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FS
Company Owner at a insurance company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
Simple to set up, facilitates redundancy of mission-critical applications, and the support is good

Pros and Cons

  • "VSAN works great; it's very easy to install, configure, and manage."
  • "There is no Italian-language version of the software available."

What is our primary use case?

We built an HCI Hyper-V two-node cluster without SAN or S2D at our main site. It is used to run 25 virtual machines that host operating systems and applications including Windows 2016/2019, Debian, SQL, and PostgreSQL. It provides business continuity to my organization.

We also implemented a "Windows 2019 Guest Cluster" inside a Hyper-V Cluster without any problem. 

How has it helped my organization?

I'm not an IT Manager but an insurance broker with limited IT knowledge, and I was able to install, configure, and manage a hyper-converged cluster in a couple of hours without any problem.

VSAN works great; it's very easy to install, configure, and manage. I received precious support before buying, during the installation, and after.

All of our mission-critical applications and services are now completely redundant.

What is most valuable?

VSAN doesn't require either an expensive SAN or the expensive hardware required for Microsoft S2D on Windows Server Datacenter Edition. I can have an HCI two-cluster node using our 2,5" SAS HDD in RAID 10 without an SSD and the performance is great.

In the case of power failure or critical events, it's very simple to get back in production. The console is very simple and clear, and the PowerShell commands are very useful. 

Using one of the numerous tutorials, we created scripts to shut down and restart the cluster in case of a power outage.

What needs improvement?

There is no Italian-language version of the software available. Although I'd prefer an Italian version, I received extensive and comprehensive support in all of the deployment steps. This included communication by email, call, and video.

During a long power outage our UPS batteries was completely discharged, on power on Starwind vSAN wasn't able to choose which node was the correct node to sync from so we had to "mark as Syncronize" one of them. Then we wrote some powershell scripts to power off and power on   the nodes in sequence  before ups completely discharghe and then on power on. I'd like to manage these cases directly on GUI. Something like "in case vSAN isn't be able to mark as Syncronized a node, mark this node as sync"

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

StarWind is extremely stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In case we should decide to add other nodes, I think that this solution will scale easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is perfect.

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

We did not use another similar solution prior to StarWind.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very simple.

What about the implementation team?

I was able to install VSAN on my own and I'm not an IT manager but an insurance broker. I received great support from StarWind technicians.

What was our ROI?

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

We found that the pricing was perfect; simple and clear.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Microsoft S2D before choosing this product.

What other advice do I have?

In summary, I think it's the best solution I could buy to achieve my goals.

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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ITCS user
Web Services and Systems Development at a non-profit with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Helpful and proactive support, offers full redundancy, and is cost-effective

Pros and Cons

  • "The vSAN provides full redundancy for storage while reclaiming some rack space."
  • "I found that certain browsers are not fully compatible with the administration web access portal."

What is our primary use case?

StarWind Virtual SAN has been a welcomed addition to my network.

How has it helped my organization?

Overall, StarWinds vSAN is a cost-saving storage option with top-notch support.

The vSAN provides full redundancy for storage while reclaiming some rack space. I can focus on other IT needs now, rather than having to worry about redundancy with an aging physical SAN storage unit. If an HDD fails, I can easily hot-swap and continue the business.

Support was extremely helpful in regards to setup and implementation.

What is most valuable?

The admin portal has been easy to use and provides a great overview of health and usage.

What needs improvement?

I found that certain browsers are not fully compatible with the administration web access portal. I would like to see continued improvement with additional compatibility for other browsers to be able to work properly with the administrator web portal.

I did find out, with the help of StarWind's support, that the Firefox browser seems to be the browser that works the best with their web portal.

It also appears that vMotion is slower than my previous SAN solution, which was a traditional physical unit.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Since implementation, I have not had one issue with performance or stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution, as it is simple to add another vSAN.

How are customer service and technical support?

I never felt rushed while I had to install additional host NIC cards and they walked me through every step of the setup process. Their support has been quick to respond and with frequent updates. They will always work a case until I am satisfied that I have a proper and understood answer.

