StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Overview

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is the #3 ranked solution in our list of top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools. It is most often compared to Nutanix Acropolis AOS: StarWind HyperConverged Appliance vs Nutanix Acropolis AOS

What is StarWind HyperConverged Appliance?

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. 

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Buyer's Guide

Download the StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: April 2021

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Customers

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StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance pricing:
  • "Our entire package was around $35,000 for everything, including three years of support."
  • "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."
  • "In terms of cost, a storage array is more expensive... For half the cost of Compellent, I got two hosts, more storage, and redundancy."
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."

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RB
IT Manager at Bonitas Trust
Real User
Because it's all built into one box, they could offer us the majority of the functionality we wanted, affordably

What is our primary use case?

What we use it for is resilience in our Hyper-V cluster, for both the guests and the data. We have two appliances split between two physical comms rooms onsite. If we lost the power or network to one comms room, all of the guests and all of the data residing in the second comms room would be dynamically available.

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

My advice is to check it out. Everybody has a tick-box of what they want to achieve with a product. If you've got that, apply it to StarWind. Give them a chance to offer you a solution that meets all those ticks in those boxes, because I think they can do it at a very good price. There isn't really a compromise in that in any way. You're getting a really good solution at a really good price, and you're not actually making any compromises. The biggest eyeopener for me is that there are solutions out there that don't have to cost a lot of money for a very robust and resilient solution. StarWind…
Owner at Data Barn
Consultant
All of the failovers and converged storage are pre-configured, saving me significant time, and the support is high-level

What is our primary use case?

I'm a value-added reseller for Microsoft. I do some other stuff on these HCAs too, but that's the easiest way to describe it. I'm providing a remote workspace for a special, select subgroup of clients who are running a pretty specific product called Infor. I'm pretty experienced with hosting and supporting this particular product, so I decided to also wrap a value-added reselling business around it so that I could give them a full remote workspace, instead of just support for their product. We're running virtualized workloads for 300 or 400 users at this point. Our goal is to have them log in… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

Look long and hard at your current hardware. There is a significant utility in sticking with a single vendor for stuff like this. If you are at that point where you need to refresh pretty much your entire environment, or a significant portion of it, I would say you should seriously look at StarWind because they would potentially be able to take care of just about everything, hardware-wise, as long as you're a small enough shop and you're ready to really commit. Up until implementation, in March of this year, we were very reliant on ourselves and sub-contractors to support the hardware…
Learn what your peers think about StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2021.
502,275 professionals have used our research since 2012.
DR
CEO CIO at Store & Haul Inc
Real User
High-availability should prevent any downtime and the costs associated with it

What is our primary use case?

I wanted something for high-availability. We're a logistics company and we have guys working 24/7, to some degree. I needed a solution that was going to provide high-availability. It's all on-prem. It's the two-node, high-availability model.

Pros and Cons

  • "High-availability is what I bought it for."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

I feel like it's a pretty solid solution. I actually asked them if they're publicly traded because I was going to buy stock in their company. I would really encourage people to check out StarWind. I come from a software development background, so a lot of virtualization and some of the related areas are very new for me. I've learned a lot and taught myself a lot. I have a lot of buddies in this field, in virtualization, networking, and server management, etc. I've been really suggesting to them that they take a look at it and see what they think. I've been really impressed with it so far…
RF
Systems Admin at a tech vendor with 201-500 employees
Real User
Provides us with cost-effective redundancy and a significantly smaller footprint

What is our primary use case?

We use it for virtualization related to development. We have two entities in our company. One is corporate, a subcontractor for NASA. And the other one is an electronic timesheet system. For the corporate side, it's mainly a file server. And we use StarWind HCA for development of the electronic timesheet system. It provides us VMs and tools.

Pros and Cons

  • "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..."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

I love StarWind HCA because of the cost and the redundancy. I love the service, the support. Across the board, it was the best choice. I love the HCA because it's all-in-one and everything is pre-configured. I could have bought my own servers but it would have taken longer to bring up the environment. It would have been less expensive, but StarWind's hardware and software support and the compatibility of all the hardware components add a little bit more to the reliability of the system. That's why I went with the HCA instead of doing it myself. I certainly could have done it myself if I had…
KS
Systems Administrator at Hospice of the Western Reserve
Real User
Gives us full redundancy - compute and the storage - we could lose a full node and still keep everything up and running

What is our primary use case?

