Most Helpful Review
Researched VxRail but chose StarWind HyperConverged Appliance: 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. VxRail and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
398,259 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...
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
out of 38 in Hyper-Converged (HCI)
Average Words per Review
out of 38 in Hyper-Converged (HCI)
Average Words per Review
Compared 41% of the time.
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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.
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 StarWind HyperConverged Appliance
Learn more about VxRail
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K 12 Educational Company Or School14%
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Financial Services Firm18%
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