StarWind HCAs Help Me Sleep at Night
April 25, 2022
StarWind HCAs Help Me Sleep at Night
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with StarWind HyperConverged Appliance (HCA)
Virtual file server and Active Directory domain controller for the corporate office and virtual development and technical support environments for our Developers and Technical Support staff at our corporate office. Has provided our company with a fully redundant virtual environment at half the cost of a traditional SAN implementation. Previously, we had the traditional SAN environment of 2-3 virtual hosts, 2 SAN switches for iSCSI, and then one storage array/server (all Dell hardware). The problem was the single point of failure (SPoF) at the bottom which was the one storage server. Because of the cost, we could only afford one storage server but this meant that SPoF. Now we have a completely fully redundant SAN solution at half the cost and rackspace footprint.
- Two StarWind HCAs are either a half or less than half the cost of a Dell blade chassis with 3 blade servers, two switches of iSCSI and one storage server for the SAN.
- With the above being our past SAN implementation, there was still a single point of failure with the one storage server for the SAN so has increased our reliability/uptime/redundancy of our environment at half the cost.
- The time savings in regards to Support is also worth the money spent on the Premium Support plan they over since I don't need to contact StarWind Support for any issues with the Dell hardware/virtual host, for any issues with the StarWind SAN software, and any VMware issues.
StarWind's proactive support will notify us of any non-responsive issues that they may see on their end. Thankfully, no serious issues with the HCA's have occurred but several times network connectivity was lost to the HCAs and StarWind's proactive support notified us.
In the 3 years that we have been using the StarWind HCA's, we have not experienced any downtime or unplanned outages. It has been the opposite that I was able to keep all systems/VMs up and running when I needed to upgrade the StarWind SAN software and firmware of the Dell hardware that are the virtual hosts/hyperconverged appliances.
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 process and I was able to fully customize/add components to my HCAs that allowed me to drop in my HCAs to may existing SAN environment and that simply VMware vMotion off all of my VMs from my all SAN to the new StarWind HCA SAN.
Scale was a proprietary SAN software/hardware and outrageously high priced. The StarWind HyperConverged Appliance was just Dell servers with VMWare ESXi Hypervisor installed running two Windows Servers virtual machines where the StarWind SAN software is installed on. The only thing that was proprietary for StarWind was the StarWind SAN software.
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I had to upgrade the StarWind SAN software and at the same time, upgrade the firmware of the hardware of the virtual host and I was able to move all our VMs over to the other host and perform the upgrades on the one host all while keeping all the VMs up and running during the upgrades. In the past, I would have to shutdown all the VMs to upgrade the firmware of the storage server and then power back on the VMs after the upgrade on the storage server.