StarWind Virtual SAN Review

Cost-effective, responsive and competent support, stable, and the documentation is good

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to provide a vSAN for Microsoft Windows Server failover clusters. We are a web hosting company that prefers to purchase smaller discrete servers rather than larger and expensive integrated with SAN solutions. However, we still want to provide a high-availability environment for even our small web applications.

We use StarWind vSAN to accomplish this goal without having to use the extremely tightly validated server hardware and networking options required by Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has solved the problem of cost-effectively providing a high-availability failover cluster utilizing standard server and networking hardware. We save many thousands when purchasing hardware and the vSAN has never been the cause of any downtime. So, not only have we saved money, we have beaten our internal SLAs that our previous solutions were negatively affecting.

In addition, the highly competent support alleviates stress when we do have questions. Our technology stack has improved since we have started using StarWind vSAN.

What is most valuable?

First, we have found StarWind to be a "set and forget" type of product. It really is nice to not have to spend administrative time monitoring, tweaking, and configuring a product.

Second, the reliability has been exceptional. In the three years that we have been using StarWind, the product has yet to cause us any problems.

Third, their support team is excellent to work with when we do have questions.

Fourth, the documentation on the product is exceptional, and while not necessarily part of the vSAN product, they publish a lot of helpful information on their blog.

What needs improvement?

Perhaps more reporting features on the utilization, usage, and performance of the configured high-availability images and underlying physical disks would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've never had to handle any problems with the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Beyond a three-node direct-attach, some of the cost advantages decrease a little.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is responsive and competent. If only more companies were like this...

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

We previously used DFS to synchronize between nodes; however, it did not provide nearly the same level of reliability and is not a true HA solution as a hyper-converged environment with StarWind vSAN.

How was the initial setup?

With the excellent documentation and having their support review our configuration, the initial setup was very easy.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed using our in-house team.

What was our ROI?

StarWind vSAN has saved us far more than we've ever spent on it.

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

If you are looking at a traditional SAN for a small cluster, give StarWind vSAN because you will save thousands without any compromise. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tested out Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct and priced out other competing traditional SAN options.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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