Unified Storage

Unified Storage (Multiprotocol)

The legend says people had only one language before building the Tower of Babel, but then God interfered, and they suddenly stopped understanding each other. This is a fantasy of course, though people speak different languages now and need some translating intermediate to communicate freely. Software works in the same way “speaking different languages”, called protocols. Dozens of solutions have been developed to the point of “industry-standard”, dividing the market. While some products are mutually compatible, most of them are not, undermining user convenience and requiring some special addition to make them work together.
Problem
Every piece of software has a limited set of supported communication protocols. Even if an application supports multiple protocols, it “prefers” one of them to others in the list, typically having performance issues with using the least preferred. Getting a few different applications to work together may prove a real challenge. When it comes to virtualization, this happens a lot with storage and consumers. They use different, often mutually incompatible uplink protocols. For example, Microsoft Hyper-V "prefers" SMB3, also working with iSCSI with certain issues and not working with NFS at all, while VMware vSphere works with NFS and iSCSI, but not SMB3, so finding a storage for both environments simultaneously can be tricky.

Some software, like VMware Virtual SAN, has its own proprietary protocol, making it even more of a challenge to achieve compatibility. Specialized solutions that allow multiprotocol communication, such as additional "gateway" layers, require skills and money, also being a bottleneck in performance, because all the data has to go through them.
Products from different vendors support incompatible protocols
Solution

StarWind Virtual SAN exposes industry-standard uplink protocols. It uses SMB3 with all fuzzy dialect features, including RDMA-supporting SMB Direct and MPIO-utilizing SMB Multichannel. NFSv4.1and iSCSI (VVols on iSCSI, NVMe over Fabrics and iSER. Basically, it can stick any consumers, such as virtualization environments, together with the storage into a working setup. The typical usage scenarios are virtually unlimited: bare-metal, converged ("compute and storage separated"), hyperconverged, Clustered Shared Volumes for SOFS, VVols on top of iSCSI, SMB3 file server and many others. StarWind Virtual SAN can expose industry-standard protocols outside and feed the storage to any other deployment based on Hyper-V, vSphere, Xen, etc.

StarWind Virtual SAN support all industry-standard protocols
Conclusion

StarWind Virtual SAN becomes the universal “gateway” for all industry-standard uplink protocols: iSCSI, NFS, SMB3, etc. In a way, it works like polyglot who doesn’t need any third party to communicate with people in many different languages. It allows multiple virtualization environments to interact with storage and form a working setup, providing virtually unlimited deployment scenarios.

To download the software products please make your choice below. An installer link and the license key will be sent to the e-mail address you specify. Please check the Free vs. Paid document if you are uncertain of the StarWind Virtual SAN version. A totally unrestricted NFR (Not For Resale) version of StarWind Virtual SAN is available for certain use cases. Learn more here. StarWind Virtual SAN for Hyper-V release notes are available here.

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