StarWind HCA

StarWind HCA

Customer Verified
Top Rated
Score 9.7 out of 10
Top Rated
StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA)

Overview

What is StarWind HCA?

The StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a hyper-converged infrastructure solution designed to reduce application downtime on a reasonable budget.
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Recent Reviews

CEO

10 out of 10
June 09, 2022
StarWind Virtual SAN is an amazing product. It replaced HP Lefthand for us. This has saved us thousands of dollars in maintenance costs vs …
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How StarWind HCA Differs From Its Competitors

Services

We went with Starwind's option to use refurbished Dell servers for our StarWind HyperConverged Appliance cluster to save on money, and used our existing VMware licenses. Starwind prepared our StarWind HyperConverged Appliance's with VMware, and configured them to be a high availability cluster for …
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Services

I had to flexibility to choose and customize my hardware build-out, and StarWind took care of all the rest from dealing with the hardware vendors, installing software, and configuration tasks. I pretty much just had to physically mount the servers and make the network connections. StarWind then …
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Services

The appliances came all setup. StarWind software was all setup and VMware was installed and configured. The support engineer logged in and finished the setup. They then migrated our VM's off of our old environment into our new one with a simple vMotion.
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Services

Their support remotely configured our environment. It worked out of the box.
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Services

In prior servers, we used VMware. We were confident in how to use VMware but Starwind uses HyperV. We were dubious to move to HyperV but they walked us through the process and helped us install and setup all the servers with ease and configured the VSAN software without a hitch.
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Services

We took advantage of it, and it was the best choice.
A. They know what we have and are able to support 100%
B. Very quick deployment time we are talking less than a few days
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Services

Unfortunately, StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a bit rigid here because we couldn't order our requested components but we were offered substantially better hardware for a bit more budget that offered twice the performance and memory. We decided to go for it because the price was still …
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Services

The team is great at specing, testing, and shipping out everything all in one flow. They provide a white glove setup from start to finish. No company does it better. As soon as you receive your hosts, they contact you for setup. Not the other way around. There is no set it and forget it with the …
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Services

We purchaed Dell rackmount servers through Starwind. Everything came pre-setup and configured with the HCA software. I wouldn't do it any other way. A single conversation, one credit card payment later, and boom! Servers came ready to go. There is something to be said about freeing up "Pre-setup" …
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Services

We worked with StarWind to help design our environment. The host machines came preconfigured with all hardware installed. It required a short hour-long phone call with support to fully implement the solution in our environment. It took all of the guesswork out of the process. I would definitely …
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Services

Other than the StarWind "appliance" there was no additional software. We did have the servers preconfigured with IP addresses, machine names, storage names. It was practically plug and play (I hate that term but here it fits). On top of that the support group walked me through setting up the …
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Services

We moved to StarWind as part of an entire solution. We opted for Supermicro hardware and everything arrived pre installed with our hypervisor of choice. In depth guides came with the kit to tell us what to put where and when it was online, StarWind arranged a call to connect up and complete the …
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Services

We purchased StarWind as a bundle initially and everything was included. We've only had to renew our support plan and they been able to work with us.
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Services

Have not used any custom hardware or service. So, can't speak to this.
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Services

When we initially signed up with StarWind and was going through the configuration with my sales rep at StarWind. He and his engineer stepped me through the process of what we needed for our environment and then asked what additional hardware/software we needed. All this was an easy, low stress …
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Services

Their services are unmatched. They walked us through every step of the process from the sales pitch up to implementation - and beyond. Well beyond.
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Services

We only needed to install the hardware ourselves and then we simply provided them remote access to the machine and they were able to configure everything for us. It was very quick and easy to setup and support was able to provide us details on how the system works. Knowing how painless the setup …
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Services

These services made deployment a breeze. After racking the severs/clusters in two different deployments, we were up and running in less than two hours.
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Services

We received on-boarding assistance that was very well done. We had to rack the appliances ourselves & join them to our domain, but once that was done they were able to connect and configure the storage, CSV, and Failover Cluster. They made it available to receive Hyper-V migrations, so live …
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Services

