Most Helpful Review
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 StarWind HyperConverged Appliance vs. VxFlex (VxRack FLEX) and other solutions. Updated: November 2019.
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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.
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.
The solution is quite stable.
Perfectly suits customers dealing with the combination of future storage needs and, at the same time, keeping up their computing power.
The most valuable feature of this solution is integration.
The program is stable.
The setup was very straightforward.
It has reduced downtime. Before, on our previous solution, we used to have downtime on some of the servers because of the sort of convention. But currently I've not experienced any downtime on any of the servers, and there is no more resource congestion.
The most valuable feature is the overall integration and just seeing the three different layers which make up the machine software. Altogether, it's something that I would say is much better than any other solution that I have experienced before.
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.
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.
The solution needs to offer more documentation and educational materials.
Including instrumentation would be a helpful improvement.
There should be more functionality available for routing.
I am not really impressed by the technical support of this solution.
Needs some more monitoring tools.
We're also running Hyper-V virtual machines. But we recently discovered that migration of the Hyper-V virtual machines is a bit challenging. Maybe if Dell EMC can come out with a tool that will make it very easy for us to migrate the Microsoft Hyper-V machine, that may be an improvement.
Exporting data from the dashboard is not very user-friendly. It's just designed in a way that it's going to cover let's say 90%, 80%, of the end-users needs. If you need more sophisticated reporting it's not easy to have.
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."
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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Also Known As
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:
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.
VxRack System consists of hyper-converged rack-scale engineered systems, with integrated networking, to achieve the scalability and management requirements of traditional and cloud native workloads. The VxRack series is purposely designed to enable customers to quickly deploy Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and/or Private Cloud architectures. VxRack Systems tightly integrate hardware with software and management layers.
The result is a fully tested, pre-configured, hyper-converged system with simplified operations at data center and Service Provider scale. VxRack Systems support the deployment of a variety of application workloads, allowing IT to rapidly deliver new services while improving overall agility and efficiency.
Learn more about Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series
Learn more about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
Learn more about VxFlex (VxRack FLEX)
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