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StarWind Virtual SAN on Windows Server 2016

StarWind | 8.0.0.14398a

Windows, Windows Server 2016 Base Windows Server 2016 - 64-bit Amazon Machine Image (AMI)

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External reviews

46 reviews
from G2

External reviews are not included in the AWS star rating for the product.


    Ryan K.

StarWind VSAN works!

  • June 22, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
The VSAN just works. Being new to the organization and to StarWind, I found the system easy and intuitive. The support, community, and KB articles online work to make this a great product.
What do you dislike?
Nothing! I honestly haven't found anything that I don't care for. If I had to pick something, perhaps more recent video tutorials would fit the bill here.
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Our electronic medical record runs on a 2-node hyper-converged cluster, with StarWind running it. This helps increase our uptime, fault tolerance and reliability for the EMR.


    Building Materials

Starwind "It's a Winner!! for us"

  • June 21, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
What we like best about it, is that's the only true two node Hyper-V cluster solution that's available. On both produciton locations we have a 2-node setup over 2 different Server room.
Our main goal was that we want to have all VM servers available on one Cluster host ,in case of a disaster in one of our server rooms.
Microsoft SSD (Storage Space Direct) always needs a 3rd witness (SMB or Cloud) but in our a two node solution this is not ideal. Direct connected fiber connections
between the nodes makes everything fast and makes the chance of a Cluster split-brain fault less likely.
What do you dislike?
I can not think of anything that I dislike about the product.
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
We are using a Starwind Virtual SAN (VSAN) on two Production locations with a Hyper-V Cluster for almost 5 years now.
It has given us very good performance and haven't got any issue with it the past years.
Starwind support is excellent, very fast and have very good knowledge of the Starwind and Hyper-V Cluster software.
It can be supported by a small IT Staff
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Yes it a great product for a HA environment.


    Grzegorz M.

Good performance and stability in relative low price

  • June 19, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
StarWind Virtual SAN is for me easy to underatsnd, to configure and to use.
What do you dislike?
In path Server/Configuration/Event Notifications/Action we could configure an e-mail address. But unfortunately there was no place to write login and password of sender. So this only colud be use in internal company e-mail server. All public e-mail servers require that the sender logs in.
But in last update this problem is solved and now I can use public e-mail addresses. so now there is nothing to dislike.
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Our company exists since 1991.
Among others we also run a business of alarm monitoring central station.
Because of this alarm monitoring central station we need fully redundant system of data collecting and processing. Even a single minutes of interruption in signal receiving and/or processing could cause very big problem.

Several years ago we used cluster of 2 windows servers with shared storage system on a single SAN. On theme was working clustered SQL server with database mirroring. Every part of system was redundant except of SAN.
It was almost satisfying.
This time we did not use VMs except for testing purpose.

Everey cluster server system we know needs shared storage system. Cluster server system could be fully redundant, but this redundancy is worth nothing without redundant storage system. (Actually I heard newest windows server supports solution similar to starwind, but I’m not sure).
We had a single SAN system. As a single, SAN was not redundant. But we needed redundant storage system. We always were afraid that once upon a time our SAN will stop to work…
We off course had backups, but it was not enough.
What we needed was the system with no data loss in case of issue and with no interruption (or only several seconds of interruption) in data processing.
We were looking for relative simple and not very expensive solution.
Actually I don’t know why StarWind. I was looking for solution using Google. StarWind was first system I found that gave me a hope. When I did some tests with StarWind I stopped to look for anything more.
Now we have redundant storage system, so our cluster system is fully redundant.
As we bought two 2-nodes Starwind V-san licenses (one for Electronics Box and other one for Monitoring Łódzki) we have now 2 clusters of two nodes Windows Hyper-V servers with StarWind V-san working as hosts.
Both clusters are in different locations (same city but couple of miles far one to another). Both locations are connected with rented 100 Mb/s optical fiber connection.
On the host clusters are running several clustered VMs. Among VMs we have 2 nodes SQL cluster with Always On High Availability.
As disaster recovery VMs running on one of locations are replicated on another one.


    Information Services

Great product , SAN works fast.

  • June 17, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
They provide good support and their response is quick, Interface is admin friendly. SAN works fast, even with HDDs . Not much maintenance is needed, just install and run updates sometimes.
What do you dislike?
As I've mentioned above, their support is quick, but it is a little expensive in my opinion. I really recommend working with their support when you first build a Virtual SAN.
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Well , there is no need for us to buy a separate physical shared storage, we can just use storage on hypervisor servers instead, you can also save on MS licenses.