The implementation process was ridiculously easy. Prior to recommending hardware, StarWind HyperConverged Appliance ran some tests against our previous system to get a benchmark of several performance metrics. We explained our future needs and we selected ah HCA appliance that was appropriate for …
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Services

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) with services such as custom hardware and software bundling, installation, and integration makes implementation incredibly simple. Everything is handled by StarWind and deployment is easy. Their incredibly support team is always available to provide any help …
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Services

We requested to use copper / rj45 cat6 cabling for our network cards, instead of fibre. This was costed out in the solution. Unfortunately the servers shipped with fibre network cards which was not what we wanted. However! StarWind quickly rectified this and sent out cat6 rj45 compatible network …
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Services

We ordered the new Dell hosts through StarWind, and they preconfigured everything, then shipped them to us. Implementation was as simple as racking them, connecting the cables as directed, and turning everything on. Once this was done, I added the new hosts to my existing vCenter …
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Awards

Products that are considered exceptional by their customers based on a variety of criteria win TrustRadius awards. Learn more about the types of TrustRadius awards to make the best purchase decision. More about TrustRadius Awards

Reviewer Pros & Cons

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Video Reviews

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Pricing

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What is StarWind HCA?

The StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a hyper-converged infrastructure solution designed to reduce application downtime on a reasonable budget.

Entry-level set up fee?

  • No setup fee
For the latest information on pricing, visithttps://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwi…

Offerings

  • Free Trial
  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting / Integration Services

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Alternatives Pricing

What is Azure Stack HCI?

Microsoft offers hyperconverged infrastructure solutions via Azure Stack HCI. Azure Stack HCI provides a variety of preferred hardware solutions for building a hybrid cloud infrastructure, allowing the user to run virtual machines on hyperconverged systems and use Windows Admin Center to connect to…

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Product Demos

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA)
01:06
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Product Details

What is StarWind HCA?

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a turnkey hyper-converged platform that merges compute, storage, network, and software into a nuclear 2-node footprint. The solution is designed to simplify HCI management for Enterprise ROBO, SMB & Edge, while offering flexible scalability and powerful performance.

Users can start with two nodes, based on HeartBeat, that can be switchless and function without additional equipment. StarWind HCA is a software-centric architecture that removes the need for proprietary components. StarWind Engineers perform the configuration, testing, migration, and integration for users, free of charge.

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance:

  • allows using 100% of underlying storage performance
  • has no hardware compatibility lists (HCLs)
  • does 2- or 3-way replication + local RAID 5/6/10
  • does VAAI and ODX data offloading
  • includes load balancing and data locality
  • does VM-centric hypervisor-level snapshots, and more.

To minimize CapEx and OpEx further, StarWind ProActive Premium Support (included in every license) substitutes an IT squad for the sake of cluster health assurance. ProActive Support monitors user environments 24/7/365, and uses machine learning to detect abnormal behavior so issues are prevented before they can become a problem.

The vendor presents StarWind HCA as a hyper-converged world enclosed in a tiny “building block” that comes at a reasonable price.

StarWind HCA Video

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA)

StarWind HCA Technical Details

Deployment TypesOn-premise
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

The StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is a hyper-converged infrastructure solution designed to reduce application downtime on a reasonable budget.

Scale Computing Platform, Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure, and NetApp HCI are common alternatives for StarWind HCA.

Reviewers rate Availability and Support Rating highest, with a score of 9.7.

The most common users of StarWind HCA are from Mid-sized Companies (51-1,000 employees).
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Comparisons

