see even more detailed analytics and scheduling reports of such to keep a focus on when and if we need to upgrade the environment.  

It would also be cool to see support in the GUI for more 3rd party add-ons.

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CS
IT Support Manager at Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic

When we purchased the StarWind HyperConverged Appliances, they shipped with the Windows-based vSAN solution. Since then, they have released vSAN for vSphere, which is based on a Linux VM and would save us money as we would be able to get rid of the two Windows Server Licenses.

In the future, it would be nice to be able to migrate from the Windows vSAN to the Linux vSAN without having to do a full restore from backups.

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Learn what your peers think about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.