I am not bombarded with additional sales calls, but they do check in from time to time only to make sure all is well. That is appreciated.

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

I was forced to replace my traditional physical SAN when I was unable to get additional service parts, even as it was still under a support contract. I needed a full-featured, low-cost replacement for it.

StarWind came highly recommended throughout various IT channels and colleagues.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented myself, with the use of StarWind's support team. Their support team was instrumental in aiding the completion of the setup process.

The support was a great resource for setup and continued use. They took the time to really explain how their solution works, specifically within my environment.

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

StarWind is a low-cost, full-featured alternative to the traditional SAN environment, and their support will guide you every step of the setup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Dell/EMC and HPE solutions and they were all extremely expensive.

A sales rep was quick to get me in touch with an engineer who patiently walked me through my endless questions of compatibility and setup. They even assisted with recommendations for host hard drives: both HDD and SSD options.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, StarWinds vSAN is a cost-saving storage option with top-notch support.

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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Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
555,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Justin Graves
IT Supervisor at Area Agency on Aging Region 9, Inc.
Real User
Top 5
Greatly improved virtual machine reliability and accessibility

Pros and Cons

  • "Highly available storage is the most valuable feature. The entire rollout is hyper-converged and requires no extra storage further than the hosts in which Hyper-V is running. Another feature that has been great is the support from StarWind in general. We have their proactive support package on the main cluster that employs Starwind Virtual SAN."
  • "Management of VSAN itself could be improved. A Web UI for management would be great rather than an application installation. StarWind is testing a command center virtual appliance that I have installed in my environment."

What is our primary use case?

Highly available HyperV cluster. Our environment includes 2 Hyper-V hosts with onboard storage running about 20 virtual machines. StarWind allowed for a redundant cluster to be configured without any extra storage and easily create an HA cluster. StarWind Virtual San functions as the primary drivers for all of our storage needs in the highly available cluster. It is used almost daily to allow for live migration of machines and failover in the event of maintenance or physical host hardware problems.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind Virtual SAN improved my hyper-v deployment by making it highly available. It was easy to roll out and it is easy to manage. It has greatly improved virtual machine reliability and accessibility. Deployment of StarWind Virtual SAN has helped reduce the stress of not having a cluster that would allow for virtual machine failover if a host has a hardware problem. It is reassuring to know that all virtual machines are in a safer environment versus running on standalone hosts with no shared storage.

What is most valuable?

Highly available storage is the most valuable feature. The entire rollout is hyper-converged and requires no extra storage further than the hosts in which Hyper-V is running. Another feature that has been great is the support from StarWind in general. We have their proactive support package on the main cluster that employs Starwind Virtual SAN. The StarWind support team is right on top of all monitoring activities. If I am maintaining a physical host and it has been down for too long, I will get a notice from StarWind to confirm a problem or inform them that maintenance is being performed. They are top-notch.

What needs improvement?

Management of VSAN itself could be improved. A Web UI for management would be great rather than an application installation. StarWind is testing a command center virtual appliance that I have installed in my environment. It is very much a step in the right direction to make StarWind Virtual SAN management easier and even Hyper-V as a whole. Something Hyper-V has lacked for years is a good Web UI to manage a host or cluster. StarWind has taken upon themselves to help with this as well as manage the Virtual SAN in a single pane of glass.

For how long have I used the solution?

Greater than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Very stable. I've had little to no problem since rolling it out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It should be easy to add a host to a cluster once VSAN is installed.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent! 10/10

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

No. We used standalone hosts.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is a bit complex but StarWind has great documentation to get setup and a great support team to assist in setup.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation has been done using StarWind support and with an in-house team as we have 2 separate clusters both using StarWind Virtual SAN

What was our ROI?

12-24 months.

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

Evaluate your solutions. This is a great solution for those user Hyper-V and ready to hyper-converge.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Maxta, Nutanix, VMware, KVM.

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.
AB
User
Real User
Great snapshot production, easy to expand, and very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "It is extremely stable."
  • "It would help if the manufacturer provided clearer and more detailed documentation, with explanations of how the application can be installed in various HA configurations."

