High Availability At Its Best
August 27, 2020
High Availability At Its Best
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with StarWind Virtual SAN
We implemented StarWind VSAN on two dedicated Dell Windows servers, logically sitting between the VMWare front end hosts and the Dell EqualLogic back end SANs. There are two sites connected completely redundantly with stacked switches at both ends and two separate fibers taking two different geographical paths between sites. Each site hosts VMWare hosts, a StarWind server, and a Dell SAN. This solution serves two virtual server clusters which collectively represent the entirety of operations for the end customer's internal and customer-facing services. Previous to implementing StarWind, the existing SAN hardware was being underutilized. The Dell EqualLogic SAN replicated all volumes to an offsite SAN through a direct L2 fiber connection every 5 minutes. The downside here was that if there was a DR scenario, data loss of up to 5 minutes was possible, and the process of mapping existing VMs to replicated iSCSI volumes would have been very tedious. Additionally, a SAN failure would inevitably result in downtime for running VMs in addition to data loss.
- Realtime storage replication.
- Resilient and redundant iSCSI targets.
- Flexible for use with almost any back-end storage solution.
- Allowed us to take a SAN that would only ever be used in the event of a failure and begin actively utilizing that hardware for production.
- This resulted in being able to sustain a complete site failure without any need for a manual disaster recovery procedure.
At the same time that we implemented the StarWind solution, we also converted the front-end virtual infrastructure from Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V with Microsoft Failover Clustering to VMWare vSphere 6.7 Enterprise Plus with a single vCenter standard server. Implementing both of these projects simultaneously didn't cause us any headaches at all. That's pretty impressive to me.
The StarWind Management Console makes management of the product very easy. The interface is intuitive. It just makes sense. You can connect multiple StarWind servers to the same console to manage multiple with the same interface.
I work with a LOT of vendor support, and I can tell you that StarWind support engineers KNOW THEIR STUFF. They are super professional and easy to work with. They will even help you see the product implementation through to completion.
Personally, I've not found any true competitor to StarWind VSAN that can truly do what this product can do. I spent a long time looknig.
StarWind VSAN works best when implemented with the proper design. I have seen a StarWind VSAN implementation in the past that didn't work as well. But that was only the case because it was not implemented with a good and thoughtful design. StarWind customer service does a fantastic job of consulting with you about your specific environment and how StarWind VSAN would be best implemented in your topology. In general, I would recommend this product to anyone with a virtual server infrastructure who wants complete uptime of their VMs such that even a complete failure of a SAN housing virtual disks for actively running VMs doesn't cause a failure of that VM.