Most Helpful Review
Researched VMware vSAN but chose StarWind HyperConverged Appliance: High-availability should prevent any downtime and the costs associated with it
Find out what your peers are saying about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance vs. VMware vSAN and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
396,515 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 features of the solution are the redundancy and its cost. I used to have a SAN, a Dell EMC EqualLogic. Unfortunately, it was they call an "inverted pyramid of doom." It was two or three hosts, two switches, and one storage array at the very bottom. But the SAN, the storage array at the very bottom, is a single point of failure...
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.
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 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.
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.
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 can also create test cases. We can even throttle down performance or release more performance. So, we can run more precise test scenarios.
When we do to do more scaled load testing, we can run more dense workloads and still have the same results across all specific nodes
It is more stable now than it was before. It's not like it was in the first year. Now it is stable, and we trust it more.
VMware vSAN has greatly reduced refresh spending.
The newer versions of this solution are much more stable and easier to manage.
As a function of our core business, it's a sought after tool that helps us provide analytical support across a wide spectrum of client needs. It's allowed us to test out in our connected restaurant - "TheWorks" - a fully-functional restaurant experience center that allows our clients to discover the value of our connected solutions firsthand. We deploy vSAN in this customer-like environment within a hyperconvergent infrastruction (HCI) to give our clients a better understanding and help optimize data and the end-users' experience.
The most valuable feature is the ability to continue our business needs and have higher visibility. It has definitely increased our business productivity levels.
To me, VMware is a leader of the visualizations. I think everyone just follow VMware.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
When we talk about improvements for vSAN, there is some way to go from a at least stability perspective. Adding all these new features is nice, but we are now at the level that most of the features you need in production are there.
Upgradability could be a bit easier sometimes. We are now where vSAN can be updated without ESXi, but there is still enough dependency. So that would be good if that actually would uncoupled even more.
Disaster recovery needs to be improved, when there is a crisis, there is a problem with what is the quickest way to get out of it.
This solution is not great for large file shares/object/rich media repository.
This solution would benefit from better collaboration with Cisco for driver updates.
I would like to see the availability of more template based VMware systems. Combined with the ability to check and measure multiple and converging data segments. Another issue I've seen is that the tool seems to be slow when first starting up.
I would love for this product to be cheaper and easier to configure.
It is an expensive solution.
Pricing and Cost Advice
In terms of cost, a storage array is more expensive... For half the cost of Compellent, I got two hosts, more storage, and redundancy.
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.
Our entire package was around $35,000 for everything, including three years of support.
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.
ROI from an administrative perspective is clearly much better because I only have to deal with one user interface.
I'd love for this product to be cheaper.
The only problem I have with VMware is the price. It is a good product, but it is expensive.
With vSAN, we didn't find the market that competitive.
The vSAN is somewhat expensive to license.
The vSAN licensing is not an inexpensive product. It does cost more than hypervisor.
We did consider other hyperconverged solutions. It usually came down to price. vSan was the most cost effective thing.
What made us go with this solution was price point. When you can utilize existing storage infrastructure, and not have to continually purchase new SAN products out there that are going up in price as time goes by, then it's a wonderful thing.
out of 38 in Hyper-Converged (HCI)
Average Words per Review
out of 38 in Hyper-Converged (HCI)
Average Words per Review
Compared 42% of the time.
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Compared 9% of the time.
Also Known As
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.
VMware vSAN is the industry-leading software powering Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solutions.
What vSAN Does
Learn more about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
Learn more about VMware vSAN
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