What is our primary use case?

We have two servers in an HA configuration. The two servers having an identical configuration. On each server we have: two disks in RAID 1 (for the operating system), two arrays of four disks in RAID 5 (for virtual servers that require high data transfer speed), one array of six SAS disks in RAID 6 (for virtual servers containing a lot of data), and two arrays of six SAS disks in RAID 10 (for medium servers in terms of data volume and speed required). On the network side, SAN servers are connected to HOSTs via a 10 GB ethernet connection and between them for HB and SYNC via 1GB connections.

How has it helped my organization?

Until the installation of StarWind, we only use physical servers. After installing, I migrated all physical servers as virtual servers and added other new servers. We currently have approximately 30 virtual servers on only three hosts and the two SAN servers. Thus, we get significant savings from the necessary hardware. In addition, we have much more flexibility in allocating available resources. 

Having a configuration of two servers in HA, we can perform maintenance and upgrade operations without having to interrupt the operation of production servers.

What is most valuable?

From my point of view, the main advantages of this solution are the drastic reduction of the number of physical servers required and the reduction of acquisition costs for servers. 

In addition, there is less electricity consumption for servers and for their cooling and the possibility of dynamic and fast allocation of storage resources where needed. This simplifies the backup and restore process. The product has the ability to take snapshots on production servers before any major upgrade so that if problems occur you can quickly return to the previous configuration.

What needs improvement?

It would help if the manufacturer provided clearer and more detailed documentation, with explanations of how the application can be installed in various HA configurations. They should include advantages and disadvantages for each proposed configuration. Currently, you can only find information on this on the manufacturer's website, but it does not contain very detailed information regarding each proposed configuration.

It might help to add the functionality to automatically send an email to a predefined address when errors occur in the application.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for more than 10 years and, in that time, without encountering major operating problems.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is extremely stable. Currently, it is not necessary to intervene or restart the SA servers for years at a time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to expand the storage space. The only limitation is the space that the license allows you to use in the HA configuration.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support provided is very prompt.

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

Previously, I only used physical servers.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, the implementation of this solution seems complex, however, once you understand how the application is designed, it becomes relatively simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before deciding on the solution offered by StarWind, we also analyzed HPE LeftHand SAN Solutions, however, this was significantly more expensive.

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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Andrey Naumov
System Administrator at Craft Group
Real User
Top 5
Made it possible to deploy a new infrastructure in the shortest amount of time and at a low cost without purchasing expensive hardware storage

Pros and Cons

  • "It has a nice, simple control panel. You can clearly see the state and health of storage along with the synchronization."
  • "This solution made it possible to deploy a new infrastructure in the shortest amount of time, at a low cost without purchasing expensive hardware storage, and use unused servers."
  • "In the next release, they could make some graphs of the real-time loading, speed of storage, and interfaces. Of course, these can be viewed in other places. But, in the event of a malfunction or troubleshooting, this would be convenient."

What is our primary use case?

We needed to deploy the new infrastructure in our new data center as soon as possible. As a reliable, fault-tolerant storage, we chose StarWind solution. I took two old Supermicro servers and installed them in RAID controllers and SSD drives, then installed Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Hyper-V role. Then, I made StarWind the two-node iSCSI target. The servers were connected to the VMware cluster via the iSCSI 10 GbE interfaces. The storage showed very good speed results with SQL databases, file servers, and MS Exchange, which completely satisfied us.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution made it possible to deploy a new infrastructure in the shortest amount of time, at a low cost without purchasing expensive hardware storage, and use unused servers. As a result, we got a reliable fault-tolerant storage with good performance and placed virtual machines that are important for business on it. This solution has been working for several months without a single failure. 

What is most valuable?

It has a nice, simple control panel. You can clearly see the state and health of storage along with the synchronization. 

StarWind installs on the Windows Server host where I can monitor RAID using various software already installed in my organization. 

