Most Helpful Review
Storage persistence allows us to consolidate workloads across older arrays into one unit that works with Azure
Gives us full redundancy - compute and the storage - we could lose a full node and still keep everything up and running
Find out what your peers are saying about NetApp HCI vs. StarWind HyperConverged Appliance and other solutions. Updated: November 2019.
378,124 professionals have used our research since 2012.
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
The most valuable feature was the backup - it was easy to back up. It was also very easy to administrate and manage the system; much easier and faster. Finally, it was easy to extend the disk capacities.
The integration between the storage and the server applications is the most valuable feature of this solution. It cuts down on the necessity to buy a secondary storage system.. It saves money in the long-run.
The most valuable feature of Cisco HyperFlex HX is that it is self-contained.
Cisco HyperFlex HX has improved the way our organization functions in the way that the time to deliver a VM takes me five minutes. In comparison, my cloud team's response is a couple of days based on all their overhead policies, procedures, and ticket requests. This is substantial.
The most valuable features of this solution are the connectivity, consistency, and that we now have fewer vulnerabilities on the network.
The most valuable features of this solution are scalability, performance, and reliability. It scales well inside of a large data center.
The most valuable feature for our company is that it works internally. We have a lot of internal projects for optimization.
The most valuable feature is that it is something small that can be more easily deployed than a full data center set of servers.
It is easy to set up, and you don't have to do much work to get it to do what it needs to do.
When you are doing lifecycles for your equipment, you can just swap out pieces of equipment. We used to do one big iron to another big iron, and that's a major migration hassle. Whereas, with this environment, you can go with small nodes, one at a time, and do a refresh.
It allows me to move a VM set and require extra performance. I can easily move them onto it and have it just run.
We like SnapMirror and we've been using it for many years. We also like the object storage tools, as well as cloud sync for customers wanting to integrate between the cloud and local.
It's an all-flash solution. NetApp guarantees 3-to-1 or more than 3-to-1. It has guaranteed performance, like 15K IOPS per node.
The scalability is great, because it can scale independently.
The solution is very scalable.
Stability is one of the things we absolutely have to have, because if the HCI is down, our assembly lines are down, and that could potentially lead to our customer being down. If our customer is down, that's $10,000 a minute; and any time the assembly line is down, that could potentially lead to overtime. We don't get to charge one and a half times for something we billed just because you happened to build it on overtime. Any technology we bring in, has to be built for what I call "three in the morning." It can't be built for whenever everybody's in the plant, everybody can watch it, and everybody can babysit. It has to be built for three a.m. when you've got a skeletal staff there, and you just have to know that it's just running. As I stand here, right now, I don't have to check my phone, I don't have to check my email. I know it's running. Period
Overall, the solution has improved our system's performance. I was concerned about the physical-to-virtual conversion of our database server. It's actually much faster now, as a virtualized host on this Hyper-V cluster.
The software is great. It's very easy to understand. I've not delved into any of the command-line stuff, but there's no real need to script it. Since it went in, pretty much the only thing that I have needed to do is increase device image sizes and that process is very straightforward.
The hardware footprint is perfect. It fits in our rack perfectly, and we were able to condense a lot of physical servers we had. It has greatly eliminated the excess stuff in our server rack...
We have the ProActive Premium Support and it has reduced our monitoring efforts. It has been very useful. They have been able to detect things such as when there's an issue with the cluster or they're getting some kind of weird reading that I have no idea about. They're really quick to let me know about it and even set up a schedule to address it. I've been very happy with their level of support on that.
High-availability is what I bought it for.
The biggest thing we were looking for was redundancy, with both the compute and the storage, so that way we could lose a full node and still keep everything up and running, and not have to worry about it... StarWind was able to provide a solution for what we wanted, - to provide for redundancy.
The initial setup is straightforward once you know what you're doing.
We no longer need multiple staff members performing small, mundane tasks.
I would have liked it to be able to back up the system to a cloud, to be able to work from any other place
We would like to have the ability to not have to reboot while doing updates. Being able to work through updates with as minimal amount of impact to users.
The initial setup of the Cisco HyperFlex HX platform was medium-level difficult. It's a little bit different from traditional servers. It takes getting used to the learning curve.
Cisco's technical support originally was outstanding, but it has declined over the last 12 months. I've heard they're trying to do better, but I haven't been overly impressed with their support recently for HyperFlex.
The additional feature I would like to see included in the next release of this solution is more security. We want to add more data servers to all the hosts all over the world. We have 140 hosts that connect to one data center in Manila.
The scalability could use improvement.
The deployment could be made a little bit easier, as we still seem to struggle with it a little bit for a day or so to get it running.
We would like to see better integration in the next release of this solution.
I would like to see a better upgrade process, like the one that ONTAP has.
There have been some drive type of issues where we have to apply a new code level. Storage nodes kick certain drives until they act as though they have failed when really they haven't. You just have to reinsert them, then they go on about their happy way. It's sort of a bug.
Because I like block mode, I'd like to see SAN connectivity. I would like to be able to easily put it into my current environment.
It would be great if they took something like kernel storage and integrated straight into the NetApp as well.
The price should be lowered. It's a little expensive.
In the next version I would like to see bigger GPU types and insurance for including transparency.
The networking needs improvement.
