StarWind Virtual SAN Review

Asynchronous replication means our servers are backed up continuously throughout the day

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is backup storage for our VM servers. 

How has it helped my organization?

Our day-to-day servers are all on StarWind and our backups went from nightly to every minute. That improves disaster recovery time from hours to minutes.

In addition, it has helped us to maintain high performance and data high availability on minimalistic resources. We haven't bought any hardware, it was all stuff we already had. We just reconfigured it and got new features. In terms of costs, it has reduced what we would have had to pay. We have saved approximately 80 percent. We would have had to buy a $100,000 server. Instead, we ended up with a $20,000 server and a little bit of software.

What is most valuable?

I like the asynchronous replication and failover features. They are what I'm primarily using it for. The asynchronous replication is helpful because our servers are backed up continuously throughout the day. If anything goes wrong we just fail over immediately. That is a very nice feature to have.

In addition, we have it integrated with vCenter which makes the failover automatic. It's basically set-it-and-forget-it.

What needs improvement?

I'm sure it needs bug fixes, and there are new features coming down the pipe, but it works great.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's been completely stable for us. There were some bugs initially which slowed us down, but those were related to VMware and not StarWind.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can resize things on the fly as needed, add more storage as needed. Since it's all on Windows, you can expand the disk as much as needed and as quickly as possible.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support has been excellent. They will walk you through every step of the way and help you with anything you need. They're great.

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

We were using direct-attached for the primary servers and FreeNAS for the backups. We switched for the real-time replication and the failover.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward but it was also complex. There were a bunch of steps, but it was all very well documented and very well laid out. You follow steps and you end up with a working system at the end.

It took me a couple weeks, but that was because I had other things going on and a rather complex system. But if you just wanted the basics, you could probably get it set up in a couple of hours.

As part of my implementation strategy, I first set it up on three-way replication servers and after that was done, put it into production.

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

The pricing is excellent. It will run on anything. You don't have to buy a $100,000 server, with hardware you don't need. You just pay for the license and you're good to go.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate any other vendors. In our price range, this was the only vendor.

What other advice do I have?

The pricing is based on the amount of storage, so you should evaluate how much storage you're going to need for your license. I believe there's an unlimited tier which is also very reasonable.

In our organization, it's the backing data-store for the entire company, which is about 85 users. Programmers and management people make up our studio. For deployment and maintenance, it's just me with the support team at StarWind.

We don't have plans to increase usage. We're a small studio and we're not going to get bigger.

I give StarWind a ten out of ten. They have great support, a great product, it's simple and easy to use, and has a great price.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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