  • Easy to install and configure.  
  • A lot of documentation, video instructions, and excellent technical support. 
  • The ability to install on almost any type of equipment, including legacy. 
  • Fast delivery compared to hardware storage facilities, which have a delivery time of four to six weeks.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see all the network adapters in the console with their assigned roles as sync, Heartbeat, and iSCSI, then their link speeds and real-time loading.

In the next release, they could make some graphs of the real-time loading, speed of storage, and interfaces. Of course, these can be viewed in other places. But, in the event of a malfunction or troubleshooting, this would be convenient.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For three months, there has not been a single failure. Testing was performed and restarting one server did not affect the performance of the storage and important virtual machines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I didn't have that task.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are very friendly and have quick support.

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

No, I haven't used such solutions before.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

I installed everything myself. Later, the technical support connected with me and to the servers to inspect the installation.

What was our ROI?

This is the best priced solution for an SMB.

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

This is a very good solution for small businesses.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also considered the option of VMware vSAN, but it is very expensive.

What other advice do I have?

Everything works. I am completely satisfied with the reliability and speed.

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.
Bern Farrant
Security and Systems Engineer at New Creation Consulting
Real User
Top 5
Cost-effective, responsive and competent support, stable, and the documentation is good

Pros and Cons

  • "In the three years that we have been using StarWind, the product has yet to cause us any problems."
  • "Perhaps more reporting features on the utilization, usage, and performance of the configured high-availability images and underlying physical disks would be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

Our use case is to provide a vSAN for Microsoft Windows Server failover clusters. We are a web hosting company that prefers to purchase smaller discrete servers rather than larger and expensive integrated with SAN solutions. However, we still want to provide a high-availability environment for even our small web applications.

We use StarWind vSAN to accomplish this goal without having to use the extremely tightly validated server hardware and networking options required by Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has solved the problem of cost-effectively providing a high-availability failover cluster utilizing standard server and networking hardware. We save many thousands when purchasing hardware and the vSAN has never been the cause of any downtime. So, not only have we saved money, we have beaten our internal SLAs that our previous solutions were negatively affecting.

In addition, the highly competent support alleviates stress when we do have questions. Our technology stack has improved since we have started using StarWind vSAN.

What is most valuable?

First, we have found StarWind to be a "set and forget" type of product. It really is nice to not have to spend administrative time monitoring, tweaking, and configuring a product.

Second, the reliability has been exceptional. In the three years that we have been using StarWind, the product has yet to cause us any problems.

Third, their support team is excellent to work with when we do have questions.

Fourth, the documentation on the product is exceptional, and while not necessarily part of the vSAN product, they publish a lot of helpful information on their blog.

What needs improvement?

Perhaps more reporting features on the utilization, usage, and performance of the configured high-availability images and underlying physical disks would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've never had to handle any problems with the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Beyond a three-node direct-attach, some of the cost advantages decrease a little.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is responsive and competent. If only more companies were like this...

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

We previously used DFS to synchronize between nodes; however, it did not provide nearly the same level of reliability and is not a true HA solution as a hyper-converged environment with StarWind vSAN.

How was the initial setup?

With the excellent documentation and having their support review our configuration, the initial setup was very easy.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed using our in-house team.

What was our ROI?

StarWind vSAN has saved us far more than we've ever spent on it.

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

If you are looking at a traditional SAN for a small cluster, give StarWind vSAN because you will save thousands without any compromise. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tested out Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct and priced out other competing traditional SAN options.

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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IJ
IT Director at Marion County R-II School
Real User
Top 20
Good performance, data replication and shared storage capability reduces downtime, and the GUI works well

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution enables us to make better cost-effective use of our existing hardware and leverage the current infrastructure at a higher level than we could before."
  • "This product would benefit from having automated alerting functionality."

What is our primary use case?

We are using this to replicate the onboard disks from our Hyper-V Hosts (Dell T640 Servers) for both replication/data protection, but most importantly, to function as shared storage enabling us to have a functional Hyper-V cluster with failover through the shared storage without needing to purchase oversized and pricey dedicated SAN hardware.

