StarWind Virtual SAN Review

High-availability adds robustness to protect us against data loss and outages


What is our primary use case?

We use VMware ESXi and needed a SAN replacement. Our old SAN is an HPE StoreVirtual VSA, but we are running out of space and it's getting old, so our support will be ending soon.

We will use the storage for our main cluster including OS and data drives. 

How has it helped my organization?

This has helped us gain a resilient and robust SAN for much less than anything else we could find. It also allows us to add storage without any license penalty. We will move from using six servers to three. We will also be able to stop using several stand-alone iSCSI devices. 

What is most valuable?

The best thing about the StarWind SAN is the HA we setup. We can lose a site or even two of our three, and we would lose no data and have no outage.

What needs improvement?

In testing, we found some features in the Linux appliance were missing. So, for full functionality, you will want to use the Windows version. Server-side snapshots are one thing the Linux appliance can't do yet. I hope the feature is added in the next update release.

Adding storage after its all setup is a little difficult.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, I have seen a service fail on one system during our test phase. Synchronization stopped and I had to start the service again. This was during a power outage but the server never went down. It has never happened again. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The way we have this setup, scaling is difficult. We use three systems that are all synchronized and using MIMO iSCSI. Adding storage means adding it to all three, rather than just tossing another server at it. You can architect it differently, which would make scaling easier.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. They are very responsive, they always reply quickly, and seem very knowledgeable.

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

We used an HPE StoreVirtual VSA. Its support is ending and a replacement was going to cost too much for us.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was easy, but afterward, support walked us through a bunch of settings that I would have missed.

What about the implementation team?

The setup was all done by local IT staff with a final remote check with support, where they changed many advanced settings. 

What was our ROI?

It all cost about twenty-five percent less than the other solutions we looked at.

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

The basic setup is very easy and the cost is reasonable for support. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Nimble, HPE VSA, and Tegile storage.

What other advice do I have?

If you're at all interested then build a few systems using old hardware, or just spin up a few VMs. You get ninety percent of the features for free so there is no cost to try it out. The free version is great to use for labs or test environments.

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