StarWind Virtual SAN Review

Great snapshot production, easy to expand, and very stable

What is our primary use case?

We have two servers in an HA configuration. The two servers having an identical configuration. On each server we have: two disks in RAID 1 (for the operating system), two arrays of four disks in RAID 5 (for virtual servers that require high data transfer speed), one array of six SAS disks in RAID 6 (for virtual servers containing a lot of data), and two arrays of six SAS disks in RAID 10 (for medium servers in terms of data volume and speed required). On the network side, SAN servers are connected to HOSTs via a 10 GB ethernet connection and between them for HB and SYNC via 1GB connections.

How has it helped my organization?

Until the installation of StarWind, we only use physical servers. After installing, I migrated all physical servers as virtual servers and added other new servers. We currently have approximately 30 virtual servers on only three hosts and the two SAN servers. Thus, we get significant savings from the necessary hardware. In addition, we have much more flexibility in allocating available resources. 

Having a configuration of two servers in HA, we can perform maintenance and upgrade operations without having to interrupt the operation of production servers.

What is most valuable?

From my point of view, the main advantages of this solution are the drastic reduction of the number of physical servers required and the reduction of acquisition costs for servers. 

In addition, there is less electricity consumption for servers and for their cooling and the possibility of dynamic and fast allocation of storage resources where needed. This simplifies the backup and restore process. The product has the ability to take snapshots on production servers before any major upgrade so that if problems occur you can quickly return to the previous configuration.

What needs improvement?

It would help if the manufacturer provided clearer and more detailed documentation, with explanations of how the application can be installed in various HA configurations. They should include advantages and disadvantages for each proposed configuration. Currently, you can only find information on this on the manufacturer's website, but it does not contain very detailed information regarding each proposed configuration.

It might help to add the functionality to automatically send an email to a predefined address when errors occur in the application.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for more than 10 years and, in that time, without encountering major operating problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. Currently, it is not necessary to intervene or restart the SA servers for years at a time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to expand the storage space. The only limitation is the space that the license allows you to use in the HA configuration.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support provided is very prompt.

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

Previously, I only used physical servers.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, the implementation of this solution seems complex, however, once you understand how the application is designed, it becomes relatively simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before deciding on the solution offered by StarWind, we also analyzed HPE LeftHand SAN Solutions, however, this was significantly more expensive.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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