StarWind Virtual SAN Overview

What is StarWind Virtual SAN?

For SMB, ROBO, Cloud and Hosting providers, who look to cut down virtualization expenses, our solution is StarWind VSAN. It is software that eliminates any need in physical shared storage by basically “mirroring” internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. There is less hardware to buy in general, consequently less money is spent on purchase and maintenance. The existing hardware is used with maximum efficiency, so there is no money wasted at all.

StarWind Virtual SAN targets those who already have servers, or are bound to a particular vendor list to buy from. In case there is a new virtualization infrastructure to be built from scratch, StarWind offers a much better way – StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. It is a turnkey solution complete with hardware and software, powered by StarWind Virtual SAN. Those who need to build and maintain virtualization infrastructure at little to no expense, may be interested in StarWind Virtual SAN Free.

StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide

Download the StarWind Virtual SAN Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

StarWind Virtual SAN Customers

Baker Tilly BVI, CMS Internet, Board Harpeth Hall School

StarWind Virtual SAN Video

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NZ
IT manager at Vertical
Real User
Wide hardware compatibility eases the building of a high performance and fault-tolerant solution

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for SAN storage. We have a two-node Microsoft Windows 2016 full SSD (SATA) configuration with RAM cache (500GB each node), and iSCSI to connect HA virtual clusters. Using Mellanox network technology with two 100Gbit switches in HA mode. Also, we have more than sixty MSSQL databases hosted.

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows you to use ANY consumer or enterprise HDDs and SSDs, and that's a really great thing!"
  • "High availability for direct attached hardware drives could be useful for increasing the performance of a storage appliance."
reviewer1100463
IT Manager at a retailer with 51-200 employees
Real User
A cost-effective HA solution to solve the problem of expanding local storage

What is our primary use case?

We are using a two-node StarWind VSAN cluster on a Dell 720xds. The StarWind VSAN helps us to better leverage the computing power of our ESXi hosts and helped solve the problem of expanding local storage.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind allowed us to deploy highly available shared storage within our budget. Other solutions were far too costly.

What is most valuable?

The HA clustering and the ability to run on our own equipment have been the most valuable.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see more monitoring and alert tools. StarWind offers a management console to configure the and monitor the servers, setting up SMTP alerts would be a plus.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

Which other solutions

Learn what your peers think about StarWind Virtual SAN. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
511,773 professionals have used our research since 2012.
reviewer1083804
User
Real User
Simple to manage and has minimized our operational risk in case of disaster

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for a distributed virtual SAN over two data centers. Virtual SAN uses three servers in two data centers.

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has a very good user interface, with simple administration/management."
  • "This product could be improved with the inclusion of new health check procedures."

What other advice do I have?

We spent time evaluating this product and there is no doubt that the choice to implement this solution for production was the right one. My advice is to call (contact) them and they will answer your questions to help you find a proper solution.
reviewer1073631
User
Real User
Helps to monitor critical infrastructure in our small business environment

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to create vSAN for a small business environment and to manage it without using a physical SAN.

How has it helped my organization?

The managed service helps us to monitor our critical infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the managed service, which has been an important part of monitoring our critical infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

I'd like for it to be more user-friendly in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never felt that StarWind underperformed or was difficult to manage. The core technology just works. I am very happy that I am part of StarWind.

How are customer service and

Evgenii Korsak
User
Real User
Dramatically reduced down-time and we are able to move to a cluster from stand-alone hypervisors with DAS

What is our primary use case?

StarWind VSAN is used as shared storage for our Hyper-V cluster. We have two nodes, HDDs in RAID 10. HPE ProLiant servers, Windows Server 2016.

Pros and Cons

  • "Before VSAN, hypervisor configuration changes and updates resulted in VM outages. Now, downtime is dramatically reduced."
  • "The cluster configuration is time-consuming and tedious."

What other advice do I have?

In my opinion, StarWind is a great solution for businesses with limited infrastructure budgets.
Николай Фокин
User
Real User
Helped us to make better strategical decisions, work safely and quickly

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is data storage. It has helped us to make better strategical decisions, work safely and quickly.

Pros and Cons

  • "The access to our data is quicker and cheaper than it used to be in a traditional storage system."
  • "In all areas the product could be made faster."

What other advice do I have?

