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StarWind Appliances: Quick Start Guide

Published: May 25, 2018

INTRODUCTION

StarWind Appliances are complete turnkey solutions designed to eliminate unreasonably high complexity and cost of IT infrastructures. StarWind Appliances seamlessly integrate into any environment and take application performance and availability to an entirely new level. StarWind further simplifies this process by helping each customer with migration and integration.

Also, StarWind completely excludes customer effort in monitoring and supporting the infrastructure. By combining monitoring and proprietary analytics, StarWind ProActive Support ensures unprecedented uptime and provides insights on resource planning along with upgrade suggestions.

This document is intended for system administrators who would like to know how to get started with StarWind Appliances. It provides detailed instructions on how to deploy StarWind HyperConverged or Storage Appliances.

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.

System diagram and description

The network interconnection diagram for different types of StarWind Appliances is provided below.

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance

StarWind HCA is a 100% software-defined hyperconverged platform designed to ensure constant application uptime for companies with limited IT team resources or budgets. The Appliance consists of a server with a hypervisor (Hyper-V or VMware ESXi) and StarWind Software-Defined Storage layer. Veeam Availability Suite is a recommended backup component of the Appliance.

StarWind Storage Appliance

StarWind Storage Appliance is a storage platform designed to provide a high performing and easily scalable storage for organizations with fixed compute resources. The Appliance consists of a server and StarWind Software-Defined Storage layer.

StarWind VTL Appliance

StarWind VTL Appliance is designed for businesses looking to eliminate their costly tape backup process without changing the established data archival and retention processes. The Appliance improves storage cost efficiency by tiering on-premises cold data to a public cloud. Additionally, it delivers flexible scaling for on-premises storage by using any industry-standard object storage array. The appliance consists of a storage server with StarWind Virtual Tape Library.

2-node StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with Hyper-V scheme

2-node StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with Hyper-V scheme

 

2-node StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with VMware ESXi scheme

2-node StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with VMware ESXi scheme

 

2-node StarWind Storage Appliance scheme

2-node StarWind Storage Appliance scheme

 

StarWind VTL Appliance scheme

StarWind VTL Appliance scheme

The system is fully pre-configured and ready to be integrated into the existing infrastructure.

Additionally, domain controllers or a vCenter Server can be configured as virtual machines running on the host.

To review all server technical specifications, please, refer to the corresponding Data Sheet:

The Data Sheet on StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is available here,

The Data Sheet on StarWind Storage Appliance is available here,

The Data Sheet on StarWind VTL Appliance is available here.

CAUTION: before following any procedures described in this document, please, read the safety instructions that are shipped with the system.

Servers naming and credentials

By default, the StarWind servers are configured with the following domain names:

For Hyper-V scenario For VMware ESXi scenario
SW-HCA-01

SW-HCA-02

SW-HCA-VM-01

SW-HCA-VM-02

The default credentials are as follows:

Instance Login Password
iDRAC root calvin
Windows Server administrator StarWind2015
VMware ESXi server root StarWind2015
VMware vCenter administrator@vsphere.local StarWind2015!

Getting started

StarWind Appliance setup includes several steps:

Step 1: Physical Setup

1. Install servers into the rack.

2. Plug all the servers and a switch into an AC power grid using enclosed power cables.

3. Connect network interfaces as shown on the scheme below depending on the configuration.

NOTE: The servers view can be different according to the ordered appliance model.

  • 2-node StarWind Storage Appliance

10 Gbps network interfaces are used for StarWind VSAN Synchronization and iSCSI channels. It is recommended to connect them directly to SFP+ cables.

Port 1 on the first server should be connected to Port 1 on the second server.

Port 2 on the first server should be connected to Port 2 on the second server.

Management (1 Gbps) and iDRAC interfaces should be connected to the network switch.

In case of Storage Appliance configuration, the interfaces, marked yellow, can be used for iSCSI clients’ connection.

 Storage Appliance configuration

  • 25 Gbps network interfaces are used for StarWind VSAN Synchronization and iSCSI channels. It is recommended to connect them directly to SFP+ cables.

Port 1 on the first server should be connected to Port 1 on the second server.

Port 2 on the first server should be connected to Port 2 on the second server.

Management (1 Gbps) and iDRAC interfaces should be connected to the network switch.

In case of Storage Appliance configuration, the interfaces, marked yellow, can be used for iSCSI clients’ connection.

  • 3-node StarWind HyperConverged Appliance.

25 Gbps network interfaces are used for StarWind VSAN Synchronization and iSCSI channels. It is recommended to connect them directly to SFP+ cables.

Port 1 on the first server should be connected to Port 1 on the second server.

Port 2 on the first server should be connected to Port 2 on the second server.

Port 3 on the first server should be connected to Port 3 on the third server.

Port 4 on the first server should be connected to Port 4 on the third server.

Port 5 on the second server should be connected to Port 5 on the third server.

Port 6 on the second server should be connected to Port 6 on the third server.

