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StarWind Virtual SAN OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

StarWind Virtual SAN is #2 ranked solution in top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools and #4 ranked solution in HCI Software. IT Central Station users give StarWind Virtual SAN an average rating of 10 out of 10. StarWind Virtual SAN is most commonly compared to VMware vSAN:StarWind Virtual SAN vs VMware vSAN. StarWind Virtual SAN is popular among the small business segment, accounting for 44% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is StarWind Virtual SAN?

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.

StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide

Download the StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

StarWind Virtual SAN Customers

Baker Tilly BVI, CMS Internet, Board Harpeth Hall School

StarWind Virtual SAN Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about StarWind Virtual SAN pricing:
  • "The cost was ultimately low to implement, which allowed us to be 3-2-1 complaint."
  • "The cost takes into account the number of nodes, so the size of the storage is not important."
  • "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 that purchasing StarWind Virtual SAN Professional Edition would be optimal for most."

StarWind Virtual SAN Reviews

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reviewer1667487
Senior Technical Architect at HS Data Ltd
User
Top 10
Flexible and easy to use with great support

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is also quite flexible. As an example, other vSAN solutions that we looked at had more stringent requirements regarding mixed HDD/SSD storage which wouldn't have worked in our environment."
  • "The main thing I would like to see improved is the level of documentation."

What is our primary use case?

We needed a reliable shared storage solution for our VMware vSphere Essentials solution so we could implement vMotion and High Availability features. We decided to utilise a vSAN solution to reduce costs after looking at the price of external storage solutions.

In our environment, we have a 3-server VMware vSphere Essentials Plus solution that consists of 16 x HDD and 8 x SDD on-server storage. The solution is attached to 1GB network for production but we also have 10GB network connections available for direct-connectivity between servers.

The StarWind vSAN solution was implemented as a hyper-converged solution meaning that everything runs on the VMware vSphere solution. 

How has it helped my organization?

The StarWind vSAN solution was implemented according to our project plan with minimal outages to existing workloads. We have had no issues with the solution and it works very well with minimal administrative effort.

Recently, we had a memory failure that caused one of our VMware servers to crash. Due to the shared storage provided by the StarWind vSAN, all virtual machines on the failed server were able to failover to another server. Our helpdesk didn't receive any user complaints during the time that this happened. Once we resolved the issue, the shared storage resynched itself automatically.

We now have the ability to run critical workloads on the VMware infrastructure and have already proceeded to migrate active directory and SAP Business One workloads onto this platform.

What is most valuable?

We have found the solution surprisingly simple to use. The management console allows us to monitor the solution and we have configured email alerts to alert us about critical issues. These alerts have been proven to work in an actual failure scenario, for example, when we had a memory issue with one of our servers that caused the entire server to crash. The management console also allows us to monitor the solution performance and provides us with access to system logs.

The level of support provided by StarWind both during pre-sales and post-implementation has been excellent. The solution validation session with StarWind engineers was one of the best we have experienced and the vendor has also demonstrated a willingness to create a long-term relationship.

The solution is also quite flexible. As an example, other vSAN solutions that we looked at had more stringent requirements regarding mixed HDD/SSD storage which wouldn't have worked in our environment.

What needs improvement?

The main thing I would like to see improved is the level of documentation. I had some initial difficulties understanding the solution which could have been solved via additional documentation aimed at newcomers to their solution. Although the solution does admittedly have many moving parts, I found that internal knowledge transfer to my peers was not that difficult. Hence I'm convinced that better documentation would have helped.

I would also like to see a better system implemented for obtaining updates for solution components. The system at the moment works on a request/response model.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution since the start of this year (2021).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution has proven to be reliable with the need for minimal administrative effort. During an actual failure with memory on one of our servers, everything worked exactly as planned. We didn't even receive any issues/complaints from users via our helpdesk.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

During the solution validation session with the vendor, we spoke about benchmarking the product. After performing the recommended tests, we were satisfied that the solution would meet our performance needs (both in terms of storage and networking).