As we now can rely on this company, we recommend that others make the same decision. We would like to add that everyone in our organization has felt the impact of the changes in the services we use and provide. We also appreciate the long term cooperation that has lasted for years, with a consistent level of service. This allows our company to plan further ahead, as experience has shown that every solution the company provides us is and will remain, satisfying.
Artur Kamalov
Head of Local Area Network Department at JSC Ufanet
Real User
High availability for a small cost

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this product is to obtain high availability for our file servers under the control of the Microsoft Windows 2008 operating system.

Pros and Cons

  • "This has helped to improve the reliability of service and operation in all departments, without having to stop in case of emergency situations."
  • "It would help us if the vendor continues to release software updates for earlier versions of the Windows operating systems."

What other advice do I have?

Overall, this is a good product for good money.
reviewer1068294
User
Real User
Reduces costs by negating the need for additional equipment and services

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is as a virtual storage area network for server clusters and file storage in a production environment for our company.

Pros and Cons

  • "StarWind Virtual SAN is a very easy-to-use solution that can be quickly and easily deployed and configured without intimate and specific knowledge in the virtualization sphere."
  • "StarWind currently has a Windows native application that it uses for management. There is not a web-based GUI at this time."

What other advice do I have?

A thorough analysis and testing of existing offerings in the network storage market has shown that StarWind Virtual SAN is the perfect network storage solution. It provides the necessary fault tolerance and continuance of business processes. StarWind Virtual SAN is a very easy-to-use solution that can be quickly and easily deployed and configured without intimate and specific knowledge in the virtualization sphere. Moreover, the manufacturer's website has detailed documentation that helps to resolve issues. In cases when the documentation is not enough, qualified online support specialists are…
TT
Regional IT Manager at SABIS
Real User
High Availability with a friendly user interface and straightforward installation

What is our primary use case?

StarWind is cost effective. There's no need to purchase additional hardware as shared storage. They have great technical support.

Pros and Cons

  • "User friendly interface and straight forward implementation."
  • "They recommend RAID10 for HDD, which reduces the usable storage capacity."

What other advice do I have?

Support is very good.
reviewer1018107
User
Real User
High compatibility with software and hardware

What is our primary use case?

In our organization, we use this software for the first year. It is used to work with backup data storage. Still, it never lets us down, and we never lost our data.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind made it quite easy to get started. The reliability of storing backup data and their processing speed has increased.

What is most valuable?

Excellent performance High compatibility with software and hardware Fault tolerance It works well with Microsoft servers and Hyper-V.

What needs improvement?

The price is a bit more expensive than analogs.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
GrzegorzEBX
Owner at Electronics Box
Real User
Now we have a redundant storage system, so our cluster system is fully redundant

What is our primary use case?

Before, we used a cluster of two Windows servers with shared storage system on a single SAN. One of them was a working clustered SQL server with database mirroring. Every part of the system was redundant except for SAN. It was almost satisfying. Every cluster server system we know needs shared storage system. The cluster could be fully redundant, but this redundancy is worth nothing without a redundant storage system. We had a single SAN system. As a single system, SAN was not redundant. But we needed a redundant storage system. We always were afraid that once upon a time our SAN will stop to… more »

What other advice do I have?

No.
Tommy Grignon
User
Real User
Real-time synchronization makes sure we don't have a single point of failure

What is our primary use case?

We are a gold mining partnership in Malartic, Québec where we are working 24 hours a day and seven days a week. About 1500 people are on our sites, 900 user computers and 100 different virtual servers run to maintain the production area. Single point of failure, no real-time synchronization with our disaster recovery site, and we are unable to make updates and upgrades without any cuts on the production infrastructure.
Dan Reynolds
Director of IT at BLDD ARCHITECTS INC
Real User
Top 5
The techs are supportive, understanding and really care about your implementation.

What is our primary use case?

Started with a trial and then moved to the paid version. I have a 3 node cluster, (20) 1TB spinning drives, RAID 0, (3) 800 GB SSD drives, RAID 5 and 18GB RAM cache per node. Using 10G Infiniband for the iSCSI & SYNC network loops. This is to support local disks of VMware Horizon View full clone desktops.

What other advice do I have?

I think StarWind is a serious contendender. Especially if you don't have the right VMware licenses. But even then - I'm running a 3 node cluster and don't need a separate "witness" box. If you're an SMB and doing VMware you need to consider StarWind as your SAN solution.
MH
IT Manager at a hospitality company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Two-node device gives us storage replication; we can do updates without a complete storage shutdown

What is our primary use case?

We're using it in our DR site for replicating virtual machines from a primary site. We needed a solution that took up less rack space, so we went with something that converged infrastructure. It's providing storage for our virtual platform.