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Reviews

(1-5 of 5)
Companies can't remove reviews or game the system. Here's why
Dan Reynolds | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I recently did a hardware refresh and I moved from StarWind VSAN (I have reviewed previously) to StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA). Since this was during a hardware refresh it was obviously to replace old hardware. I chose StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) because of the good performance and support I had gotten when running StarWind VSAN on our own hardware. I went from a three-node cluster running VMware Horizon View to a two-node cluster with StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA). One of the key upgrades with the HCA was moving to all SSD.
  • It is extremely easy to set up, it comes with most options pre-configured for you. But the support group will walk through your entire setup and migration.
  • It is monitored by StarWind 24x7. Instead of issues being reactive with the monitoring I'm hoping things will be more proactive.
  • The performance has been outstanding. I think disk was our main limiting factor with our hold hardware.
  • I prefer HP hardware to Dell hardware but that's just me.
  • The documentation is a bit sparse.
Our use case is in a VMware Horizon View cluster. It works extremely well. The SSD gives outstanding performance and I suspect that the "appliance" does a better job of managing the VSAN than the application running on top of Windows did. We have not had a single hiccup with the changeover. It was so easy to implement and easy to migrate VM's over to it. It was simple. I really can't speak to other scenarios. But if the performance here was an indicator - then it should be good as general storage or another virtualization platform.
  • Performance has been very positive. Of course this was a hardware change so a lot of that was to be expected.
  • I don't track ROI - but I do like that this was a complete package, hardware, software, support and monitoring. I think it was a huge cost savings to almost any other solution.
We haven't had any breaks or issues. But part of the reason for purchasing was to have the proactive support. I am an IT department of one and provide all the support. So having this as part of the package is worth a lot to me and the company. It provides us an extra set of eyes to monitor a key resource.
From past experience with StarWind VSAN software, I have seen little to no downtime. At times of disk rebuilding, there were some performance issues but again that was with spinning disks. This is all SSD. With Since this was during a hardware refresh it was obviously to replace old hardware. I chose StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) we have not had any issues or problems whatsoever. I will say that StarWind's support is excellent and very responsive.
Other than the StarWind "appliance" there was no additional software. We did have the servers preconfigured with IP addresses, machine names, storage names. It was practically plug and play (I hate that term but here it fits). On top of that the support group walked me through setting up the cluster in the current configuration, setting up the networking and helping migrate and plan the migration of all the virtual machines.
Because I was using StarWind VSAN previously I had no intention at looking at other products.
Yes, we purchased the premium proactive support. But honestly I don't know why you wouldn't choose that. It's very cost effective.
No
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We were running MS Dynamics AX2012 on a HP LeftHand SAN solution, but it was just too slow. We moved to an all flash StarWind solution that performed much, much better and improved the user experience greatly, and only took up 4U of rack space rather than the full rack of SAN nodes and servers.
  • Very stable.
  • Takes up very little physical space.
  • Excellent support.
  • Easy to implement and use.
  • Nothing to be improved.
I can only speak to our own use. We run a Hyper-V failover cluster on 2 StarWind nodes (Dell R730dx) and I never have any issues with the StarWind software or hardware. If there is ever an issue it tends to be with the VM, and StarWind proactive monitoring picks up on this 24/7 before I know about it, the support is excellent.
  • Increased speed.
  • Reduced physical footprint.
  • Reduced energy consumption.
  • Improved user experience.
The support is always helpful, prompt and useful. That's more than I can say for any other vendor I've worked with. The proactive has highlighted issues with some of VM's that I may not have otherwise spotted as quickly, which has prompted us to get the issues fixed before they become a larger issue.
In 4 years I have never had any down time or unplanned outages. The only time it has ever been down is when we added additional SSD's to expand the capacity, and even then no one noticed as we took 1 node down at a time and the end users never saw any down time.
StarWind provided the best value for money against the other solutions we looked at, while providing all the functionality we needed.
Hyper-V, Veeam Backup & Replication, ESET Endpoint Security
5 years support was included in the very competitive price.
No