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't had any issues with the solution so have had no need to request service/technical support. However, our experience during our project makes us believe we are in good hands if we ever need anything in the future.

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

We did not use a different solution. We initially implemented our VMware vSphere Essentials solution using direct storage and didn't have access to features such as vMotion and high availability. The StarWind vSAN solution allowed us to implement shared storage and pave the way to migrate critical workloads onto the VMware infrastructure.

How was the initial setup?

We complicated the initial setup process a bit because we wanted to perform the design, implementation, and migration ourselves. This led to some difficulties in terms of initially understanding the solution. StarWind helped to fill in the gaps and our implementation and migration went completely to plan with little need for downtime. We were able to implement the solution on two servers while keeping our workloads running on the third server. We then migrated the workloads and built the remaining server.

What about the implementation team?

We wanted to perform the design, implementation, and migration of the solution ourselves. We asked for help where needed during the design stage and found the vendor was very knowledgeable and could quickly answer all of our questions. We performed the implementation ourselves and then conducted a solution validation session with the vendor. During this session, the vendor validated that everything was configured according to their best practices and also performed some advanced tuning. We also had an open-ended discussion about how to operate the system. This solution validation session was one of the best I have ever experienced.

The level of support from the vendor throughout the entire project has been excellent and they have been more than willing to develop a long-term relationship. 

What was our ROI?

We were price-sensitive and wanted to minimize expenditure on additional hardware. The ability to utilize vMotion and High Availability features in our VMware infrastructure has already repaid the cost of the solution.

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

We found the StarWind vSAN solution was cost-effective compared to alternatives. You should talk to the vendor (or a good partner) about your needs because there are some differences in price based on your environment. We also recommend purchasing support.

In our case, we purchased StarWind vSAN for vSphere Essentials Edition which included 1 year of standard annual support and maintenance.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We initially looked at several external shared storage solutions and found them to be cost-prohibitive. We then evaluated vSAN solutions from HPE (this was discontinued) and the native solution from VMware. The native solution from VMware had fewer moving parts than the StarWind vSAN solution, but was more expensive and didn't provide the required level of flexibility that we needed regarding mixed HDD/SDD storage.

What other advice do I have?

We strongly recommend that you develop a good relationship with the vendor (or a good partner). In our experience, they played a key role in the success of the solution.

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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reviewer1495242
Systems Administrator at Daifuku America
Real User
Top 10
Reasonably-priced, quick and helpful technical support, facilitates 3-2-1 backup compliance

Pros and Cons

  • "A great feature is that I basically set it and forget it, as everything is automatic."
  • "The console is something that I feel could be improved. There is nothing technically wrong with it, but it can be jazzed up and/or made to be a little more intuitive."

What is our primary use case?

We have a failover Hyper-V cluster and a stand-alone Veeam server. We back up our VMs via Veeam. We wanted to get our backups 3-2-1 compliant with a backup to disk backup, a second backup to another medium that was a virtual tape in our case, and backups to the cloud. 

We had a second physical server with tons of storage, so we installed StarWind. We were able to create a VTL and have tons of virtual tapes. We utilized iSCSI and were able to get Veeam to use this VTL as a destination for tape backups

In addition to Veeam being able to back up to tape now, we were also able to get the StarWind software to connect with our preferred storage vendor, Wasabi. Now, we back up to disk, back up to tape, and then ship those tapes offsite automatically to Wasabi.

The StarWind software was easy and quick to implement/setup and now our backup process is fully automated. 

How has it helped my organization?

Our backups are 3-2-1 compliant, which satisfies several audits and cybersecurity/insurance questionnaires. In addition, the process is fully automated.

We now have multiple copies of our backups and in the event of a complete disaster we also now have a DR strategy in place. 

Prior to this solution, we had a single point of failure when it came to backups. Now we, essentially have three targets, two of which are completely air gapped for security.

Lastly, the virtual tapes I've been told are impervious to ransomware. 

What is most valuable?

A great feature is that I basically set it and forget it, as everything is automatic. This is one less major thing to worry about.

