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StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) is presented by the vendor as a lightweight software-defined storage (SDS) for Enterprise ROBO, SMB & Edge that removes the need for physical storage. The solution is compatible with any hypervisor of choice, and is hardware-agnostic. The vendor invites users to integrate it into an existing infrastructure with minimum requirements, and enjoy constant uptime in a true 2-node scenario.
StarWind VSAN has no strict hardware compatibility lists (HCLs) and is licensed per node. A license unlocks access to all features upon purchase and differs only by capacity volume. The vendors promises customers get the chance to reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO) while receiving 99.9999% uptime. StarWind also helps with configuration, deployment, and migration.
StarWind Virtual SAN:
- provides 90% of raw performance
- squeezes 100% IOPS out of existing hardware
- works on the iSCSI layer
- “speaks” most uplink protocols, including NVMe-oF
- works on top of Hardware or Software RAID (MDADM, ZFS)
- does 2- or 3-way synchronous replication, and more.
The true 2-node solution is enabled through HeartBeat (no witness required). Thanks to “mirroring” of internal disks and flash between hypervisor servers, customers receive fault-tolerant storage. It’s scalable up and out, allowing users to introduce infrastructure changes without downtime or additional licensing costs.
StarWind Virtual SAN makes enterprise-level virtual shared storage accessible.
|Operating Systems||Windows, Linux|
- Before StarWind I used common SAN. It was one and only not redundant element in my system. Now I have redundant SAN system
- Once I have set up the system I could forget I have it. No issues.
- Performance of StarWind VSan is good
- When I started to use it, there was one mising feature - I mean sending reports by email. But it is solved now.
You can have full redundant storage system, you don't need to have third computer for witness.
I my opinion it is really great.
- Active-Active HA is rock solid.
- It is relatively simple to set up and support will guide you through the process if needed.
- Support responds fairly quickly.
- If a disaster happens (power lost to both nodes due to battery backup failure) determining the most up-to-date storage is a bit tricky. It would be nice if there were clearer indicators.
- Easy implementation
- Very good support
- I had no problems with understanding how the system worked. It was important to me.
- The system has the possibility to send an e-mail message about issues, but only within the internal company mail system. I would like to have e-mail messages also when I'm away.
- Fantastic Customer Support!
- Stable product at a affordable price (with great support!)
- Simple licensing model
- Engineer led PoC Install and configuration.
- Needs more comprehensive documentation and FAQ's
- Lack of Instructional video's
- Allowed us to take advantage of all the Hyper-V features and live migrations without the expense of dedicated SANs.
- We can perform maintenance on either host during the day and the users don't even notice a difference in performance.
- Support also helps us improve our infrastructure with best practices of other organizations.
- Some of the new Hyperconverged tools seem basic as a single-pane of glass dashboard, but they are constantly looking at improvements and updates.
- The actual interface is somewhat cryptic, so we wouldn't know what configuration changes to make, but that is kind of the point - we have their full support and we don't have to staff a Level 5 engineer to make large configuration changes.
- VSAN solution
- Amazing technical support
- Price compared to competitors
- Documentation could be more clear
- Download links to software could be easier to find
- Could work to archive their old documentation instead of keeping it up
- Data Synchronisation
- Reliability when restarted for configuration changes
- Uses VM over integrated solution
- Less complicated approach
- Synchro between servers is super fast, reliable and 100% functional.
- They have great support and will help you with anything.
- Everything works fully automatically and you don't have to worry about anything.
- Works flawlessly in background. I don't even realize it's there.
- Support is quick and knowledgeable.
- Their management VM needs improvement.
- Their documentation for initial configuration and setup, while not necessarily 100% thorough, is as good or better than any I've seen. I got through 99% of the setup with a very good understanding of the config concepts and actual real world configuration for our particular environment. Their support was also very helpful in validating our network and node-to-node connectivity design plan. Once our design plan was vetted, it didn't take more than a couple of days to be fully up and running.
- Our Starwind VSAN has been bullet proof. We've had ZERO issues with it since it's been built out almost 4 years ago. This is not an exaggeration. I find it almost ridiculous that it's been so rock-solid. Re-synchronization times between nodes after full power outages are lengthy, but I think that is a small price to pay, and it has never impacted our ability to get back up and running quickly.
- Ongoing maintenance for the VSAN is next to nil. Aside from the periodic Starwind updates, and maybe checking re-sync after full outages, I almost never have to even think about Starwind. It's just there, and it works.
- One downside to Starwind's VSAN is probably their scalability. If we needed to add more nodes for compute power, or scale out storage significantly, that might be a problem. We're a small shop though, and thought out our initial design to last us through at least 6-8 years of growth. Our general trajectory has us outsourcing more and more services instead of hosting them, so I'm not terribly worried about that. If we ever outgrow this solution, I'm pretty sure it will be well after the expected lifetime of our hardware.