I would like to see higher level graphics support because we are going to be doing some virtual desktop for our CAD software, and I want to be able to support AutoCAD and Cantillo on remote desktop machines.
The only critique I might have is that the support is overseas in Eastern Europe and, on occasion, there has been a language issue. But in general, they're as good as can be...
We were slightly disappointed with the hardware footprint. We were led to believe, and all the pre-sales tech information requirements pointed to the fact, that it was coming on Dell hardware. Then it came on bulk servers.
I wish I understood what goes into the StarWind software a little bit better. To me, it's kind of magic the way some of it works. As an IT professional, you don't really want things to be magic. I do wish there was a little more "Here's how it works." There could be more documentation given to administrators...
The only thing I have run into is that I did want to add more hard drives into the host, so that we could look at doing a RAID 10, and the hard drive prices were pretty expensive... that's pretty nit-picky and I don't think it has anything to do with StarWind itself. I think it's more on whomever they work with for their hardware.
We haven't had to use the ProActive Premium Support feature much yet. But they contacted me one time because there was a glitch on one server, a networking issue... I have not seen the problem since.
This product is not one hundred percent enterprise-ready, so it is more suitable for SMB.
The only thing my team has recommended improving on is possibly a StarWind-customized GUI to monitor the overall system health, similar to 5nine Manager.
A desired feature or service is the ability to have a hardware subscription plan that ensures routine hardware updates in conjunction with the hyper-converged software.
Pricing and Cost Advice
It's much more expensive than rack servers. It was an issue, but when you compare it to the number of people who were administrative assistants before, it's on the positive ROI side. It's much cheaper.
We currently have a perpetual license, which is kind of unlimited, so we don't have the normal licensing cost, yet.
Our licensing costs are large, but it is combined between all of the Cisco products that we have.
One of the challenges we have with HyperFlex is that they have a subscription fee for the operating system that runs on it, and if I remember correctly, it costs approximately $15,000 USD per month.
It is relatively expensive, but it can easily return value by freeing up other resources.
It's roughly $30,000 per Hyperflex license, so that would be about $60,000 a year.
Our licensing is Hybrid. We have all of our applications for billing and outage management through this.
They are not the cheapest on the market. But there's an old saying I like to quote: "If you know that you are getting what you pay for, it's fine if it's expensive."
This solution reduced our maintenance costs. We were going to have to pay one to two million dollars to put in compute nodes. We are avoiding those costs.
You still have to pay for the licensing for VMware and Red Hat licenses separately. It's not all inclusive at this point.
All the licenses are included when you buy the program.
Licenses run on a yearly basis, and there aren't any additional fees other than the standard licensing fee.
There are the overall infrastructure costs. Even though the initial costing was higher, we calculated for year-to-year for five years. That brought us into a position where we decided, we have to go for HCI rather than having distributor systems.
This solution saved our organization time (35 percent) and money. We have a hefty group of developers, and if you multiply that by 30 to 35 percent, that is quite a bit of money.
Where we lost nearly 75 percent of our infrastructure due to a malicious attack and were able to recover two and a half hours into it due to the integration, it saved us and all of our customers. Because we were able to recover so fast from the attack, the solution paid for itself right there.
We looked at Nutanix and found it did almost the same thing but for more money. In fact, StarWind was nearly one-third of the price; it cost us £36,000. That includes five years of monitoring... The Nutanix was near enough £110,000 for relatively the same amount of performance and storage.
The Nutanix piece was about $45,000, getting close to $50,000 with all the licensing involved, whereas the StarWind was less than half of that, after Microsoft licensing and such.
I honestly feel that there's no one else in the market doing what they're doing for the price point that they're doing it at. That's why I asked them about investing in their company. I think that the options they're providing and the software that they have is sort of revolutionary for the price point... The total cost was $24,400.
The other solutions we were looking at were priced much higher than this and they didn't necessarily have full redundancy... Nutanix and VxRail were in the final running... but it came down to our price point.
When I researched they came the most cost-effective.
This was all completed at an affordable price point for an SMB, which was also a key element for an NPO.
A desired feature or service would be the ability to have a hardware subscription plan that ensures routine hardware updates in conjunction with hyper-converged software.
Its cost was reasonable.
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The Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform is a purpose-built, high-performance, scale-out file system with a wide array of enterprise-class data management services. The data platform’s innovations redefine distributed storage technology, giving you complete hyper-convergence with enterprise storage features:
NetApp HCI is the only true enterprise-scale hyper converged cloud infrastructure. NetApp HCI comes in a 2 RU chassis with 4 node expansion slots.
For SMB, ROBO and Enterprises, who look to bring in quick deployment and operation simplicity to virtualization workloads and reduce related expenses, our solution is StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA). It unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, hypervisor of choice, StarWind Virtual SAN, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct or VMware Virtual SAN and associated software into a single manageable layer. The HCA supports scale-up by adding disks and flash, and scale-out by adding extra nodes.
StarWind HyperConverged Appliance consists of StarWind Virtual SAN, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct or VMware Virtual SAN “Ready Nodes”, targeting those, who are building their virtualization infrastructure from scratch. In case there is an existing set of servers, we offer a “software only version”, which is essentially our years proven StarWind Virtual SAN. Basically, it’s the fuel powering StarWind HCA.
Learn more about Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series
Learn more about NetApp HCI
Learn more about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
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