Before, we had a lot of stock and pressure on our singular backup server. It carried a lot of weight. Now with the VTL software in place, we have three backup targets. The primary backup server is still critical but if that server were to go down, we would still have backup data intact. If our data center went down, we would still have backup data intact thanks to the offsite options. 

We can rest easier knowing our data is fully protected. The fact we have a DR strategy is priceless.

What needs improvement?

The console is something that I feel could be improved. There is nothing technically wrong with it, but it can be jazzed up and/or made to be a little more intuitive. Perhaps introduce a few right-click options, as that's my general go-to approach as opposed to searching for specific menu items.

I also feel that when dealing with a magnitude of tapes perhaps better formatting or color-coding will help locate or identify tapes easier than scrolling through the list. Also if the lists' real estate on the screen could be increased that would be helpful as well. 

Other than that, I have no complaints or issues with the software.

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?

I haven't had any issues with the app becoming unusable. It's very stable and I have yet to experience a problem with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The software can be upgraded with each release, so it's very scalable. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is amazing. Five stars. They are quick to respond and are able to handle issues very quickly and provide great feedback and explanation. 

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

We did not use another similar solution prior to this.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward and simple. I had the support team guide me along the way but the setup process was intuitive and there was nothing confusing about it. 

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it through their support team. After we purchased the software, they helped set us up. They were very knowledgeable and fast. We had tape backups working in minutes. 

What was our ROI?

I don't have exact figures in terms of ROI but I can say the product was well worth the cost.

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

The cost was ultimately low to implement, which allowed us to be 3-2-1 complaint.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

After we purchased the software, we were able to contact support right away. I would suggest you take advantage of this, as they are quick to respond and got my software up and running literally within minutes.

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.
Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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reviewer1465917
Corporate Technology Manager at MTE Logistix
Real User
Top 10
Easy to set up and they have good support that is fast to resolve problems

Pros and Cons

  • "The fact that I can now count on a true failover solution is what is most appealing."
  • "I would like to see different levels of support offered."

What is our primary use case?

We decided to migrate our infrastructure from Terago Cloud to a Tier III datacenter. It was primordial for our company to have redundancy at every level. It was not an easy sell to make that move and I needed to prove to management that we could have a very secure environment.

I needed to have a software that could create a fail over between my hosts that would work well with VMWare 7.0. After researching several company we made the decision to go with Starwind.

Of course, once we had everything in place, we made a test failover. It failed. I went back to Starwind and this was fix within one phone call. Missing configuration. The following test was successful.

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that I can now count on a true failover solution is what is most appealing. Also, it was easy to test the solution to make sure it worked. How many companies out there install software without testing it?

It was easy to get organized and test to be sure it was performing to its full capacity. During the failover, only a few seconds of downtime were seen, proving to me that I can count on StarWind during business hours and know that they have our back at the Host level. Who can afford downtime?

What is most valuable?

Without a doubt, it would be support. Either we were sending an email to our Rep or simply calling in to open a case, a returned call could be expected within the hour. Always courteous and helpful. Those guys know there products and surrounding, like VMWare. They also keep on following up until you say that all is well.

We were having issues with our vCenter when we first deployed, and we had to call back technical support a few times. Each time was a fast and professional service that was offered to us.

What needs improvement?

This is a tough question. One that I wouldn't have put in here for the simple fact that I decided to write a positive experience with Starwind.

Now, if I want to be picky, I could simply say that the price is not cheap. I started with the basic package, for 4 TB. Than I had to purchase to go up to 8 TB. It does look now that I will have to pay the remaining fee to purchase unlimited data. Should I have done so first, maybe but things change very rapidly and what wasn't needed not too long ago is now. SO overhaul, price. I would also need to pay extra to be able to have support during the weekend, otherwise, you have support only from Monday to Friday. Can be inconvenient if your business work 24 hrs shift Sunday to Friday.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN since the rebuild of our infrastructure in August 2020.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far so good and since it is running directly on VMware, I do not see any issues in the future either.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

With the right licensing, I do not see any issue with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

The installation was straightforward but it still was a new product for us and we didn't know how it was going to integrate with VMware 7.0. At this time, I am seeing a few issues with 7.0, so I wasn't sure if we would have any problems during installation. Nevertheless, StarWind support is what is making me write this review today. Compared to any other company we may have called, no other is as fast and as good to get the problem resolved.