I wanted to add an additional set of SSD's and create a new, separate volume. I contacted StarWind about this and got an immediate response with knowledgeable staff who bent over backwards to help and provide all the info I needed to complete the upgrade.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We settled on StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) as a less expensive alternative to VMWare's more expensive license for vSAN shared storage between our two VMWare hosts, providing full hardware redundancy of everything. The peace of mind knowing that all of our data and VMs are running on two fully redundant hosts is amazing.
  • Fully redundant shared storage (vSAN)
  • Proactive monitoring of all of the hardware
  • 24/7 support
Having an admittedly limited personal experience with only this one implementation, I can't compare any other scenarios to mine. What I can say is their support has been amazing and very proactive, and even though they do not formally provide VMWare support, their expertise and willingness to do what they can when a need arises has been excellent and extremely appreciated, to the point that I haven't had to go to VMWare directly for support since purchasing and migrating everything to the new hosts. One negative aspect with the initial setup was, at the time of our order/deployment, they didn't have a Linux version of their management VMs for VMWare (only for Hyper-V), so I had to use two of my Windows Server licenses for their Windows-Server-based management VMs for the first year, which did put me in a bit of a bind, but, they finally released the Linux versions, and remoted in and quickly and expertly switched them over with very little downtime (we did it over the weekend), and it was completely uneventful.
  • Substantial cost savings over VMWare's vSAN license
  • Massive increase in performance/IOPS compared to our previous hosts
We have had a few times where I was informed they had lost connection, but in all of those cases, it was due to a local network issue. The hosts and StarWinds vSAN have been rock solid.
We have experienced zero downtime hardware-wise since implementing the new hosts with StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) vSAN technology.
We ordered the new Dell hosts through StarWind, and they preconfigured everything, then shipped them to us. Implementation was as simple as racking them, connecting the cables as directed, and turning everything on. Once this was done, I added the new hosts to my existing vCenter server/environment, migrated all of the VMs over to the new hosts, then decommissioned the old hosts. It was extremely painless, and while I didn't need much help with that part, StarWind was right there with me in case anything went wrong.
In our simple two-host environment, StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) won out hands down in cost, and while I had no prior experience with the technology, I have been extremely pleased with the result. I wouldn't hesitate to go with them again in the future, although our current hosts will likely still be going strong for at least another 5-7 years.
1
I'm the IT director and one-man IT support for the company.
1
Knowledge of networks/networking and VMWare vCenter server and host management. It is really quite simple for anyone with a decent general skillset.
  • Full hardware redundancy for both VMWare hosts and all of our data
  • There are none, but our needs are extremely limited, and StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) is doing exactly what we need.
  • Possibly integrating with one of the clouds for backups and/or VM migrations
Because we are extremely satisfied with StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) in all aspects of our experience
Yes, for the peace of mind, and I don't regret it.
No
One weekend we had a fiber module fail in our ISPs internet router. StarWind support notified me they'd lost connectivity, so I came in and figured out what the problem was and was able to get Cogent out in time to fix it before everyone came in for work on Monday, so there was no downtime that affected business operations.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use StarWind vSAN to support the IT needs across the entire company. It allows us to provide high-performance computing and storage to the business needs (i.e.: VMs, apps, desktops, etc.). It also reduces our IT complexity in hardware and maintenance.
  • High performance storage.
  • Great customer service and support.
  • Simple to deploy.
  • Reduced single points of failure.
  • Documentation.
I would suggest any SMB who hosts their own IT infrastructure and has at least a moderately knowledgeable staff to use StarWind HCA. It is easy to initially set up and has very little daily maintenance.
  • Reduced IT maintenance.
  • Increased infrastructure redundancy.
  • Reduced hardware/rack wiring complexity.
StarWind proactive support gives us "another set of eyes" to watch over our system to catch anything we might miss, especially on something as critical as the compute and storage that runs our business.
No downtime as of yet.
We customized the hardware, but nothing drastic (change CPUs, memory, storage). It was very simple.
We compared against just general servers + SAN solution from Dell. StarWind had fewer single points of failure, reduced hardware, and better performance.
vSphere, Veeam Backup & Replication
45
All.
1
General IT knowledge. General vSphere knowledge. General hardware knowledge.
  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Reduced single points of failure
  • General IT infrastructure needs
  • Disaster Recovery, offsite
Easy to set up, easy to use. Nothing bad I can say about it.
Yes