    Oliver P.

Cheaper and more attractive vSAN than S2D and others

  • June 14, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
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 af 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 to 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 install 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 https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/hci/manage/diskspd-overview
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...lets 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 already...you get who I would recommend 😎

MIT

PS: We don't like to publicly post as our corp (privacy reasons), but take me posting here at all as an additional hint to at least check out the product. I wouldn't bother if it sucked... 😏

PPS: There is a visual bug with a specific part of iSCSI.
Microsoft's fault, as usual has never been fixed in over 15 years.
Just don't panic if you experience it, "all is well"... 😂
https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/de-de/000138339/microsoft-iscsi-initiator-source-ip-address-incorrect-in-persistent-target-or-favorite-targets-details
https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/d10d87c9-7361-4f0a-8ffe-5c877e6f209d/208-iscsi-initiator-source-ip-incorrect-in-persistent-target-details?forum=winserverfiles
What do you dislike?
Since you are relying on Microsofts implementation of iSCSI...should MS decide to break it with a patch, that's that 😁
And since iSCSI has been around for so long, not everything is powershellable.

For StarWind's product itself though, apart from an upcoming feature (mentioned above) we aren't missing anything and since the GUI is proper I really don't dislike anything since implementing it.
Which is a REALLY rare thing for a sysadmin nowadays 😍
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Providing HA storage for a FO cluster


    Industrial Automation

Great VSA solution

  • June 13, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
easy deployment and great support for installations, has a free version to test before purchasing
What do you dislike?
SMTP make the management services to crash if not well configured
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
using vsan storage for the whole datacenter
Recommendations to others considering the product:
working good and fast on RAID 5 with write cache enabled, imagine with RAID 0 or RAID 6 , fast Vsan storage


    Food Production

Best Virtual San for the Value

  • June 13, 2022
  • Review verified by G2

What do you like best?
Value for money
Easy to Manage
Agnostic Software
What do you dislike?
Some security features missing. The alerting should be improved
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Datacenter Uptime
Datacenter Availability
Meets low budget requirements
Recommendations to others considering the product:
We have been runing Starwind Vurtual San in a production enviroment since 2009 with vmware.
We run all types of software on top of Starwind (Diferent types of Database, factory software, security software, ERP...).


    Adam C.

Fantastic support and performance

  • June 06, 2022
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
After deploying a HA SQL Failover Cluster, we started to notice performance issues due to our storage, which was an off the shelf NAS.
I had already heard about StarWind and its VSAN software so I decided to run a little test environment. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance gains even on spinning disks and the overall setup being fairly painless.
I decided to go ahead with this solution, got the cost signed off and implemented it in production.
We had some initial issues but their support was extremely helpful in resolving these and was very patient as we deployed this to a secure environment with no internet access. Yet they still offered support and worked closely with a single point of contact.
I then later moved to a different company and implement a similar solution in the Oracle Cloud using their free offering, again this was simple to setup using their collection of PowerShell scripts.
What do you dislike?
The forums can lead to many dead threads without any resolutions.
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
We had issue with our internal warehouse system, that ran off a SQL Failover Cluster. We found the issue was caused by slow disk performance and StarWind removed these.


    Pierre-Yves L.

Efficient And Cost Effective Solution

  • April 12, 2022
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
Software was easy to install, support is top notch and overall solution proved to be much more cost effective than the competition
What do you dislike?
Slightly complex architecture Tooling spread across web UI + desktop client Requires a lot of network interfaces
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
Hyperconverging vSphere nodes storage without spending a fortune
Recommendations to others considering the product:
Definitely a viable alternative to competitors product


    Luca B.

the solution for ROBO

  • April 12, 2022
  • Review provided by G2

What do you like best?
i've experienced Starwind VSAN on two installations. the product himself is doing exactly what is promising, and in this time is not so obvious. well documented and with practical example. the performances are those that are claimed in their website. The sales chain is efficient and well prepared, the implementation was done directly by Starwind personnel and was straight forward. service is more than efficient, ready to help, highly skilled. and all this with a fraction of the cost of the competitor. strongly recommended
What do you dislike?
for my direct experience all the aspect are fine, from sales to service. just a little concerning for the pricong model change on VMware hypervisor
What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?
mainly the scope we was implementing VSAN was to eliminate the single point of failure represented by a normal shared storage in a vmware cluster, and tghis without having to use an enterprise graded storage that is in another range of cost