Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance vs. VxRail 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 most valuable feature of this solution is the automation and integration points with other automation tools.
I like the new releases that Dell EMC is doing with VMware. They are allowing for flexibility across the hybrid cloud. This allows organizations to use containers and to be able to move into the public cloud, but also not have lock-in. They can come back to the private cloud when they want to, so it's creating a lot of flexibility across the stack.
It gives us tons of flexibility. We can create new machines, then destroy them if they don't work out. We test a lot of use cases that may or may not play out. We can build all types of scenarios into virtual machines that we may or may not use. If we don't use them, we just turn them off, no using up resources.
The most valuable feature is its high performance.
We were able to speed up our gaming software, which was a big plus.
It is truly a hyper-converged infrastructure, so everything is there together.
It's a turnkey solution, which is good for customers, because they are buying into stability.
The most valuable feature in the VxRail solution is the software that binds the management portal and its ease of use of managing the environment. The guys don't have to worry about getting multiple solutions specialist. You can have one person looking at and managing the whole environment.
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.
Having a native replication would be an improvement.
It still has some maturity to grow. It needs to be more tightly integrated with its own family of products. It has shown that it is open with the other products within the market, through its stack, but it needs to have the proof in the market (with use-cases), and it has to have the scalability with the integration.
I would like them to include an easier solution to host its own DNS. When they changed to version 6.5, they took out the easy features of letting the rail be its own DNS. You can still trick the system and make the VxRail Manager another one of the rail-required VMs become the DNS, but it's a lot of extra work. I'd like to see it put back into the UI.
There are still some features which aren't built into Cisco, like virtualized networking, that use its applications. However, these can be purchased through another product as an additional licensing cost to us.
I would like an easier migration. This way, if a node fails like it did, the data would have been migrated and I would not have had to get up at three in the morning.
I would like better integration with VCF from VMware, which is the Cloud Foundation tool set, so we can easily provision servers very quickly.
I would like it to tier to the cloud effectively, making sure that cold data can be pushed out to some sort of Bitbucket.
From a hardware and software perspective, there could be an improvement in the sales cycle, as there is a lot of hoops to go through to get pricing on a solution.
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.
The real ROI is the benefit of being able to do a true hybrid cloud, not having to move from CAPEX to OPEX in a pure break.
There is an administrative cost savings. Instead of having seven to 15 separate boxes that someone has to administer on 15 different terminals, you can do the majority of it from one interface. Therefore, it saves on manpower costs.
We were expecting Dell EMC to bring us something that would work very quickly and easily, but also be at a reasonable price point, and they did.
The price point needs improvement, certainly for smaller SMBs. The cost of it is still quite painful. I think all vendors should do a product which is capped either by terabytes, IOPs, or VM instances. It should be an SMB solution that's going to make hyper-converged solutions easier for SMBs to get hold of. It's fine for those big guys that have billions of dollars of budget, but not for customers who have barely a 100,000 dollars or pounds in budget.
The price is a little bit on the higher side but the system and management are so quick and easy that it's worth it for the customer.
We most likely pay yearly for support. The cost was justified by now because it stays up and I don't have to constantly open tickets. I probably rebooted the system once or twice. We haven't replaced any discs in the storage, we haven't had to do any disc replacements, so it just runs. You pay a little more but you cut down on the maintenance.
Compare it to what you spent on your last solution.
Compare the VxRail product to Nutanix. Nutanix has more features, but its pricing is higher.
Compared 34% of the time.
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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.
VxRail is the only fully integrated, preconfigured, and pre-tested VMware hyper-converged infrastructure appliance family on the market. Based on VMware’s vSphere and Virtual SAN, and EMC software, VxRail delivers an all-in-one IT infrastructure transformation by leveraging a known and proven building block for the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC).
With the power of a whole SAN in just two rack units, they provide a simple, cost effective hyper-converged solution for a wide variety of applications and workloads. VxRail Appliances deliver resiliency, QoS, and centralized management functionality enabling faster, better, and simpler management of consolidated workloads, virtual desktops, business-critical applications, and remote office infrastructure.
Learn more about Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series
Learn more about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
Learn more about VxRail
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