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

This was our first installation.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was fairly straightforward. Although the first test didn't work for us, only a phone call was required to make this work. We have successfully tested the solution and can see first hand that it work great!

What about the implementation team?

We did in-house with the help of Starwind tech. If you want to make sure it work properly, this is the way to go and their support is fantastic.

What was our ROI?

N/A

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

Make sure to look for the next package that they offer for the licensing part. Adding Drives will happen faster than you hope it will.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

StarWind came highly recommended and rightly so.

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.
reviewer1253973
Deputy Director at a government with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
High availability, fast recovery via synchronization, and uses standard ethernet switches for storage networking

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "For the StarWind VSA vSphere solution, I would like to see a simpler and automated virtual machine installation process in terms of network settings."

What is our primary use case?

We have been using VMware vSphere as a fail-safe storage solution in a virtualization environment since 2009. Scaling options were initially two nodes. In industrial operation, there were solutions from three nodes. The storage is deployed on a 1Gb-10Gb ethernet network and HP servers with SAS and SSD drives.

To increase performance, caching technologies based on RAID controller functions were used, and later StarWind L2 Cache functionality was used. In 2020, it is planned to deploy storage that is based on new technologies: Intel Optane memory (DCPMM storage), VMware Vsphere Enterprise Plus 6.7, and 25Gb networks.

We hope that this solution will be able to provide maximum performance using StarWind VSAN for Vsphere.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution made it possible to make a quick start of the project on the transition from a physical environment to a virtual one in 2009 with minimal financial costs. It was possible to fulfill the requirements for reliable data storage, taking into account the transition to paperless document management with the use of digital signatures.

The scalability of the solution made it possible to increase the size of storage, without large additional costs for software. Within one series of servers, it was possible to repair equipment without stopping the use of storage in an industrial environment.

What is most valuable?

It is fast and easy to deploy to StarWind SAN for someone who is not even a professional.

The most valuable features are:

  • Multipath I/O over iSCSI and Ethernet;
  • Use of standard ethernet switches for storage networking;
  • High availability-cluster (active-active), in a configuration of two or more nodes;
  • 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;
  • Caching storage using RAM and SSD media;
  • Fast synchronization in case of minor network failures.

What needs improvement?

For the StarWind VSA vSphere solution, I would like to see a simpler and automated virtual machine installation process in terms of network settings.

The areas where this solution should be improved are:

  • Use as a node server without RAID volumes to ensure a longer period of use of the equipment and faster recovery of the complex;
  • You need a separate server responsible for the main node, which is synchronized in case of failure of one of the nodes;
  • Use SSD caching to write to industrial operation;
  • Monitoring the status of server equipment. Programmatically bypasses the offline state of disks;
  • To circumvent the speed restrictions of the network data when using virtual adapters VMware Vsphere VXNET3.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for more than nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable in the case of failure of one node. When you exit more than one, sometimes there are problems choosing the main one.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling to the size of the storage, thanks to the creation of a new target, does not affect the performance of the system as a whole.

Scaling by including new nodes-requires timing for synchronization.

How are customer service and technical support?

Over a period of nine years, we applied three times to technical support. In all cases, the problem has been solved.

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

In parallel, the use of EMC ScaleIO. Unlike StarWind VSA, the license price depends on the amount of storage and only one copy of the data is used.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation in the version under Windows is very simple. In the virtual machine variant, you need to configure the network inside the virtual machines

What about the implementation team?

Implementation was within the company.

What was our ROI?

The solution is cost-effective.

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

The cost of deployment is minimal, almost a product out of the box.

The cost takes into account the number of nodes, so the size of the storage is not important.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated free options including FreeNAS and Ceph. Our experience was that FreeNAS has low performance and reliability, and Ceph was complex to deploy.