Pros and Cons

  • "We are able to do maintenance by bringing down one node at a time, rather than having to schedule a complete shutdown."
  • "It would be helpful to have a little more insight into what kind of performance the VSAN cluster is utilizing; something that would be more proactive on our side, versus their ProActive Support."

What other advice do I have?

Utilize the StarWind installation team to get you up and running. They do everything from start to finish and even make sure that your production workload is running sufficiently. We haven't used the Log-structured Write Cache feature or the NVMe over Fabrics target. Right now, our solution is all solid-state disk. In terms of maintenance, a lot of it is scripted or managed automatically. It just takes one person to periodically check in to see if it's performing well and if there are any errors. That person is a systems administrator. I would give StarWind VSAN a nine out of ten. They have…
reviewer1007766
User
Real User
Has made it easy to work with backups and save server data

What is our primary use case?

We have two StarWind VSAN nodes installed in a small company. We're mirroring these nodes where all services are installed.

How has it helped my organization?

StarWind Virtual SAN has made it easy to work with backups and save server data by mirroring two servers.

What is most valuable?

We found the most valuable features to be:  Easy installation, Easy to work with, Very good support.

What needs improvement?

We would like the price to be lower.  In the next releases, we would like a new improved interface. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
reviewer1002462
User
Real User
Gave us a new template for upgrading aging infrastructure sans expensive enterprise storage hardware

What is our primary use case?

We use StarWind for multiple 2-node hyperconverged Hyper-V Windows clusters in our datacenter environment.
DG
Information Systems Manager at a aerospace/defense firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
The way virtual SAN is set up, we don't have to buy a separate appliance for storage

What is our primary use case?

We needed to consolidate our physical servers, so we went with the StarWind cluster to virtualize our servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the most valuable features is the way it sets up the virtual SAN, because we don't have to buy a separate appliance for storage. It uses the existing storage on the servers, which is definitely a cost savings for us."
  • "The documentation could be a little more concise, but, for the most part, it just works."

What other advice do I have?

Definitely get a trial license. I'm pretty sure they still have a free version that you can download. Set it up in a sandbox and see if it makes sense for your environment. The great thing about it is it is all Microsoft-based, so if you're familiar with Hyper-V, then it's really pretty simple. In terms of our users, it's pretty much just me managing it. It's running our production environment. Ideally, I'd like to add our third node this year so that I have extra available overhead so that we can be more proactive with maintenance, etc. I would rate StarWind at eight out of ten. There's…
Bryan Schuler
Network Administrator at MUM Industries
Real User
It is more flexible than most VSAN solutions. You can run it across two hosts. You don't need a third host observing it.

What is our primary use case?

We had a need for some high speed I/O in our data center to run some specific high demand virtual machines. We currently have an older SAN unit, but it's slow, since it uses mechanical drives. Therefore, we decided to obtain a bunch of Intel SSDs and attach them directly to the two virtualized hosts, then I used StarWind virtual machines as the controllers to tie them together into a VSAN. After that, I moved the VMs over. Once everything was hooked up and talking to each other, it works fine.

Pros and Cons

  • "The control panel is nice. It gives you a lot of good feedback as to the status and health of the VSAN."
  • "For improvement, I would like to see how the software determines which networks to use for which purpose. It seems like the naming terminology changes a bit from here to there."

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. Just set it up and follow the instructions. Start with the free version. Make a test bed and play around with it. Then, see how you like it and how it works. because it works. There is nothing hard about it. Once you get it working and understand how the system is implemented in your data center, then everything else is dotting i's and crossing t's. You can get the official licensing for the support or any larger array sizes that you may need. You can allocate and tell it to transfer things as you normally would, as it is a very impressive system. It is probably one of the things…
RO
Deputy Director of Technology and Communications at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Real User
The ProActive support provides peace of mind and is not expensive

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to provide a virtual storage for our data and virtual machines. Not having a budget for a physical SAN, we use what we have to get the best of what we have, this is primary reason for using this VSAN.

Pros and Cons

  • "The ProActive support gives me peace of mind because I am a one man shop, but with the technical support behind me, I feel like more than just one person. We spent two to three hours, depending on what we have to do, always on the phone, and they do not push to end the call."
  • "With data verification, I would like to know how does the solution perform validation of data being synced between two VSANs."
  • "Initially, when we first started, the sync was horrible."

What other advice do I have?