Management (1 Gbps) and iDRAC interfaces should be connected to the network switch.

In case of Storage Appliance configuration, the interfaces, marked yellow, can be used for iSCSI clients’ connection.

  • StarWind VTL Appliance.

10 Gbps network interfaces are used for StarWind VTL connection to the Infrastructure.

Management (1 Gbps) and iDRAC interfaces should be connected to the network switch.

4. Turn the servers on.

Step 2: Checking network connections

The system comes with the hypervisor and operating system already installed, updated, and pre-configured including all necessary roles and features (like MPIO, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, Remote Desktop connection, etc.).

Please follow the steps below to check the installed and connected systems. Identify server’s Management and iDRAC IP addresses from DHCP server or by connecting a monitor to the server.

Step 2A. StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with Hyper-V or Storage Appliance

1. Log in to Windows servers via RDP or iDRAC console using provided credentials.

2. Select “I agree to terms of this Agreement” in the appeared StarWind License Agreement window.

3. Open Network and Sharing Center and check that Sync and iSCSI network interfaces
are connected.

4. Check the network connectivity between the servers by running the “C:\HCA\StarWind HCA network test.ps1” script. If the script has reported a “connectivity failed” message, please, check the cable connections for StarWind synchronization and iSCSI links.

5. Join servers to the existing domain.

6. Assign static IP addresses for Management interfaces on both servers and configure appropriate settings in your DNS server.

7. Check that you can ping the servers by Management interface IP address, hostname, and FQDN.

8. Assign static IP addresses for iDRAC on both servers and check that you can ping the servers by iDRAC IP address.

9. Log in to the servers and check that you can ping the partner server via Management IP address, as well as whether you can ping the DNS server.

Step 2B. StarWind HyperConverged Appliance with VMware ESXi

1. Log in to each ESXi server with vSphere client using provided credentials. You can use a web client, which can be accessed at http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/ui/#/login, where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx stands for the IP address of the corresponding ESXi host.

2. Select “I agree to terms of this Agreement” in the appeared StarWind License Agreement window.

3. Each server has one StarWind virtual machine already deployed and pre-configured.

4. Log in to StarWind VMs from the vSphere desktop or a web client with provided credentials.

5. Open Network and Sharing Center and check that Sync and iSCSI network interfaces  are connected.

6. Check the network connectivity between the servers by running the “C:\HCA\StarWind HCA network test.ps1” script.

7. Join StarWind VMs to the existing domain if necessary.

8. Assign static IP addresses for ESXi hosts and introduce appropriate settings into your DNS server.

9. Check that you can ping the StarWind VMs by Management interface IP address, hostname, and FQDN.

10. Assign static IP addresses for Management interfaces on both StarWind VMs and introduce appropriate settings into your DNS server.

11. Check that you can ping the StarWind VMs by Management interface IP address, hostname, and FQDN.

12. Assign static IP addresses for iDRAC on both servers and check that you can ping the servers by iDRAC IP address.

13. Log in to the servers and check that you can ping the partner server via Management
IP address, as well as whether you can ping the DNS server.

Step 3. Launching StarWind Management Console

Once the operating system has been started, the StarWind management console splash screen pops up.

Also, the corresponding services should be started in the Windows Service Manager.

In case the StarWind Management Console window doesn’t show, check the taskbar:

Open StarWind Management Console and check that all devices are in the synchronized state. In case synchronization is in process, wait until synchronization is over before scheduling a remote session with a StarWind Technical Support Engineer for setup finalization.

Optionally, StarWind Web Console can be deployed to manage StarWind services from a preferred web browser

Step 4. Joining servers to the domain

NOTE: It is not necessary to join the Storage Appliance, VTL Appliance, and StarWind virtual machines on VMware ESXi into a domain, unless it is required by organization policies.

As a configuration option, a new domain can be created and domain controllers can be deployed by StarWind Engineers if there is no existing domain.

To join the servers to the existing domain, perform the following actions:

1. Go to System – Advanced System Settings – Computer Name and press the Change button.

2. In the popup window, select Domain instead of Workgroup and type the name of your domain in the corresponding field:

3. In the next window, enter the domain user credentials for joining the server to the domain, and confirm by pressing OK:

4. Your server will be joined to the domain and restarted. After this, perform actions 1-3 for another server.

Additional configuration options

StarWind Appliances have StarWind Health service enabled as a part of ProActive Support as well as Veeam Availability Suite and 5nine software (optional).

Additionally, Cluster-Aware Updating can be configured upon request.

CONCLUSION

StarWind Appliances are fully functional pre-configured solutions that are ready to be integrated into the existing infrastructure or implemented into a new one. They provide a solid virtualization infrastructure for SMB and ROBO by including full feature pack for virtualization:

1. Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESXi as a bare-metal hypervisor

2. StarWind as a storage virtualization solution

3. StarWind Health service, Veeam Backup & Replication, and 5nine software (optional)