What other advice do I have?

This is an optimal product for large fault-tolerant solutions.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
reviewer1351425
CTO - Partner at SabreTech Consulting LLC
Real User
Top 20
Ability to use off the shelf hardware is invaluable in terms of cost and flexibility

Pros and Cons

  • "The management interface on the software is very simple. It is insanely simple compared to most SANs. The interface is also powerful when used to complete tasks that an IT administrator needs to complete."
  • "StarWind relies on the underlying OS to manage the "SAN files" whether that would be a RAID volume, software RAID (such as LVM), etc. It would be useful if StarWind could incorporate the actual physical drive management inside of the solution, similar to Storage Spaces Direct."

What is our primary use case?

We are using VSAN in our private cloud environment to provide highly redundant CSVs to a Hyper-V Cluster. We are using a converged environment so we have two commodity grade servers setup as a highly available StarWind cluster, then we have numerous Hyper-V compute nodes which access CSVs from the StarWind cluster. 

We are able to use Veeam to backup and replicate the VM files from the CSV/cluster.

We use off the shelf 10 GbE SPF+ modules and off the shelf 10 GbE switches.  With MPIO, we were able to create a redundant network infrastructure to support our SAN network. 

How has it helped my organization?

We were previously using Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, but that product was unreliable and practically unsupported by Microsoft. We were able to leverage our previous hardware capital investment and converted our infrastructure to use StarWind VSAN. The migration process was simple, and afterwards, we had a highly reliable SAN system. 

We've always wanted to deploy a software-defined storage system, as proprietary SANs do not meet our requirements. They are expensive and very inflexible. StarWind has been excellent.

What is most valuable?

The highly available feature between two nodes works without any issues. We have practiced DR scenarios and our CSV/cluster has always stayed online. The software has the ability to "elect" a master after a failure of one or two nodes, then it will resync after that without issue.

The management interface on the software is very simple. It is insanely simple compared to most SANs. The interface is also powerful when used to complete tasks that an IT administrator needs to complete.

The ability to use off the shelf hardware (servers, RAID cards, SSDs, etc.) is also invaluable in terms of cost and flexibility. 

What needs improvement?

A duplication feature inside of a CSV would be very useful. I'm sure there are a lot of duplicated blocks on a CSV that have 75 VMs of Windows Server.

StarWind relies on the underlying OS to manage the "SAN files" whether that would be a RAID volume, software RAID (such as LVM), etc. It would be useful if StarWind could incorporate the actual physical drive management inside of the solution, similar to Storage Spaces Direct.

A web interface for management and StarWind SNMP MIBs would also be very useful.  

For how long have I used the solution?

One year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.  We have tested storage network outages with failure of one or two nodes. The solution is able to stay online or repair itself with ease. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The storage is as salable as your underlying storage. If you are using hardware RAID cards, then you are somewhat limited for expansion, etc. It is still much better than proprietary SANs. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Support has been very good. I regularly schedule off hours support sessions and their team has never complained. 

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

We previously used Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct but had numerous reliability issues with the solution. It was definitely not ready for a production environment. 

How was the initial setup?

Setup was somewhat complex, but StarWind works with you the entire way and handles nearly all of the setup. 

What about the implementation team?

We worked directly with StarWind. The experience was excellent. 

What was our ROI?

Less than one year. 

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

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. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had thought about proprietary SANs, but those didn't fit our requirements for cost and flexibility. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
TRAIANO ...
Technology Solutions, Support & Training at UNISONMEDIA Group, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Resilient with seamless failover, and the support is helpful

Pros and Cons

  • "Recovery and maintenance are now less stressful and most importantly, it allows our users to keep working."
  • "A mobile app to sync up for overview and status would really be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

We have Microsoft Hyper-V.  StarWind is configured as a two-node cluster with a Windows environment. It is crucial for the Virtual Machines that give us the resiliency of Exchange, 4TB File Servers, Networking Services, Quickbooks Server, Terminal Servers, Virtualized Spam Protection, Active Directory Services, and a few others.

