We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"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."
"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."
"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 most valuable feature is the high-availability. We have three nodes, and all data will be synched instantly through all the nodes. Even if we had a disaster where two nodes failed, containing dozens of critical machines, almost automatically, all the loads would be run on the remaining node."
"The hardware footprint is great. We've got two 2U servers which replaced four 2U servers. Granted, they were about three years old at that point, but we actually increased our processing capacity by about 50 percent while keeping our storage capacity about the same. We've actually been able to downgrade to a half rack from a full rack because we've gotten rid of some of our network equipment and some of our additional storage arrays."
"What makes it valuable is the high-availability. In the education field, when you've got students in classrooms, any loss of service disrupts the lessons to a point that the whole lesson is affected. For part of the business which isn't business-critical, to have a little bit of a hiccup wouldn't be such a big thing, but here, it's the high availability of service that is important."
"The support is the most valuable feature. The support has been amazing. It's around the clock. One of our hard disks accidentally ejected without me knowing or being onsite. They called and told me about it before I had a chance to see it myself."
"The management interface is the most valuable feature for us."
"Another good feature is that you can pause the appliance if you want to move it from one location to another and then once it's moved you can resume it, this way you can physically move the whole cluster or storage without any downtime. Its really easy to use, if you have a good foundation in storage and clustering then you will need less then one hour to figure out how to operate it."
"Having instant failover redundancy helps me sleep easier at night."
"They call us when monitoring shows a possible issue and are very flexible in working with our schedule to troubleshoot when it is convenient for us."
"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..."
"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."
"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..."
"At the moment, the initial configuration is very technical and error-prone. That is the reason Starwind does it for you as a service, which is a great thing. But it would be nice if we could change or rearrange storage assignments ourselves."
"That situation, where Dell EMC servers were going down, has been my only real difficulty... it ended up being something that the wider audience of Dell EMC was actually aware of as an issue. Neither the StarWind technicians nor the Dell EMC technicians were able to actually identify that problem sooner than a week or so... The communication between Dell EMC support and StarWind support, in that particular scenario, left something to be desired, for me. I did express those concerns to StarWind and they were very responsive to that."
"There is room for improvement in the setup and installation phase. We had massive problems connecting the StarWind appliances to our network infrastructure. That wasn't necessarily a StarWind problem. I don't know if their business partner in the UK wasn't used to having to deal with the supply of the cabling infrastructure, but that's where the problems started."
"The only real flaw that I have seen so far is this hard drive that was accidentally ejected because when it was received and added back into the RAID. There was an error there. It was not added back into the RAID correctly, so I have an outstanding hard disk. Apparently, a guy just knocked it with his hand as he was in my office, so it was just a small eject. He said that he didn't crash into anything. That is the only thing that has reared its head."
"One area for improvement of the solution is that I had to get Windows, which I really didn't want because of the extra maintenance or overhead, as well as viruses, etc. It's going to take time for them to get their Linux to that point. They already have Linux but it's not as mature and they don't really support it on HCAs. They have it for individuals who want to use it on their servers, but not on HCAs."
"They could improve by providing integration with HP."
"It needs more integration with backup vendors so there is native integration with it that will allow storage level backup/snapshots. I would love to see integration with Veeam and Commvault so it can be recognized by them directly and added as network storage."
"StarWind no longer sells HDDs for primary storage."
"They offered onsite installation, but we chose to do it ourselves. That took longer and was more work for us but saved us a ton of money in the end."
"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."
"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."
"Our entire package was around $35,000 for everything, including three years of support."
"There is a bit of a start-up cost. Having never used HCAs before, I was reluctant to buy it. I would suggest that you jump in and do it, as I wish I hadn't wasted so much time."
"In terms of cost, a storage array is more expensive... For half the cost of Compellent, I got two hosts, more storage, and redundancy."
"It's an all in one package, making it very easy."
"We didn't have any issue with pricing or any of the sales process."
"The HCA price is all-inclusive (setup, hardware, support, warranty), except for your standard Microsoft Server licensing."
"It costs about 50,000 euros."
"StarWind by far provides the best bang for the buck."
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.
For SMB and Enterprises who are looking for high performance primary storage for server virtualization, VDI, database and Big Data scenarios, or inexpensive secondary backup tier, our solution is StarWind Storage Appliance. It unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, and associated software into an easily scalable storage platform.
Additionally, the appliance features an optional gateway to Azure public cloud, which helps to implement an effective Disaster Recovery plan or meet regulatory requirements. StarWind SA scales up by adding individual disks and flash modules, or JBODs, while adding ready controller nodes allows scaling out.
StarWind SA targets those, who need high-performance primary storage or secondary storage for backup. In case there is a whole virtualization infrastructure to build from scratch, StarWind HCA will come in handy. Otherwise, if all the required hardware is present, StarWind Virtual SAN will be enough to build a high-performance virtualization setup.
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StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is ranked 3rd in Software Defined Storage (SDS) with 19 reviews while StarWind Storage Appliance is ranked 6th in NAS with 4 reviews. StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is rated 9.6, while StarWind Storage Appliance is rated 9.8. The top reviewer of StarWind HyperConverged Appliance writes "Because it's all built into one box, they could offer us the majority of the functionality we wanted, affordably". On the other hand, the top reviewer of StarWind Storage Appliance writes "Works as a service and does not require too many resources on the host". StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is most compared with Nutanix Acropolis AOS, VxRail, HPE SimpliVity, VMware vSAN and Dell EMC PowerFlex, whereas StarWind Storage Appliance is most compared with FreeNAS, StorMagic SvSAN, HPE SimpliVity and HPE Hyper Converged.
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