StarWind Virtual SAN Review

Has a web-based management interface where you can make software RAID and monitor environment main characteristics


What is our primary use case?

StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere provides redundant and highly available storage for our VMware vSphere environment. We have two Supermicro 2029BT-DNC0R servers with VMware ESXi 6.7 and one StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere virtual machine on each. Local SSD-s are directly attached to StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere virtual machine and software RAID is used to make storage from them. For StarWind synchronization, we are using Mellanox ConnectX-4 adapters and directly attached cable between nodes.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere has helped us to reduce complexity and is more cost-efficient than an old solution. Previously, we had separate storage (EMC AX4-5) with a fiber channel environment. With StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere we are not forced to use vendor locked-in storage hardware, have to deal with costly fiber channel environment, and our power consumption is also reduced. Also now we have fewer hardware components to worry about and more flexibility to change storage when and where needed.

What is most valuable?

StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere is a software-defined storage solution that has reduced administration time for storage. It's pretty straightforward to install and setup it and so far it has been robust and worked as advertised from StarWind. It does have Windows Management Console, from where you can make main configurations and monitor events, etc. and Web-based Management interface where you can make software RAID and monitor environment main characteristics like LAN and disk traffic, and so on.

What needs improvement?

When StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere nodes go offline unexpectedly, the nodes have to re-sync disks fully which takes a long time. We had a power failure and when both nodes came online, VMware vSphere didn't see StarWind disks before I manually re-scanned them form ESXi administration console even though it should happen automatically - maybe I had to wait till all the StarWind disks were fully synchronized but that toked in our case 8+ hours.

There are no security and bug fixes without an active support agreement!

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for a little bit more than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Product is stable and works most of the time on it's own.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer service is helpful.

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

This is the first software-defined storage solution for us.

How was the initial setup?

It took some time to get familiar with the software and I did mostly set it up myself and in the process, it was inspected and checked by a StarWind technician.

What about the implementation team?

In-house implementation.

What was our ROI?

We have not calculated ROI.

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

Something to keep in mind is that you are not allowed to install security and bug fixes without active support agreement.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

VMware vSAN financial aspects give StarWind an advantage.

What other advice do I have?

Product updates are not that frequent (two-three times per year). Also, it concerns me that back-end OS (we are using StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere and it's built on top of CentOS 7) is not updated every time the update is coming out. For example, our installation is more than half a year un-updated, and there are many updates available for CentOS. StarWind support does not recommend installing them independently.

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

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

8
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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