We needed something that allows for better resiliency than the old way of doing things.  We have seen other choices out there but this seemed to be the best one, given our budget and the hardware we wanted to use.

How has it helped my organization?

This StarWind solution has enabled us to be more resilient, once it was set up and tested.

Failover happens very smoothly. Recovery and maintenance are now less stressful and most importantly, it allows our users to keep working.

Before StarWind, we were dealing with an archaic way of synchronizing Virtual machines and data between non-clustered physical hosts and it was very frustrating. Now, things are less hands-on and easier to manage and navigate the virtual environment, including maintenance while other users keep working.

What is most valuable?

We found that robust communications between clusters and synchronization were key and most valuable to us due to the amount of data we were synchronizing.

The expertise from their technicians is very helpful even in the middle of the night, with the right support plan of course. The technical documentation, the follow-up and the details noted on a per-call basis was amazing. We really appreciate that kind of commitment to our success and stability that the StarWind software brings to our business.

What needs improvement?

Built-in Notification would really help and as I understand, their new release has this now.  

A mobile app to sync up for overview and status would really be helpful.

Also, it would be helpful if the software had a few more guides and links/videos on how-to's.

An "Update available" notification within the software would also be helpful and a guided wizard to do the upgrade properly would also be nice and efficient.

A better visual of the SAN storage/actual storage and how it is used would be good, especially when it comes to where the files are located on the disk. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for the last two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability seems great and we have not had any problems with the software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Seems very scalable, although we chose to have a two-node cluster.

How are customer service and technical support?

This area has been the best for us, especially being new to this technology. The support team was amazing with follow-up and they are super patient.

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

I have not used another solution for the same purpose. This was what I picked based on my research.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, I didn't quite understand the framework and what exact hardware was needed so I had to do some learning. However, once all was in place it went pretty smoothly.

What about the implementation team?

We did our deployment in-house, with help from StarWind.

What was our ROI?

Return on investment for us, I would say maybe breaking even. As I said, I wish the costs were better balanced.

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

The cost seems a bit steep, and I wish it was less expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have looked at Nutanix and VMware.

What other advice do I have?

Mainly that the costs would be less expensive.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
reviewer1397937
Network Specialist at Nexans aeA
Real User
Top 5
With basic knowledge you can use the GUI from the node to create partitions then, creating volumes on the management console and manage it

Pros and Cons

  • "PowerShell library is pretty good feature as I created with APC PowerChute a script to put volumes on maintenance mode then turning off the StarWind nodes together with the VM and Hosts when UPS reaches 15 percent, this way after a blackout or electrical problems when turning servers on again, there is no issues for syncing or data loss due to energy interrupts."
  • "Android app for monitoring and receiving push notifications as alarms or monitoring I/O from any mobile device could be a good feature and nice to have as we are not always on our desk."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for physical to virtual environment migration, requiring a VSAN storage for a data center we had an old BLC 460 gen 6 blades with physical storage attached. If we had any issues with the hardware or operating system the downtime for production would be for hours, so we created a virtual data center with VMware vSphere and added 3 20TB storage on each host then created 3-node StarWind scenario being shared on all 3 hosts, and creating virtual machines on 3 hosts and now running on StarWind storage.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind VSAN improved our organization as we had a project to migrate from a physical environment to a virtual environment using Vmware Vsphere 6.7 and we needed a secure VSAN storage to be able to share it over the virtual Datacenter and to be able to use the vSphere high availability feature as we needed storage visible overall host on our SITE, this way we have less downtime if one of the hosts fails and HA comes out as the VSAN storage from StarWind is our main storage where all Virtual Machines are running.

What is most valuable?

One of the best features on the management console is the way you can deploy the VSAN storage, with basic knowledge you can use the GUI from the node to create partitions then, creating volumes on the management console and manage it like, sync priority, or putting them on maintenance mode to be able to restart hosts.