Dell VRTX all-in-one compute and storage, and prior to that a nodes, network, and SAN system. We replaced primarily because our warranties were expiring although we did want better performance and more resiliency as well.
  • Price
  • Product Usability
Ease of use with good support at a reasonable price.
Wouldn't change anything.
  • Implemented in-house
No
  • None
Very simple, all you need is a day's worth of time to install the hardware, get the vSAN up and running, and start moving over workloads.
Yes. We purchased it to have an extra set of eyes on the infrastructure since we have a small staff and limited time to monitor the HCA/vSAN constantly.
No
Every time. Pre-purchase discussions, customizing the hardware, initial setup, and resolution of issues.
  • Initial setup.
  • Daily usage.
  • Power loss graceful shutdown.
  • Testing.
No
Easy to set up initially and use.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We are an IT service provider. A new area that we wanted to branch out into is hosting services/data for our customers. Starwind HyperConverged appliances helped us do just that. With two clusters, we are now hosting critical servers for our customers and are also able to give our customers offsite data backup for their onsite servers with disaster recovery into our private cloud.
  • Tech Support. Starwind proactive tech support reaches out to us when they detect an issue instead of us having to initiate the support call. Then their technician will stay with us through the entire process until a resolution is found.
  • Affordability. Starwind HCA is very aggressively priced while still able to offer all of the needed features that you look for in an HCA solution.
  • Simplicity. Starwind offers network-less 2 and 3 node clusters. This way you can have a stable failover cluster without needing to monitor and maintain a separate storage network stack.
  • Multi cluster console. Currently, their management console is only able to attach to a single cluster at a time. I'm told that they have multi-cluster management high on their list of new features to be added so hopefully that is added soon.
  • Tech support locations. Currently, their tech support is located in eastern Europe. While they are staffed 24/7 there can be a language barrier at times trying to listen through thick accents. They are always very patient and never complain, even when I ask them to repeat themselves multiple times.
Starwind HCA is the perfect solution for small to medium businesses wanting the high availability of a cluster without the complexity of a traditional cluster/SAN architecture. In a 2 or 3 node setup, there is no need for a separate storage switch stack as the nodes can all be directly connected. This improves simplicity while still offering great availability and speed. In large enterprises where you want to have a large number of nodes, it may make more sense to separate the storage and compute stacks.
  • Starwind has given us the ability to offer services that we were having to outsource in the past. This increases our offering, thus increasing our value to our customers.
  • Because Starwind is very affordably priced we are able to offer services to our customers while maintaining healthy margins.
  • The proactive support has allowed our technicians to focus on our customer instead of on our own internal hardware.
Starwind has reached out to us twice in the past 6 months on issues that we were not even aware of yet. One of the issues actually involved our backup software and they assisted us in recommending settings changes that would solve the problem instead of just referring us to that vendor. Their technicians have never had to escalate an issue as they have always been able to provide a solution.
We have not had any downtime or outages since implementing Starwind HCA. In one of our clusters, we did have a node completely lose sync with the other 2 nodes but it was able to perform a full sync and bring that node back online. During this time our users did not notice any noticeable performance impact.
Starwind tech support fully implemented our 2 clusters with very little needed on our end. Once we rack and stacked the boxes and connected them according to their diagrams they remoted in and performed all required configurations to get us online. We were not migrating existing VMs so they did not perform any migration tasks. The servers are new Dell servers covered by Dell tech support that Starwind will work with if there is ever a hardware issue.
We chose Starwind over Nutanix and Scale because of price and hypervisor. Both Nutanix and Scale use a customer hypervisor and we wanted to use a hypervisor we were already well versed in. Starwind won over Simplivity because of cost and support. During our talks with HP we got the impression that Simplivity was not their main focus and we didn't want to buy in to a dying product.
Veeam Backup & Replication, ConnectWise Control (formerly ScreenConnect), Hyper-V
Yes
I chose Starwind Proactive support because I want the extra peace of mind of knowing that I have an extra set of eyes on my hyper-converged clusters.
No
At one point shortly after installation, we were receiving an error that was actually impacting performance in any way. The solution was a driver update. The technician performed this driver update on all of my nodes and even on a separate cluster that wasn't having this issue. This was at 11 pm. He went above and beyond during off-hours even though this was not a production impacting issue.
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