We all know it's really hard to get good pricing and cost information.
Please share what you can so you can help your peers.
Regarding licensing fees, the caveat is that with the Windows-based OS, we have to pay for that licensing for both hosts. That's is another reason I wanted Linux. As for VMware, we already had VMware licenses, so we just took those from our old hosts and applied them to these hosts. There is also a cost for the ProActive Premium Support and, on top of that, is support for the Dell EMC hardware itself. We got four-hour, mission-critical, which is what we have on everything else. Because of the absolute redundancy of the two HCA hosts, which they say can tolerate a failure of one host plus one drive, you might be able to save a little bit of money by bumping down the support of the servers and not need four-hour, mission-critical support. You could bump it down and wait for parts to arrive the next day instead of four hours.
I was quite hesitant to buy these, and I don't know why. 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.
We bought a seven-year solution including licensing, hardware maintenance, and ProActive Support. For us, in a school, we tend to buy high-end equipment — hardware and servers — and look at them in terms of a seven-year lifespan. That's a lot more than it would be in industry, but we ideally try to specify the equipment to have that length of life, if possible, in terms of capacity; or at the very least have the option to upgrade within that time. So, our one-off costs when we bought the equipment included seven years' worth of licensing and everything else that goes with it. We paid it all upfront. Obviously we pay our Microsoft licensing separately and that licensing covers the operating system on the StarWind appliances.
In terms of the hardware pricing, we ended up going with refurbished machines because we're not in quite as critical a situation as other service providers may be. The pricing is pretty comparable between StarWind and other solutions, if you're just talking about hardware and a general support plan. The value starts to come back in a very real way with StarWind when you talk about the reliability of both the hardware and the support structure itself. Our entire package was around $35,000 for everything, including three years of support.
The pricing model is very straightforward. I always go for the maximum, enterprise-level. It includes all the services I need and availability guarantees. It's a turnkey solution. It's a whole package, including five-year support on everything. There are not so many companies that offer hyperconverged solutions, the way StarWind does. HPE doesn't offer it. Dell EMC doesn't offer it, although they do offer a solution combined with Cisco. There is no real comparison, other than parties that are working together. The closest to this would be the Dell EMC/Cisco solution, and that is four or five times more expensive.
There was a one-time, upfront cost but I don't know what the recurring cost is. I imagine it's the standard 18 to 20 percent maintenance. Nothing stands out as unusual about this solution in my memory, so whatever is standard for keeping support and hardware is what this solution would cost. There are no other costs that I'm aware of. The only thing I could compare it to is the cost of Windows Server and Windows licensing in general, but not to a specific StarWind-type of product. The fact that some of the other solutions that I researched operate on a minimum three-node basis — not a minimum of two nodes — that factor alone would make the cost of StarWind less.
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. The price point was spot-on. There were no hidden fees. Everything was up-front. We had the option to go with three or five years' worth of support. There was really nothing unexpected. We knew we had to license our Windows Servers, but that was about it.
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. It's making it possible for small businesses and medium-sized businesses to be able to have high-availability at a cheap price. The total cost was $24,400. I believe it was just a one-time fee. They did a per-hour plan for their services, which was for the data migration. If you had a current environment, domain controller, deployment, B-center deployment, stress-testing, performance-testing, all that kind of stuff was figured into a block of 48 hours. If you were to go above and beyond that 48 hours, I'm sure there is an additional hourly fee.
Other than the standard licensing fee for StarWind HCA, there are the server costs and the server support. We purchased all of this thorough StarWind on one invoice.
For organizations such as ours (NPO), the Microsoft Hyper-V route was too affordable to pass on. Some of our team prefers VMware, but Hyper-V has been pretty good for us with StarWind.
It's the only vendor that allow two nodes, all other vendors I researched at that time (late 2017) requires at least three nodes.
Do your research. You will find that nothing compares to the value you get with the HCA appliance. If you have a limited budget, the decision is an easy one.
Its cost was reasonable.