StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Initial Setup

Ross Bullock
IT Manager at Bonitas Trust
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. Because of the way we are funded, I could spend the money only once. I have to write a business case for everything we do and I put all the costs in that business case. What I can't do is go off and buy a load of additional stuff because I should have added it to the business case. So the agreement was that the cabling for our infrastructure would be supplied with the StarWind but, unfortunately, they just couldn't do that. They supplied the wrong cables and the wrong number of cables. In the end, I had to go and buy all the equipment myself to do it, because they just didn't seem to be able to deal with it. I think the problem was with the UK side, with whomever they outsource the setup and installation to in the UK. If it had been a solution where they'd had to come onsite and install it, it would have been an absolute mess. We were quoted three to four weeks for the deployment time but, in the end, it took about six or seven weeks. We did have an implementation strategy for this product, but it all went out the window when we didn't get the cabling right. Because it's a school, the kids were on their summer break from the end of July through until the beginning of September. We had plans to do work in that time but, in the end, we just couldn't do that work because we didn't get the StarWind in early enough to do it. Some of that was our fault. We did order the product later than we wanted because we were looking at HPE, Dell, and StarWind together. But if we hadn't had the issue with the cabling, a weeks-long issue, we would have been a lot more successful in the summer. Because that's the only time we really get a chance to do anything big on our infrastructure, some of the work we would have done in this past September will now have to be done in August of this year. View full review »
Owner at Data Barn
The implementation was fairly simple. I had a really big, heavy pair of Dell EMC server boxes delivered to my workplace. I had to schedule some time to go physically into the data center, which is hosted two miles away from my office. The entire installation procedure was really a matter of unbox, throw the rails in, throw the servers on the rails. Each server then needed two power cords and two SFP connections between the servers themselves. And, bare minimum, they need one management connection to whatever your local Cat 5 switch is. That was it. That was really all that that needed to be configured, hardware-wise. Once those were up and running, we spent maybe 45 minutes just getting the initial Hyper-V configuration done, and I was off and running. I was able to create and migrate VMs at will. No downtime, no reconfiguration, and literally nothing else. All together it took about two hours for completely setting up the hardware and getting Hyper-V ready to create guests. We didn't have an implementation plan. Physically, we had room in our racks and spaces for the power supplies and the cables. The only planning was that I gave StarWind a half-day's heads-up that I was going to get everything installed. They were on the phone and on a remote support session at pretty much the minute that I was ready to do the software side of things. I enlisted some help to get things physically installed. Once that was done, it was just me and one StarWind engineer. We had to be on the phone for about an hour in total over that entire process. It was just me and that one person. They seem to have their process petty down pat. He was flying through the configuration and I was just sitting in the back seat watching. View full review »
David Rager
CEO CIO at Store & Haul Inc
High-availability is a little bit complex in general. They made it as easy as it could be. I worked with their tech support and they walked me through everything. I felt that it was pretty simple, overall. Technically, in terms of the deployment, we got the two hosts in, racked them, got them hooked up to the network. That took a couple of days. Then they came on. They had Windows Server 2016 already installed on both boxes, so I activated the data center version. From there, I got on the phone with them and they walked me through the rest of it. That took a couple of hours for configuring stuff and making sure everything was good. From their side, it was pretty quick. The boxes arrived pretty quickly after I ordered them. Overall, it was pretty fast. It didn't take long to get them going. From there, I had to build out my VMs on top of the host and do all the installs for the software product that we're putting together. In terms of deployment and maintenance, it's just one person. I'm the only one doing it right now. View full review »
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Kristopher Skully
Systems Administrator at Hospice of the Western Reserve
The setup was very quick. After purchasing the hardware, before it was shipped there was a form to fill out to specify IP addresses, server OS version, and some other settings so that StarWind could set up the hardware and have it nearly configured when it arrived at our location. There was an initial quick-start guide that I had to go through after it arrived. It was about ten steps and included cabling the hardware, logging in, setting a password, and joining it to the domain. Then there was about an hour-long call with StarWind Support to do the final configuration of creating the cluster. They configured a couple of things and sent us on our way to start moving virtual machines over. Altogether, there was about an hour or so of pre-call stuff, and then maybe a little more than an hour on the phone. The software and the operating system came pre-installed. There were just a couple of configuration checks and things that they needed to do to finalize everything. It was mostly just me involved in the setup. I had some help installing it physically, but it only takes one person to do the install. View full review »
Claire Madison
IT Manager at Projects Inc.