PowerShell library is pretty good feature as I created with APC PowerChute a script to put volumes on maintenance mode then turning off the StarWind nodes together with the VM and Hosts when UPS reaches 15 percent, this way after a blackout or electrical problems when turning servers on again, there are no issues for syncing or data loss due to energy interrupts.

What needs improvement?

  • Easy migration to ZFS system that is being presented on a new version of StarWind, migrations look complicated as this restructures the whole architecture on the raid level, but could be a good option just by having it and letting the user decide this new feature migration, as based on our experience with ZFS systems they work pretty fast and secure.
  • Android app for monitoring and receiving push notifications as alarms or monitoring I/O from any mobile device could be a good feature and nice to have as we are not always on our desk.

For how long have I used the solution?

For more than a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Good stability as we have a mirrored storage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Pretty good impressions, especially the support.

How are customer service and technical support?

Fast response and great attention.

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

We migrated from HPE StoreVirtual.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward if you have RAID, array controllers, and network knowledge.

What about the implementation team?

We tried at first doing it ourselves, but I recommend letting the support team the VSAN installations as we missed some configurations that based on their experience we missed as beginners.

What was our ROI?

About $3500 USD every 3 years.

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

its a good option compared with other vendors as licence is perpetual and wont charge every three years as HPE.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we used HPE StoreVirtual, we moved to StarWind to reduce costs. We tried VMware VSAN and the cost was too elevated for our requirements.

What other advice do I have?

By letting the support team do it next time, as based on their knowledge we have the correct configurations.

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.
MP
Engineer at Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
Real User
Top 10
Helpful support, easy to set up, and it works on top of hardware or software RAID

Pros and Cons

  • "The iSCSI protocol is quite simple to configure."
  • "It would be nice to add the ability to use raw partitions instead of file containers."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is hyper-convergence and storage virtualization.

Our configuration has eleven servers installed. Three of these are SQL servers, five are installed as application servers, and on the remaining servers, various small services are hosted. These include web servers, RDP servers, and so on.

StarWind vSAN for Hyper-V consolidated the last three servers into a failover cluster for load balancing and increased availability. This made it possible to transfer the specified services to virtual machines.

How has it helped my organization?

Initially, it was not planned to use virtualization, but at some point, I realized that it was necessary. I had no opportunity to install any shared storage and in this case, the StarWind Virtual SAN solution was perfect.

I did not have any type of failover cluster. StarWind vSAN for Hyper-V solves the problem without any kind of hardware lock-in and with its low impact, easy to configure vSAN solution. This made it possible to create a failover cluster with high performance without significant costs.

What is most valuable?

The most important features for us are:

  • StarWind vSAN requires two nodes, which can be completely switchless, and it doesn’t require any additional equipment to get started.
  • StarWind works on the iSCSI layer.
  • StarWind requires at least two 1 GbE networks.
  • StarWind works either on top of a hardware RAID or a software RAID.
  • There are only three servers in our installation and it was great that I didn't need to buy any additional network hardware.
  • The iSCSI protocol is quite simple to configure.
  • The requirement for two-gigabit adapters also avoided additional costs.
  • In particular, it was important to me that the implementation of the StarWind vSAN solution did not require reinstalling the operating system or reconfiguring the RAID.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to add the ability to use raw partitions instead of file containers.

I think that using equal partitions would improve performance by eliminating the additional file system necessary to host the container

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for approximately six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not face any critical issue for our main purposes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Very positive. As far as I understand, it will be very easy to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very competent in matters not only of the product but also of the features of the hypervisor and the operating system on which the installation was performed.

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

I have not used other solutions before.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not difficult. I received help with the first installation from technical support.

What about the implementation team?

The vendor team helped with the initial setup and I rate their level as very high.

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

I think that purchasing StarWind Virtual SAN Professional Edition would be optimal for most.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As an alternative to StarWind vSAN for Hyper-V, I considered Microsoft S2D, but I had to abandon it due to the fact that it does not support hardware RAID.

What other advice do I have?

I have not been using the product for long enough to objectively name the features that should be added in the next release or would not suit me in the current release. The functions that I needed to work on do not cause any complaints from me.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

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