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StarWind Storage Appliance OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

StarWind Storage Appliance is the #6 ranked solution in our list of top NAS tools. It is most often compared to FreeNAS: StarWind Storage Appliance vs FreeNAS

What is StarWind Storage Appliance?

For SMB and Enterprises who are looking for high performance primary storage for server virtualization, VDI, database and Big Data scenarios, or inexpensive secondary backup tier, our solution is StarWind Storage Appliance. It unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, and associated software into an easily scalable storage platform.

Additionally, the appliance features an optional gateway to Azure public cloud, which helps to implement an effective Disaster Recovery plan or meet regulatory requirements. StarWind SA scales up by adding individual disks and flash modules, or JBODs, while adding ready controller nodes allows scaling out. 

StarWind SA targets those, who need high-performance primary storage or secondary storage for backup. In case there is a whole virtualization infrastructure to build from scratch, StarWind HCA will come in handy. Otherwise, if all the required hardware is present, StarWind Virtual SAN will be enough to build a high-performance virtualization setup. 

Buyer's Guide

Download the NAS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

StarWind Storage Appliance Customers

Bosch, EC2 IT, Solid Earth Inc., Canon

StarWind Storage Appliance Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about StarWind Storage Appliance pricing:
  • "StarWind by far provides the best bang for the buck."
  • "It costs about 50,000 euros."

StarWind Storage Appliance Reviews

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reviewer1365102
IT Manager at a transportation company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5
Works as a service and does not require too many resources on the host

Pros and Cons

  • "Another good feature is that you can pause the appliance if you want to move it from one location to another and then once it's moved you can resume it, this way you can physically move the whole cluster or storage without any downtime. Its really easy to use, if you have a good foundation in storage and clustering then you will need less then one hour to figure out how to operate it."
  • "It needs more integration with backup vendors so there is native integration with it that will allow storage level backup/snapshots. I would love to see integration with Veeam and Commvault so it can be recognized by them directly and added as network storage."

What is our primary use case?

It's the main storage (CSV) for our Microsoft Hyper-V Cluster. We have two devices on Dell hardware that have StarWind VSAN installed, they have 25GB NIC in between for storage replication and all the storage is replicated so we can easily work on one node while the other is active. It's in Active-Active state so the load is shared. The storage is formated as CSV and it works over iSCSI protocol so we use our same network so there is no need for expensive fiber links. We run hundreds of virtual machines on this storage that needs to be always available. 

How has it helped my organization?

It improved our uptime dramatically where we did not have any outage in the past 12 months. Also, we were using multiple storage vendors in the past and were able to replace them with a single StarWind solution. As its primary software solution, you can choose the hardware it operates on, if you have purchased just the software license is really easy to move it from one hardware to another or increase the underlying storage system or add more hard drives as your need increases. An additional benefit is their support which is great.

What is most valuable?

It works as a service and does not require too many resources on the host, it has really fast replication if you have it as an HA storage. Another good feature is that you can pause the appliance if you want to move it from one location to another and then once it's moved you can resume it, this way you can physically move the whole cluster or storage without any downtime. It's really easy to use, if you have a good foundation in storage and clustering then you will need less then one hour to figure out how to operate it. 

What needs improvement?

It needs more integration with backup vendors so there is native integration with it that will allow storage level backup/snapshots. I would love to see integration with Veeam and Commvault so it can be recognized by them directly and added as network storage. 

It also will be great if it will be able to send weekly reports about the status of the storage, any issues, etc. More features that will provide how many IOPS you have per volume/disks, with nice charts, etc so you get some insight into what your environment is using.

For how long have I used the solution?

More then 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable, works on Windows OS, and does not have its own hardware so stability partially depends on the hardware you are running it on and if your windows os is patched regularly but if you have sorted those two things their software is really stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not an issue, depending on the hardware you have it the scale really fast.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is very knowledgable and willing to help, they always go well beyond what is required to make sure things works as expected. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Open-E storage solution. It was software-defined storage so in sense similar to StarWind but it was way more complex to configure and operate and there was no option to be used as HCI as it was coming with its own OS so you can't really use the box for something else. 

How was the initial setup?

Its very straightforward, they have great documentation that if followed can be deployed really easily, plus they have superb support .

What about the implementation team?

We did the deployment in-house.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cost is really something that attracts us to begin the journey with StarWind many years ago but then we simply realized that their solution works with superb performances and are really happy to stick to it. We use it on HCI mode where we just purchased the software and build our own solution with our own hardware and also we have purchased a ready-made appliance from StarWind, both work fine and we are happy with them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at pure storage as well but it was too costly.

What other advice do I have?

Their support is great and they are improving their software with every new iteration. Really happy to be their customer. Keep up the good work guys!

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MemphisGuy
Network Services Manager at a educational organization with 51-200 employees
User
Top 5
Great performance with excellent technical support and good scalability

Pros and Cons

  • "They call us when monitoring shows a possible issue and are very flexible in working with our schedule to troubleshoot when it is convenient for us."
  • "They offered onsite installation, but we chose to do it ourselves. That took longer and was more work for us but saved us a ton of money in the end."

What is our primary use case?

We were using 4GB FC to support our 3-host ESXi cluster and switched to StarWind over 10GB iSCSI. We installed one 2-node SAN for proof of concept, then another one so we could retire our FC SANs, then another SSD-based one when we needed better performance on critical VMs. We were able to select hardware from our preferred vendor. Two of the clusters run on standalone servers, and the SSD SAN runs on our ESXi hosts, giving us a hyper-converged environment for those servers that need the additional performance.