This solution enables us to make better cost-effective use of our existing hardware and leverage the current infrastructure at a higher level than we could before.

How has it helped my organization?

The data replication and shared storage have enabled us to dramatically reduce unplanned and planned downtime. With our Hyper-V cluster now able to do automatic failovers of our Virtual Machines, we have reduced the effects of reboots that would have interrupted access before.

We have also noticed performance benefits with this new deployment over the previous configuration that was implemented. This has also allowed us to increase our storage capacity by adding more cost-effective disks rather than pricier SAN solutions.   

What is most valuable?

As a technical admin, the GUI is a nice bonus that allows sometimes faster actions rather than going into the CLI. A great benefit in my current solution is showing off GUI configurations and monitoring to our non-technical administration in the school and helping them understand implementations and values from that.

What needs improvement?

This product would benefit from having automated alerting functionality.

For how long have I used the solution?

We deployed StarWind Virtual SAN in March of 2021.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great, so proper sizing makes entering into the solution easy and without waste. We should not exceed the scalability options available.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been very impressed with the support team. Every encounter I have had has been quickly responded to with both the right person and the needed solution. I feel very confident that they are available and accessible if any issue arises that I need to get help addressing or just ensuring my configuration is best practices.

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

We did not use another similar solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward and guided by a very knowledgeable engineer on their team.

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

This solution is very accessible and the pro-level for support is well worth the cost. 

What other advice do I have?

Other than automated alerting, there is no real product feature that I feel would be useful to us. We have had no issues with the software as is. There are no gaps that we have had to fill in with other solutions or challenges that have caused us to redesign or change our intended implementations.

I have installed a few updates from the initial installation and found that process to be quite easy and successful each time as well. I look forward to seeing how they may innovate in the future and bring benefits we have not considered.

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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reviewer1423983
IT Manager at North Valley Health Center
Real User
Top 20
Impressive speed performance and high availability has improved our user experience

Pros and Cons

  • "Speed and high availability have been the most valuable for us."
  • "I think the setup could be streamlined a bit."

What is our primary use case?

We use this product in our VMWare vSphere environment.

We use vSphere 7 Enterprise Plus and have a four host system. All four hosts have matching solid-state storage in a raid 10 array. We have two pairs acting as sync pairs so that one host in each pair can fail before we lose access to the VMs on those hosts. They are connected via 40GB redundant links for both iSCSI and sync.

We have really tried to focus on both speed and redundancy and feel that this setup was the best way to accomplish that goal.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind vSAN has translated to a huge improvement in speed and high availability compared to our old iSCSI shared storage solution. Previously, we had a network-attached storage device with tiered arrays. Part of it was a standard spinning disk and the other was solid-state drives.

With this new solid-state local storage, we have massively improved our user experience.

The sync functionality is amazing as well, compared to our old replication system, in that it happens in realtime as data is written so that high availability is as fast as possible.

What is most valuable?

Speed and high availability have been the most valuable for us. Again, I would say the speed for our users has been extremely valuable. I wouldn't say it was terrible before but you know it's fast when normal, non-tech-savvy users are asking if we upgraded something because some local database app feels faster today!

From a business continuity standpoint, I love how it has improved our failover processes in vSphere. Having the data replicate in real time between host pairs has almost completely automated the process. 

What needs improvement?

I think the setup could be streamlined a bit. I was already familiar with iSCSI and setting up shared storage, but the abstraction process of getting from configuring the raid array on the local host machine, and making sure all the correct values are set to get the best performance, was a bit finicky.

Then, you had to prepare the appliances on each host and again make sure your VMDKs are properly formatted and then mounted correctly so they can be shared as iSCSI disks. It just felt like a lot of opportunities for a user to make big mistakes that would affect the end performance.

I was very impressed with the tech who walked me through the whole process, as I'm just not sure I would have gotten there on my own. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using StarWind Virtual SAN for five months.

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

I did not use another solution prior to this one.

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

I think the bang for the buck is much better with StarWind Virtual SAN.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated VMware vSAN.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.