We are not using the Log-structured Write Cache feature nor are we using NVMe. We have not integrated this solution with server OS native management tools. We are just interested in business continuity. If the server blows up, we will still be in business. It does what we want, and we are happy with it. As of now, since it does exactly what we want it to do, so I do not see where we would need to use features that we are currently not using. We were sold on the fact that we could use our existing infrastructure, and it syncs data if we lose one server. StarWind Virtual SAN might not be for…
AH
IT Manager at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Asynchronous replication means our servers are backed up continuously throughout the day

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is backup storage for our VM servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the asynchronous replication and failover features. They are what I'm primarily using it for. The asynchronous replication is helpful because our servers are backed up continuously throughout the day. If anything goes wrong we just fail over immediately. That is a very nice feature to have."
  • "I'm sure it needs bug fixes..."

What other advice do I have?

The pricing is based on the amount of storage, so you should evaluate how much storage you're going to need for your license. I believe there's an unlimited tier which is also very reasonable. In our organization, it's the backing data-store for the entire company, which is about 85 users. Programmers and management people make up our studio. For deployment and maintenance, it's just me with the support team at StarWind. We don't have plans to increase usage. We're a small studio and we're not going to get bigger. I give StarWind a ten out of ten. They have great support, a great product, it's…
MH
Owner at Split Digital LLC
Real User
Reduced our overall maintenance and overhead by having to only maintain physical boxes for one cluster

What is our primary use case?

We use it for data redundancy and failover.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has reduced our overall maintenance and overhead by having to only maintain physical boxes for one cluster instead of having to manage physical boxes for two clusters."
  • "It has reduced the amount of switching, network connections, etc., because the converged StarWind Virtual SAN allows us to connect high-speed network interfaces between different boxes instead of having to connect SANs via the network, then connect those two clusters together."
  • "If there are domain controllers inside the cluster, there needs to be some sort of logic allowing them to boot independently so all the rest of the domain clients can gain the authority they need to come online."

What other advice do I have?

We have plans to increase the usage in the future. As we need data processing capability, we will add more nodes. As we need more storage, we will obviously upgrade the storage licenses. We will need more storage before we need more nodes because we are only using a fraction of our total processing power at this point, but we are slowly starting to fill up on disk space. The time frame for upgrading our disk space will probably be in six to eight months. We run everything from accounting, databases, email VMs, SQL Servers, etc. on it, anything that someone would expect on an enterprise…
Christopher Vlach
Operations Manager at Lipman Insurance Administrators Inc.
Real User
Has excellent support in the rare case you need them

What is our primary use case?

StarWind is the highly redundant storage solution for our company-wide hardware agnostic Hyper-V environment.

What other advice do I have?

Make the switch to StarWind! Your life will be much easier, and you will have extra budget to spend elsewhere!
Mahmood
IT Manager at Allied Engineering
Real User
The unlimited capacity license is a very good feature

What is our primary use case?

We had decentralized storage, inefficient storage and computer utilization, non-utilization of VMware vSphere advanced features like HA, FT, vMotion which require shared storage like StarWind.
LZ
VMware Administrator, VMware vExpert at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
User
I've used StarWind VSAN for replicating vSphere datastores and in Microsoft SQL and file systems clusters.

What is our primary use case?

* I've used StarWind VSAN for replicating vSphere datastores and in Microsoft SQL and file systems clusters. * I used one in mission-critical systems like a call center, SQL, SharePoint, etc.

What other advice do I have?

Thanks support for the quick help: I think you never sleep!
AL
CEO at Simplify Technology
User
Their support goes above and beyond with the integration of their software

What is our primary use case?

StarWind VSAN eliminates the NAS/SAN as a single point of failure. It's an affordable synchronous HA storage solution which allows us to use extremely fast direct-attached SSD storage in an HA environment.

Pros and Cons

  • "Their support goes above and beyond with the integration of their software."
  • "I would like additional documentation regarding possible networking configurations with 10GbE switching."

What other advice do I have?

* It is a fairly straightforward product. * The support is great. * It just works. * It meets all my criteria for success.
Jason Liu
IT Specialist` at Grand River Conservation Authority
User
The software is easy to setup and manage, and the support is excellent

What is our primary use case?

I use StarWind Virtual SAN software to change our old HPE Fibre Channel storage into an iSCSI solution for our development environment.

Pros and Cons

  • "The software is easy to setup and manage, and the support is excellent."
  • "It should reclaim white spaces after big files are deleted."
  • "It would be great if it provided thin provisioned virtual disks."
LeonKan
Virtual Cloud Admin at IST
User
Build cheap, reliable, replicated virtual machines clusters using simple servers with an all flash disk or SAS/SATA hybrid tiered by performance storage

What is our primary use case?

