StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Review

Updates are much less painful, and the proactive support is fantastic


What is our primary use case?

We are a small school with 700 users. We replaced an eight-year-old HP system (two HP DL360 G7s and an HP StorageWorks X1600) with a two-node HCA cluster.

How has it helped my organization?

Our two goals were to improve performance and add fault tolerance. Even before implementation, the StarWind team analyzed our current workload to determine which HCA would be appropriate for us. This allowed us to make a decision based on data rather than instinct.

Performance has been excellent, and we have really noticed a big improvement from our old system. Our other goal, improving fault tolerance, was immediately realized with the installation of the second HCA node. We have been running flawlessly since day one with zero downtime. The second node also allows us to perform maintenance without having to take servers offline.

What is most valuable?

The management interface is really easy to use. Updates are much less painful, and the proactive support is fantastic. 

What needs improvement?

We are happy with the product, and my only suggestion would be a better process for an unplanned power outage.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have been pleased so far. Zero downtime. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It meets the needs of smaller organizations. I think they are upfront that the HCA solution is not tailored towards large organizations.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have proactive support which prior to using StarWind, was a new concept for us. It's incredible. We spend less time troubleshooting and more time on other important tasks. 

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

We used an HP StorageWorks X1600 for our shared storage with two HP DL360 G7s as our hosts. We switched due to performance issues (slow backups) and to increase fault tolerance since we only had one shared storage device.

How was the initial setup?

So simple. The StarWind team does most of the initial configuration, and we finished on site. We were up and running in two days.  

What about the implementation team?

75% vendor team and 25% in-house. Expertise was top notch which is to be expected since it's their product.

What was our ROI?

N/A.

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

Do your research. You will find that nothing compares to the value you get with the HCA appliance. If you have a limited budget, the decision is an easy one.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes. We evaluated Nutanix, HPE, Dell, NetApp, Scale.

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