StarWind Virtual SAN Review

Create new SANs on demand, making the most efficient use of existing hardware


What is our primary use case?

I used their Virtual SAN software to add new SANs to my VMware environment. I began working for a company that had a Virtual Environment already in place and there was no documentation regarding the configuration of the system. The storage was not managed correctly and I had to find a way to make space with what hardware I had at the time.

How has it helped my organization?

The storage space in the VMware environment I walked into was mismanaged and we needed immediate access to more storage. There was a Dell PowerVault that had plenty of space, and this software enabled me to make the most of my storage.

Given that I could not purchase new equipment I had to find a way to make this PowerVault become the storage without disrupting things. StarWind Virtual San allowed me to achieve this quickly.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ability to make new SANs on the fly. When we need additional storage but want to keep the size of the SANs manageable, the StarWind Virtual SAN has allowed me to do everything needed. There are times when we still need storage to be controlled and the software allows me to make the needed changes. It can be done right from their application and then pushed directly over to the hosts.

What needs improvement?

The only thing that I have any difficulty with is that in order to perform upgrades, it is required that the SANs be detached from the Hosts before that can happen.

In my industry, having one hundred percent uptime means that I must either migrate everything off of the existing SANs so I can perform the upgrade, or shut everything down, detach the SANs and then reconnect them after the upgrade is complete.

At this point, while I am running an older version and the features still work within the latest versions of VMware, I won't see it as being a problem until I add more storage to allow for the proper migration and upgrade to happen.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never had any downtime. This software has managed the SAN connection to my VMs perfectly for the last four years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This software has done everything I need. It saved me a lot of time when I was given an extremely short time to add additional space to my Virtual Environment.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have only needed to reach out to the support team a couple of times since this software was implemented. They responded within a couple of hours and everything was figured out quickly. 

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

There were no previous solutions in place. The setup of the VM Environment was mismanaged initially. This software helped me regain control of the management of storage quickly. 

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward setup and the configuration was no problem.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this solution in-house. 

What was our ROI?

I saw an immediate ROI as I had storage that was not being utilized. Instead of having to spend $10K-$20K to add new storage to the existing environment, wait on the hardware to arrive, and then configure it directly as a new LUN, I was able to use this solution. I purchased the software, installed it on the system that I had with excess space, and created a few new SANs the same day the request was being made with an urgent time frame.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The timeline to get the storage was extremely limited so I didn't have time to do evaluation testing.

What other advice do I have?

Their support team is terrific. I have only had to reach out to them on a couple of occasions. They responded quickly and helped me to get things resolved right away. 

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