The initial setup was very straightforward. We got the units in, we plugged them in, and set them up. They had given us a map of how everything should be connected, which I had no difficulty understanding. They then followed up with a more formal implementation day, where they did some of the final setup on the two units. It was a GoToMeeting type of set up and they remoted in and finished configuring the host. I do wish that they had done the setup in advance so that we could have run them right away. I thought they would be a fully turnkey kind of product, so I was a little surprised to see that there was an extra set up when we got them in. But it was nothing too time-intensive. The software configuration took about an hour. The hardware was done by them before we even received the product. It did take a couple of days before we could actually get them booked to finish the installation. That was my main complaint, not so much the actual time it took the technician to do the rest of it. It could be done by one person, but two are helpful for the initial racking. And for day-to-day maintenance, now that it's deployed, we definitely need just one full-time person. View full review »
IT Infrastructure Analyst at a retailer with 201-500 employees
The initial setup was fairly straightforward. The only thing that wasn't straightforward was, "Oh, we've never had Supermicro before." It was a matter of getting used to, and documenting, how stuff works. There were no instructions. We just got two boxes. There wasn't any "Welcome to your StarWind Hyperconverged Appliance." It was just two brown boxes with two servers in them. We just racked it up and then had a phone call with them and let the guys at StarWind know when it was online. It was up and running in our environment pretty much straight away. The only problem I had were the SFP cables: "Which way up do these go? And does it go A to B, or A to A and B to B?" So that required a phone call. The only other problem that we encountered, that protracted the migration, was that while they've got good V-to-V migration software, our old environment was 2008 R2 and it wasn't supported by the migration software. So we had to "handle" it. It was a matter of having to recreate the service. I scripted it from PowerShell myself, and did them one or two each weekend over a period of three or four weeks. They're production servers so they had to be down to do the Hyper-V conversion process. Our file server took a while. It is about a terabyte-and-a-half. It took about 11 hours to convert, but I had it scripted anyway. So once it converted, I just did a convert from source to the StarWind. That was part of the copy process. It was then just create out and boot and notify me. For the setup it was just me involved. View full review »
Interim CTO at Royal Koopmans
The initial setup is absolutely straightforward. Just open the box and follow the instructions, do the cabling, and you're set. And StarWind gives good implementation support. The moment it has been set up and is running, they will do a complete operational test. The moment they say, "Okay, the system is good to go," you're able to use it. It's a matter of one or two days. The deployment plan for the company I'm currently at was to virtualize all the operating systems, to get rid of all the hardware and consolidate. They had outsourced their systems services. By putting it back on-premise and hiring two full-time equivalents, I saved 50 percent of my IT budget. View full review »
IT Manager at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
The setup was straightforward. We completed a survey which provided information to configure the appliance and they did that before shipping it to us. By the time we received it, it was very simple to physically install and get it on our network. Everything else was pretty much configured. The most time in the process was probably due to moving and converting the virtual machines. It wasn't the nature of the product itself, it was just our workloads on it. The whole process, once we received it until we were up and running in production, took about four weeks. Our implementation strategy was to make it a secondary environment. We transitioned from our old Hyper-V host structure to this one, one VM at a time. We had some flexibility to keep up and running in both the older and the newer environments, as we were completing the transition. View full review »
IT Operations Manager
So simple. The StarWind team does most of the initial configuration, and we finished on site. We were up and running in two days. View full review »
Ho-Ching Yung
IT Director/Senior Software Developer at a construction company with 201-500 employees
Fairly straightforward because StarWind handles most of the setup. We did handle the network setup because we added redundancy at the switch level. View full review »
User at a non-profit with 501-1,000 employees
Andrew Wolf
Civil Engineer at a construction company with 11-50 employees
The initial setup was straightforward. All was a breeze. View full review »
Technical Consultant at GMA
The initial setup is straightforward once you know what you're doing. It's a solution that people should be able to install it on their own. View full review »
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