Cheaper and more attractive vSAN than S2D and others
June 14, 2022

Cheaper and more attractive vSAN than S2D and others

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with StarWind Virtual SAN

We are an SMB that can't be bothered paying tens of thousands of dollars just to get a proper HA storage for a two-node failover cluster. Therefore StarWind's vSAN was financially attractive from the start. The reviews you can find all over the web incentivised us to research this solution deeper (e.g. just check all the great posts vom Kooler on Stackoverflow), leading to us actually implementing it. We were coming from an S2D implementation which already gave us a ridiculous amount of headaches (bugs, performance stalls, "we know what's best for you" automatisms) IN ADDITION to being slow AND annoying to administrate/debug WHILE ALSO having the most annoying documentation ever to be created by mankind. Just the usual MS crap basically. Rush out some code and ship it and never fix anything (but break it every few weeks with patches)... The initial tests were easily implementable (without begging some sales folks for a POC, due to a free version being available) as well as proper documentation *that you actually LIKE to read due to it having been typed by a tech* (and that also isn't behind a pay/registration wall). As close to perfect as the documentation is, do read the blog posts e.g. the 2 node HA setup as well - some minute details were only found in those. No showstoppers, and not many things in general, just a few hints here and there. The installation itself is easy as pie, the config file is properly documented (you can do most things via GUI, just some things are set in the main config file). Do help yourself to the iSCSI Powershell commands (Windows defaults from MS) when implementing, way more attractive than clicking via GUI! (New-IscsiTargetPortal, Connect-IscsiTarget etc.) Some things must be done via GUI though since iSCSI has been implemented way back and "making scripting available" wasn't that widespread for developers back then. This being a Microsoft topic, not StarWind though...they would have had to make their very own iSCSI implementation otherwise. For testing, you should use a proper tool like since "Windows copy from within the VM running on the test setup" can be flakey. Not as in "the results aren't valid real-world performance if you check with the Windows copy within a VM" but rather "non-scientific" since you can't extract much data from that process aside from size/time. Feature-wise we are only waiting for the release of a... let's call it "planned disaster"...feature that would allow us to patch a hypervisor node without having to take the full storage offline. Atm (20220609) this is still necessary since taking a node offline without properly activating maintenance mode on the vSAN would trigger a full sync of the vSAN nodes. This is fine and a good thing! since it ensures data integrity. But there is something in the making that would ensure integrity without a full sync after a node goes down...which, as stated above, one could "abuse" to patch (and boot = take down) the hypervisors during business hours. Other than that the thing is rock stable and chugging along without issues. Like I said we are an SMB so we "only" have around 50 VMs on our FO cluster, which is a medium load for SSDs. So if you plan to go more to the "max" side of performance use, do proper testing! Price-wise this is very attractive, the support is great (little that we needed due to the good docs) and I would expect you to reach very good performance just like we did. The next-best solution from my research back then - that you would actually want to use, so no S2D crap or anything - would have started at 7x or 8x the price. Started! So...since StarWind's solution has served us very well over the last two years get who I would recommend.
  • 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!
  • ROI/TCO in comparison to VMware is ridiculously better since it is way cheaper, and we basically don't ever have to touch this again after the initial setup!
  • The usability for us admins is so much better than Microsoft's S2D crap...
The support does a final check with you if you choose to implement everything yourself (which we did so we could properly support ourselves day to day should something arise), which was our only required contact so far. Since that experience was proper.... a 9/10. Aside from that we only had small questions which we took to the forums, and timely responses, so...what more can you ask for. :)
I selected "Windows Server" since I couldn't find S2D in the list... S2D just sucks overall. Crap UI. Crap CLI. Megacrap documentation. VMware is very expensive...

Do you think StarWind Virtual SAN delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with StarWind Virtual SAN's feature set?


Did StarWind Virtual SAN live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of StarWind Virtual SAN go as expected?


Would you buy StarWind Virtual SAN again?


Providing a rock-stable HA for a small price for SMBs. You don't need to sell a kidney to VMware to get it!

Using StarWind Virtual SAN

4 - IT admins
  • Unexpectedly just as easy to setup and maintain as one could assume by reading their docs. Rare that this is the case.
  • More nodes? :) who knows.
The product works properly and the price is very attractive. The performance is great too. So...why WOULDN'T we renew.

Evaluating StarWind Virtual SAN and Competitors

Yes - Microsoft S2D

Megacrap from Megacr...uhm Microsoft....
No really. Just avoid S2D.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Prior Experience with the Product
S2D performance is a mess. S2D licensing is a mess. StarWind's on the other great GUI and docs... so... do test it :)
Aside from possible feature/price changes on the vendor side, I wouldn't change my process.

StarWind Virtual SAN Implementation

Read the docs I linked in the main review as well as StarWind's documentation. Then it will be easy as pie.
Yes - 
  • Initial tests with free license
  • Set up one node
  • Set up second node
  • Activate HA
  • Migrate test VMs onto final setup
  • Once that's fine and dandy for a few days, migrate all prod VMs to the HA setup.
Change management was minimal - We are an SMB, I am my own Change Management.
  • None encountered (yes, actually!)

StarWind Virtual SAN Training

StarWind Virtual SAN Support

Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Yep, because you can't be on your on with such a critical solution.
Yes - Yup, investigated some specialty with Microsoft's iSCSI implementation in Windows and received proper help.
Wasn't needed since the product works very well since implementation.

Using StarWind Virtual SAN

Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Feel confident using
  • HA device setup
  • Performance tracking
  • Microsoft iSCSI related things, since CLI is sometimes nonexistant
Proper GUI, proper documentation.