StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Review

We no longer have to manage storage via multiple local server disks


What is our primary use case?

We used to have four Dell EMC PowerEdge hosts running various versions of Microsoft Hyper-V with no redundancy.

We are also running out of storage space and have been dealing with an increasing complexity of Windows Server licensing.

We investigated and received proposals from three vendors (Dell EMC, Scale Computing and StarWind). Ultimately, the main decision point was cost. StarWind is the only vendor that only needs two nodes to set up the cluster. Not only have we saved on the extra node, but we also don't have to license another Windows Server Datacenter edition.

Our StarWind HCA has been in production over 12 months, and we have had no issues or single downtime so far.

How has it helped my organization?

It has achieved our goals of centralizing storage management because of the StarWind Virtual SAN, added fault tolerance, and simplified Microsoft server licensing, by using the Datacenter edition.

What is most valuable?

  • StarWind Virtual SAN. We no longer have to manage storage via multiple local server disks.
  • Added fault tolerance helps everybody sleep easier at night knowing we can lose an entire node without affecting production.

What needs improvement?

It could potentially be less reliable due to the Hypervisor, and the cluster relies on Microsoft Windows Server. However, we have not had any issue since putting them in production 12 months ago.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any issue since putting it in production 12 months ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's good for what we do — an SMC with hybrid cloud.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support has been quick, has a very quick response, and they also provocatively monitor the appliance's status.

Which solutions did we use previously?

No.

How was the initial setup?

Fairly straightforward because StarWind handles most of the setup. We did handle the network setup because we added redundancy at the switch level.

What about the implementation team?

A combination of vendor team and in-house team. Their level of expertise is good.

What was our ROI?

We reduced manpower on managing servers and storage. It helps us by not having to hire an extra IT person.

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

It's the only vendor that allow two nodes, all other vendors I researched at that time (late 2017) requires at least three nodes.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we evaluated Dell EMC VxRail and Scale HC3.

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