- The re-synchronization times after a full power outage are very long (4-6) hours. That does not impact our ability to get back up and running quickly off of one node, however.
- The documentation was thorough, with the small exception of incomplete info regarding all of the iSCSI connections required.
- Cost effective vs physical hardware
- No maintenance required on the SAN software
- Just works once set up with no intervention
- During set up there are a lot of best practice changes required to the server, but their support team take care of this
- It would be good to be able to pause a node in starwind so that you can reboot a node with out lots of warning emails
- Technical support
- High availability
- Installation of HA cluster within a few hours
- Pricing per TB
- Highly available storage at a reasonable price.
- The support, when needed, has been excellent
- I once had to get emergency 24-hour support added on. I paid for the support (a yearly rate) but it was only good until the next renewal (so just for a couple of months.) That wasn't great. That kind of support should be pro-rated or permitted to carry over.
- High availability
- Ease of maintenance
- Hardware agnostic
- Performance metrics
- Consumption prediction
- vCenter integration where required
- Cost effective
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Supported Operating systems to run the application
- KBs are written up clearly and are easy to follow.
- Support team are knowledgeable, friendly and quick to respond.
- It's extremely stable!
- Bit expensive for smaller customers.
- It is complicated to setup for the first time.
- Requires extra hardware we don't use as standard (extra NICs, etc).
- Instant Faillover
- Always in Sync Replication
- Documentation especially for newcomers to the solution
- Updates - Requiring a request / response
- Simple configuration - between the community, KB articles, and support, this system is very easy to set up and get running.
- Support - their technical support goes above and beyond, even helping with non-StarWinds issues
- The system runs really well and I have little to ask of it. Perhaps some additional video training; how-to's that are more recently done would be helpful.
As for scenarios where it is less appropriate, I suppose a system that doesn't necessarily need that level of fault tolerance. The cost of disk space is inexpensive, but putting everything on it might be get too high.
- True two node Hyper-V cluster solution.
- StarWind support will install and configure the software and also update it for you.
- Improved Uptime
- Cost Saving
- Better alerting features
- Better protocol integration
- Providing HA storage for a FO cluster
- You can use any underlying disk setup you want.
- Very attractive price
- Good support
- Techy documentation
- Improved sync speed after node failure, e.g. with a journaling kind of system - supposedly coming this year though!
- Other then that we are happy with everything. So nothing to add!
- No Training
- The three-node hyperconverged scenario for our data center works as fault tolerance and less worries on data loss.
- The management console over Windows, installing together with the PowerShell library, you can put images on maintenance mode from the management console which saves you a lot of time on syncing.
- With the PowerShell library I created a batch file for putting images on maintenance mode when our UPS reaches 10% battery capacity in case of a blackout and this lets you bring all host backup and StarWind storage not requiring sync.
- An easy migration to ZFS system that is being presented on a new version of StarWind, migrations look complicated as this restructures the whole architecture on the raid level, but could be a good option just by having it and letting the user decide this new feature migration, as based on our experience with ZFS systems they work pretty fast and secure.
- Android app for monitoring and receiving push notifications as alarms or monitoring I/O from any mobile device.
- SMTP makes management services to crash and restart if SMTP server not reachable
- The variety of services offered
- The financial viability compared to the services offered
- Product functionality and performance is suitable for our organization
- StarWind has strong consultation accessibility for customers that wish to discuss the product first with their experts and start the process how they like it, not how the company wants it to
- The support team has the expertise of a strong service in the products that their customers have purchased
- StarWind, in general, has a strong user community that offers help on forums and other sites
- The company has a firm customer focus keeping in touch with us at all times, even after purchasing the initial product after 2 years
- Some users have commented on online forums and others that the documentation and KB articles could be clearer or better written. However, I found this to be the case a couple of years ago. Now, in 2022, this has been rectified and you can usually find the information that you are looking for.
- Another problem that we have come across is that when you will cease your contract with StarWind (for support) your product won't be updated and that is a big selling point, especially for us, as we have loads of products from StarWind.
- Their support contact was fantastic.
- The documentation and whitepapers were a great starting point.
- The performance gains were far greater than a SAN.
- The forums had lots of dead threads with no resolutions.
- Great user Interface
- HIgh performance even on slow networks
- clear and helpful knowledge base articles
- Great command line support
- C# and VC++ APIs
- Post installation support call very useful
- Occasionally the documentation/knowledge base isn't explicit about the implications of particular configuration choices.
- unsynchronized volumes, it is a manual process to trawl event logs looking for information; as this information is available and the process to determine the last written copy of the data is deterministic/repeatable I would have thought a tool to search the available node event logs would be handy to have.
- It could be clearer that if you use the GUI (Trial license) AT ALL, you cannot then configure the system to use the Free Tier license.