StarWind Resource Library

Quick Start Guide: Creating Stand-Alone Image File Device with StarWind Virtual SAN

Published: October 8, 2014


StarWind Virtual SAN® is a native Windows hypervisor-centric hardware-less VM storage solution. It creates a fully fault tolerant and high performing storage pool purpose built for the virtualization workloads by mirroring existing server’s storage and RAM between the participating storage cluster nodes. The mirrored storage resource is then connected to all cluster nodes treated just as local storage by both hypervisors and clustered applications. Fault tolerance is achieved by providing multipathed access to all storage nodes. StarWind Virtual SAN delivers supreme performance compared to any dedicated SAN solution since it runs locally on the hypervisor and all IO is processed by local RAM, SSD cache, and disks and never bottlenecked by storage fabric.

This guide is for experienced StarWind users and Windows system administrators and IT professionals who would like to configure StarWind Virtual SAN solution. It provides detailed instructions on how to create minimal 2 node highly available shared storage configuration using StarWind Virtual SAN that runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2.

A full set of up-to-date technical documentation can always be found here, or by pressing the Help button in the StarWind Management Console.

For any technical inquiries please visit our online community, Frequently Asked Questions page, or use the support form to contact our technical support department.


Creating Basic Image File

1.Launch the StarWind Management Console: double-click the StarWind tray icon.

NOTE: StarWind Management Console cannot be installed on an operating system without a GUI. You can install it on any of the GUI-enabled Windows Editions including the desktop versions of Windows.

If StarWind Service and Management Console are installed on the same server, the Management Console will automatically add the local StarWind instance to the Console tree after the first launch. Then, the Management Console automatically connects to it using the default credentials. To add remote StarWind servers to the console use the Add Server button on the control panel.

2. StarWind Management console will ask you to specify the default storage pool on the server you’re connecting to for the first time. Please configure the storage pool to use the one of the volumes you’ve prepared earlier. All the devices created through the Add Device wizard will be stored on it.

Click Yes button to configure the storage pool. Should you require to change the storage pool destination, click Choose path… and point the browser to the necessary disk.

NOTE: Each of the arrays which will be used by StarWind Virtual SAN to store virtual disk images has to meet the following requirements:

• initialized as GPT
• Have a single NTFS-formatted partition
• Have a drive letter assigned

3. Select the StarWind server where you wish to create the device.

4. Click the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar.

5. Add Device Wizard will appear. Select Hard disk device and click Next.

6. Select Virtual disk and click Next.

7. Specify the virtual disk location and size and click Next button.

8. Specify virtual disk options and click Next button.

9. Define the caching policy and specify the cache size (in MB). Note: we recommended to use 1Gb cache per 1Tb storage. Click Next button after the configuration of cache parameters is completed.

Define the L2 caching policy and size if necessary.

NOTE: We recommend to use SSD for L2 cache and if it will be used, the formula is 1Gb (sum of L1 and L2) cache per 1Tb storage. After completing this step click Next button.

10. Specify the destination directory for the L2 cache, if any.

11. Specify target parameters. Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically based on the target alias. Click Next after completing this step.

12. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target.

13. Then click OK to close the wizard.

14. Right-click on the device you just created and select Replication Manager.

15. Replication Manager Window will appear. Click the Add Replica button.

16. Select Synchronous two-way replication. Click Next to proceed.

17. Specify the partner server IP Address or Host name. Default StarWind management port is 3261. If you have configured a different port, please type it in the Port number field. Click Next.

18. Choose Create new Partner Device and click Next.

19. On this screen you can select the synchronization and heartbeat channels for the HA device.

You can also modify the ALUA settings and modify the target name of the device.
Click Change network settings….

20. Specify the interfaces for synchronization and Heartbeat.

OK. Then click Next.

21. Click the Create Replica button. Then click Finish to close the wizard.

22. The added device will appear in the StarWind Management Console.