What is our primary use case?
We are currently using StarWind HCA to build out a flexible, distributed storage system. We had a myriad of file, application, and database servers that ranged from physical to virtual. StarWind helped us consolidate and make the necessary physical to virtual server moves (P2V), and the entire process was very pleasant.
This system also allows us to achieve high availability (HA) across the entire IT infrastructure that we are responsible for, which was a major driving decision. This was all completed at an affordable price point for an SMB, which was also a key element for an NPO.
How has it helped my organization?
The solution has allowed us to focus on streamlining our IT Infrastructure. We no longer need multiple staff members performing small, mundane tasks. We have ProActive support and alerting that takes care of our day to day infrastructure management. We were able to consolidate a number of servers and truly cut down on our overall storage costs.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable features are consolidated storage, low cost and overhead compared to previous solutions. As an NPO, we are always concerned with new technology and the associated costs. The solutions from StarWind were not only a major increase in performance, but they were very affordable for us.
What needs improvement?
The only thing my team has recommended improving on is possibly a StarWind-customized GUI to monitor the overall system health, similar to 5nine Manager.
There is nothing else I would recommend improving because everything from sales, installation to post-install service for the past year has been great.
For how long have I used the solution?
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Previously we used a mix of physical and virtualized servers. This was antiquated and inadequate for our organization, so we gave StarWind a try.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
For organizations such as ours (NPO), the Microsoft Hyper-V route was too affordable to pass on. Some of our team prefers VMware, but Hyper-V has been pretty good for us with StarWind.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated other options before choosing this solution, including some time we spent working with Scale HC3, and a little with SimpliVity.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.