We are using the system to run our various virtual machines in a Hyper-V cluster. They run services such as SQL Servers, our Skype for Business phone system, some financial applications, various domain services, and SharePoint servers, among other miscellaneous systems. We use StarWind’s HyperConverged Appliance in one of our server rooms and plan on upgrading more legacy equipment at another location next year. We have it set up as a Microsoft Hyper-V private cloud.

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that we've learned from using it is to let somebody else do all the hard work of finding the right configuration and putting together the hardware. It will save you a lot of time and get you up and running a lot quicker. With our previous solution, there was a lot of trial and error and learning. The StarWind solution was basically: plug it in, configure it for a few hours, and start moving virtual machines onto it. It seems like a great product. It does what it's supposed to do and it does it very quickly. Besides making it free, I don't know what they can do to improve it…
Network Manager at Riverston Schools
Real User
Provides around the clock support that is supportive, friendly, and dedicated

What is our primary use case?

We were running out of storage on our on-prem servers, so originally the HCAs were brought in to combat that and relieve some of the load on the veteran machines. Our file servers, along with one of our file storage, have moved to the HCA. I have put our Exchange server on it and the backup of the domain controller is on it as well. We are using the latest version. We just implemented the HCAs. We added clusters and have moved some of the old virtual machines onto these new HCAs.

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson that I learned was I should have started as 1st Line Support. There was a situation where our old network manager had to leave quite suddenly, and there were definitely holes in my knowledge. So, I learned quite a lot just through the setup, Boris talking me through different types of connections, and some Hyper-V stuff. I suppose that I also learned a lot about HCAs in general and how they fit into network clusters since I hadn't touched on clusters before. I would rate it a 10 (out of 10). I'm very happy. It's exactly the solution I wanted to the problem, then extra on…
IT Manager at Projects Inc.
Real User
Enabled us to significantly condense and eliminated excess in our server rack

What is our primary use case?

We run it mostly for business processes. We have a manufacturing plant. We use it for our ERP system, some of our databases, some IT applications. It really drives the organization and the main things we use on a day-to-day basis.

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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..."

What other advice do I have?

Not so much with the appliance itself, but more the process for going from physical to virtual machines took a lot of planning. That was a little challenging. They did offer to help migrate some of our data over to the new servers if we chose to, but we decided not to. We did everything in-house in terms of getting everything migrated over to the new servers. For a small to mid-size organization, it's a great fit. It may not be the right fit if you're a really big enterprise. I would give the solution a nine out of ten. There's great hardware in this solution. Everything that we purchased was…
AL
IT Infrastructure Analyst at a retailer with 201-500 employees
Real User
The improved response times and performance are helpful

What is our primary use case?

We use it to replace some Hyper-V infrastructure. We are looking for some decomplication, hopefully. Our old Hyper-V cluster was three Dell R410 servers with two Cisco switches that were connected by iSCSI to VNX. The VNX was coming toward end-of-life. I've de-cabled it now and taken out the rack and I've got a box of Ethernet cables. There was a massive amount of stuff that did the same job as two servers and a couple of Mellanox cards. Although it was end-of-life, we got some quite severe warning emails from EMC saying, "This is it guys. Your support is terminating. If anything goes wrong… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "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."
  • "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."

What other advice do I have?

They're not really appliances, they're are just two servers with a bit of software on them. It's slightly misleading that it's hyperconverged appliances. It's just two white-box servers with a Mellanox card in it. In terms of improvement to IOPS or latency from using it, we haven't seen anything drastic. But then again, we weren't really hitting it hard before. I've not measured it. It has just not caused us any trouble. So it's all good. I would give it a solid eight out of ten. It's trouble-free, it's very clear to use. It's not one of those implementations where you're tearing your hair…
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