Replicated, high availability storage for VMware vSphere cluster of VMware ESX 2-nodes in an HA cluster for Virtual SAN storage, only this software can do a 2-node cluster.

Pros and Cons

  • "You can build cheap, reliable, replicated virtual machines clusters using simple servers with an all flash disk or SAS\SATA hybrid tiered by performance storage."
  • "Ability to to test the virtual storage are network area and storage speed from StarWind Management Console."
Dr. Byron K. Wallace D.M.
Adjunct Professor at Lone Star College
Real User
The best feature is its ease of installation and integration within a current infrastructure

What is our primary use case?

To give us the ability to install a cluster environment, increasing reliability for our plant infrastructure.

How has it helped my organization?

This product allowed gave us the ability to implement a cluster environment which allowed us to implement a stable infrastructure for our plants.

What is most valuable?

The best feature of the StarWind Virtual San product is its ease of installation and integration within a current infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

One area that could be improved is the reconnection of the attached drives upon a reboot. Rarely, the shared drive will not connect automatically.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.
reviewer910362
User at a consumer goods company with 51-200 employees
User
Active-active HA provides top performance and redundancy

What is our primary use case?

StarWind is used as the primary storage for three VMware hosts. It is running as a two node cluster for HA.

Pros and Cons

  • "Active-active HA provides top performance and redundancy."
  • "An update caused a syncing issue and it took over a month to resolve it"
reviewer903849
User
User
It provides a high degree of mobility, as the virtual SAN can be moved relatively painlessly between on-site devices and the cloud

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is the deployment of a highly-available Microsoft Hyper-V environment. Using the StarWind Virtual SAN product allowed us to deploy a Hyper-V cluster that provides uninterrupted failover between nodes that would have otherwise not been possible. Additionally, we have implemented the same redundancy on our dedicated file storage systems.

Pros and Cons

  • "The product's core feature of virtualizing our storage is by far the most valuable."
  • "It also provides a high degree of mobility, as the virtual SAN can be moved relatively painlessly between on-site devices and the cloud."
  • "I would like to see an extensive set of cmdlets that could allow for easier automation as well as status management."

What other advice do I have?

The product is solid, simple to use, and well engineered. Very impressed and looking forward to future releases.
TXITGUY9000
IT Manager at a construction company with 51-200 employees
User
It allows us to have an HA clustered environment with redundancy and scalability

What is our primary use case?

We use StarWind vSAN software storage solutions to run two hypervisors in an HA clustered environment.

Pros and Cons

  • "Ten gigabit Ethernet compatibility, support, ease of use, and management are some positive features."
  • "Updates seem to be non-existent."
1981DMC
Sr. Sys Admin at Garland Power & Light
User
The StarWind tech support is extremely helpful, especially during the initial setup

What is our primary use case?

I've used StarWind Virtual SAN software in two different solutions for several years. Both were highly critical production environments requiring 100% uptime and fast performance. In both solutions, this platform satisfied those requirements.

Pros and Cons

  • "The StarWind tech support is extremely helpful, especially during the initial setup."
  • "It is difficult to control all of the hardware components."
FAFCO
Director of Technology at FAFCO, INC.
User
The configuration is so much simpler than that of a traditional SAN with fewer points of failure to worry about

What is our primary use case?

We use StarWind for storage on our Hyper-V cluster. We started with their free offering in a test environment and found the performance and stability so attractive that we built a three node cluster using Dell 720s and ten gigabit copper ethernet. It has now been running continuously for four years with essentially zero downtime. As it approaches end-of-life we will be migrating to their managed appliances.

Pros and Cons

  • "Integration with Microsoft clustering has been perfect, allowing us to leverage our investment in MS server licensing to the fullest."
  • "Their support staff is comprised of true experts who can also communicate clearly."
  • "The configuration is so much simpler than that of a traditional SAN with fewer points of failure to worry about."
  • "Sometimes documentation on their site can be out of date."
  • "It would be great to have more automated tooling around managing the iSCSI connections in Windows"

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you understand your performance requirements clearly. Learn how to measure your performance needs in your existing environment BEFORE you shop, so that you can be sure that you are looking at the right solution. In all of the planning that goes into making the correct decision on these types of products, understanding performance (and not just making assumptions) is the most neglected part. There is no quicker way to over or under build your solution than to not have real performance numbers for planning.
Buyer's Guide
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