How has it helped my organization?

We had end-of-life (and end-of-support) 4GB FC switches and SANs which were going to cost us a ton of money to upgrade, and decided to switch to iSCSI over a 10-GB backbone.  Going with iSCSI simplified our infrastructure. Instead of running FC for storage in parallel with our ethernet, we were able to purchase 10GB switches that could handle both and that gave us combined visibility and manageability with one management interface which also handles our periphery switches and wireless in one interface.

What is most valuable?

First of all, it is iSCSI. We were looking to get rid of our FC infrastructure and go to pure ethernet switches, and this enabled us to do so. Second, the Proactive support has been excellent. They call us when monitoring shows a possible issue and are very flexible in working with our schedule to troubleshoot when it is convenient for us. They are experts in hardware and software and are able to troubleshoot and fix underlying issues like firmware and drivers. The solution also has excellent performance.

What needs improvement?

I'm really not sure what improvements are needed to the product. It works pretty well and I haven't seen anything that obviously needed improvement. We elected to do the physical installation ourselves, so they preconfigured the equipment and shipped it - complete with excellent installation instructions. Once we did the physical install, they connected remotely to do the final configuration and helped get us into production. They offered onsite installation, but we chose to do it ourselves. That took longer and was more work for us but saved us a ton of money in the end.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution since about 2015.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is widely scalable. It is as simple as plugging in additional hard drives into the server and adding storage space up to its capacity.  The software license is independent of hardware and is for Unlimited storage, so you can replace the entire storage server and use the same software license.  It can run on your virtualization hosts for a hyperconverged environment or on standalone servers.  There is even a free version with full functionality.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's been great. They generally call if there is any issue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used FC SANs from EMC and Xiotech which were end-of-support and were going to cost us a ton to replace.

How was the initial setup?

If you want turnkey, they will come onsite. Our setup was more complex due to the fact that we did the physical install, however, they were available every step of the way.

What about the implementation team?

We had our in-house team handle it with support from StarWind.

What was our ROI?

It gave very good ROI. The alternative was to spend a lot more to upgrade our FC infrastructure and that was just not acceptable.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is straightforward, per node and capacity, with only 2 capacity tiers. It wasn't difficult. They will install it onsite or preconfigure it and ship it to you. We saved a ton by installing it ourselves. The pricing was great and simplifying to iSCSI saved us even more money in the end. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at several options. I swore I would never buy EMC again, but we looked at Xiotech, NetApp, Dell, and others.

What other advice do I have?

We love it and rely on it.  We also have had no problems. Others likely will like it too.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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reviewer1493760
Founder at Provectus Networks
Real User
Top 5
Knowledgeable support, good performance, and has instant failover redundancy

Pros and Cons

  • "Having instant failover redundancy helps me sleep easier at night."
  • "StarWind no longer sells HDDs for primary storage."

What is our primary use case?

I manage a number of different IT environments ranging in the 10 to 500 staff level, and the StarWind Storage Appliance is one of the products that I use in this role.

What is most valuable?

StarWind is very good, performance-wise. I opt for all-flash arrays every time, and I see they made the announcement that they are only selling all-flash. This is a great move, as all-flash at the server level is an absolute game-changer.

Whole environments run so much smoother and this really makes the IT admin's life easier. If we have to deploy on-premises servers, it's all-flash or nothing for us.

Having instant failover redundancy helps me sleep easier at night.

What needs improvement?

StarWind no longer sells HDDs for primary storage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I work with environments ranging from 10 to 500 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

What also sets StarWind apart is the support. They have techs that are not just call-routers, but that actually know and can troubleshoot issues 24x7. Most do have accents, which may be an issue for some, but everyone I have worked with, in their support team, has been patient and professional. So, in my opinion, this is not an issue.

Besides, at the end of the day, the goal is to solve issues and this is something you will definitely achieve.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

StarWind by far provides the best bang for the buck.

The big players are a stretch price-wise for the clients in this range, and StarWind beats them every time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are several other competitors in this space that I did look at, but StarWind was just really easy to work with. They have resources on every team to get you what you need. This includes pre-sales, design, management escalation, and technical support.

They provided the specs I needed, so I didn’t really need to look much further.

What other advice do I have?

How they can offer all of this and 24x7 level support and provide the hardware at extremely affordable costs is beyond me. There is no question that for future purchases, StarWind will be my #1 go-to.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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RobMooij
CTO at Bg-software
Real User
Top 5
Has a good management interface and good stability

What is our primary use case?

The use case is that it is cheap and easy to set up. There are no complex software complications. Use this solution for a simple, high-availability setup.

What is most valuable?

The management interface is the most valuable feature for us.

What needs improvement?

They could improve by providing integration with HP.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable, but our use case is in the lower end of the market. We are in the SMB market.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support team is excellent.

How was

What is our primary use case?

The use case is that it is cheap and easy to set up. There are no complex software complications. Use this solution for a simple, high-availability setup.

What is most valuable?

The management interface is the most valuable feature for us.

What needs improvement?

They could improve by providing integration with HP.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is very good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable, but our use case is in the lower end of the market. We are in the SMB market.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support team is excellent.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It costs about 50,000 euros.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this product. I would rate it as nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner