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Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

StarWind VTL / VTL Appliance / Storage Gateway for Backblaze

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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby tuscani » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:36 am

While we have not purchased yet, let me tell you why we most likely will soon. Little background first.. We are a small hosting company that currently has five ESXi4 hosts with about 75+ VMs. Our primary storage is an outdated hybrid FC\SATA drive 2GB IBM DS4000 with several RAID5 LUNs (9TB provisioned and 6TB used). We decided to move from VMware given their insane (for an SMB anyway) licensing and maintenance costs. We are a Microsoft partner\reseller and qualify for SPLA licensing. Right there Hyper-V immediately grabbed our attention and we realized Microsoft had really raised the bar with Server 2012 on becoming a competitive hyperviser. So it's settled, we are now a Microsoft shop and we needed to hash out storage. We had been researching replacement options for awhile and everything had been hardware\appliance based i.e. Netapp, Aberdeen, XIO, IBM, etc. Nice to have things would of course be thin provisioning, de-dupe, replication, 10GbE. I just assumed I would not get those given the budget laid out.. i.e. a couple 10GbE switches alone would eat up most of our avail dollars.

I stumbled across StarWind and my first thought was you would have to be crazy to run a software SAN in production especially on top of Windows right? But wait, all our "nice to have things" were actually supported. Spent some time Googling the company and products and everything I came across was positive. Ok, I am still not sold yet though.

Then I got to thinking about how inefficient we are at the local storage level. For example, each of our physical servers has a 2TB RAID5.. FOR A 6GB ESXi4 INSTALL!! We are wasting 97% of storage we have already invested in. In fact, we have more unused local storage than the entire size of our FC SAN. WUT?? Talk about under utilization and server sprawl. Even after adding new drives to each server to get the usable space we need (and redoing the RAID levels) we still have several avail drive bays for future growth. <borat> VERY NICE!! </borat>

I dug a little deeper, spent some time in the resources area watching videos, reading manuals, whitepapers and came to the conclusion that not only does this sound great on paper it seems to actually work given everything I have read. Ok, let me contact sales and just get a feel for pre-sales tech support and customer service. This is where I was really impressed. The promptness and knowledge of my sales person and the technical resource was superb. They took the time to actually understand my environment and make recommendations unique to me; not vague generalizations that may or may not apply. My plan today is to better utilize the hardware we have with StarWind all while being substantially under our CapEx.

Now, with all that said, I do wish the Native SAN for Hyper-V supported more than three nodes. I would rather go that route and use RAID0; however, doing so would only leave me two servers for my Hyper-V cluster which would not be sufficient for our number of guests.

Regardless, I am excited to be implementing the product and am looking forward to the project!
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby robnicholson » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:59 am

We've used StarWind as a basic iSCSI SAN for nearly two years now and it's been ROCK SOLID. We had trouble in the early days but that was due to a bad HP disk controller and StarWind support even helped us track that down. So the cautionary tale here is don't skimp on the disk controller. My two main concerns were over reliability and performance. The former get a very big tick. The latter is as good as a 10 x 600GB 15k SAS RAID-10 disk system can get with 4 x 1GBe ethernet. I do like the flexibility we have. If we find that we're getting a bottleneck on the network, we have the (expensive) option to install a 10GBe network controller and switch. If we want more secondary storage, we can add another disk enclosure. If we need bigger caches, we can add more memory. These kind of changes are nowhere near as easy or cheap with a hardware SAN.

The 3-node RAID-0 idea is a real curve ball and one we need to think about as we're about to increase our SAN estate.

Cheers, Rob.
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby anton (staff) » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:29 pm

Guys we're stuck with a 2-way or 3-way mirror unsing current architecture (OK, we'll be adding snapshot-based async replication with the next minor update but that's another story). That's for "home runs" and it should be fine (you don't need to have ALL hypervisor servers involved into feeding storage to the cluster or you can go with a multiple LUNs so say 6 node cluster with have 3+3 or 2+2+2 config). Next **BIG **update will have architecture switch and we'll represent true scale out (with our own facilities and not with something OS could do as you can already take multiple redundant StarWind HA "groups" and create stripe over it with OS implementation).
Regards,
Anton Kolomyeytsev

Chief Technology Officer & Chief Architect, StarWind Software

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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby Alex Satler (staff) » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:22 am

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your great feedback!

We are pleased to hear that you enjoy using our solution. As of now, we are working hard to be even better!

Please feel free to contact me if you'd require any further assistance.
It would be our pleasure to help you!
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby RichRichardson » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:49 am

Well, in actuality, I got tired of Hyper V and went back to VMware Workstation11 and most of my images were Hyper V, and ran across the article that pointed me to your tool. I've nt used it yet, but in a few mintues I will.
I'm hopeful that it work flawlessly.
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby anton (staff) » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:01 pm

Good :) So did it work as expected?

RichRichardson wrote:Well, in actuality, I got tired of Hyper V and went back to VMware Workstation11 and most of my images were Hyper V, and ran across the article that pointed me to your tool. I've nt used it yet, but in a few mintues I will.
I'm hopeful that it work flawlessly.
Regards,
Anton Kolomyeytsev

Chief Technology Officer & Chief Architect, StarWind Software

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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby satxusa » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:00 pm

We went with Star winds based upon peer recommendation.
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby anton (staff) » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:41 pm

Mind you sharing your peer's name? Thanks :)

satxusa wrote:We went with Star winds based upon peer recommendation.
Regards,
Anton Kolomyeytsev

Chief Technology Officer & Chief Architect, StarWind Software

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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby JavierCoats » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:55 pm

This is a complicated question! However, I am pleased to have finally found the following thread, will be checking it out.
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Re: Why did you buy StarWind and not its competitor?

Postby Boris (staff) » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:39 pm

JavierCoats,
Welcome to StarWind Community. Feel free to check this and other threads that are of any interest for you.
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