SMB wanting the virtual high availability that large enterprises have? Look no further than StarWind HCA.
July 19, 2020

SMB wanting the virtual high availability that large enterprises have? Look no further than StarWind HCA.

Brent Day | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA)

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 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
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 HyperConverged Appliance (HCA) Support

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Not kept informed
Need to explain problems multiple times
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.
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.