StarWind Virtual SAN®
Scale-Out Existing Deployments
for VMware vSphere

Introduction to StarWind Virtual SAN for Hyper-V

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 built for the virtualization workloads by mirroring the existing server’s storage and RAM between the participating storage cluster nodes. The mirrored storage resources are then connected to all cluster nodes and treated just as a local storage by all hypervisors and clustered applications. High Availability (HA) is achieved by providing multipath 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 I/O is processed by local RAM, SSD cache, and disks. This way it never gets bottlenecked by storage fabric.

StarWind VSAN for Hyper-V System Requirements

Prior to installing StarWind Virtual SAN for Hyper-V, please make sure that the system meets the requirements, which are available via the following link:

Recommended RAID settings for HDD and SSD disks:

Please read StarWind Virtual SAN Best Practices document for additional information:

Pre-Configuring the Servers

The idea behind scale-out is to grow both storage and compute power by adding additional nodes instead of adding disks, CPUs, NICs or RAM to individual systems.

This document describes how to rebuild a 2-node Hyperconverged setup with VMware vSphere by adding an additional node into configuration and getting a 3-node configuration with 2-way active-active StarWind VSAN replication. It’s assumed that StarWind HA devices (DS1 and DS2) and corresponding datastores are already created. One more StarWind HA device will be added as a part of reconfiguration and corresponding datastore (DS3) will be created in VMware vSphere.

The diagram below illustrates the network and storage configuration of the 2-node Hyperconverged Scenario with VMware vSphere. The article on how to deploy a 2-node Hyperconverged Scenario with VMware vSphere could be found at the link below:


The diagram below illustrates the resulting network and storage configuration of the 3-node deployment with 2-way active-active StarWind VSAN replication:

Scale-Out Solution for Hyperconverged Scenario with ESXI

1. ESXi hypervisor should be installed on each host.

2. StarWind VSAN should be installed on the Windows Server operating system deployed as VM on each host.

3. The hosts should have additional network interfaces to the connection the Host 2 to the Host 3 and the Host 1 to the Host 3 for iSCSI and Heartbeat traffic.

4. On each node, network interfaces to be used for Synchronization and iSCSI/StarWind heartbeat should be in different subnets and connected directly according to the network diagram above. Here, the 172.16.10.x, 172.16.11.x, 172.16.12.x subnets are used for the iSCSI/StarWind heartbeat traffic, while the 172.16.20.x, 172.16.21.x, 172.16.22.x subnets are used for the Synchronization traffic.

NOTE: Do not use ISCSI/Heartbeat and Synchronization channels over the same physical link. Synchronization and iSCSI/Heartbeat links can be connected either via redundant switches or directly between the nodes.
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Replacing Partner for DS2 Virtual Disk

1. Open StarWind Management Console and add the third StarWind server(SW3), which was previously deployed.

Add new StarWind Server

2. Open Replication Manager for DS2 device on the second StarWind node.

StarWind Management Console

3. Click Remove Replica. The replica to the first node (SW1) will be removed.

StarWind Replication Manager

4. Click Add Replica.

5. Select Synchronous “Two-Way “Replication and click Next.

6. Enter Host Name or IP Address of the third StarWind node.

7. Select Create new Partner device.

8. Click Change Network Settings. Specify the interfaces for Synchronization and Heartbeat channels. Click OK. Then click Next.

StarWind Interfaces

9. Click OK to return to Network Option for Synchronization Replication. Click Next

10. Click Create Replica.

11. After creation, click Finish to close the Replication Wizard. The result should look as shown in the screenshot below.

StarWind Management Console


Creating Virtual Disk DS3

1. Select SW3 server and open Add Device wizard by right-clicking the StarWind server and selecting Add Device (advanced) from the shortcut menu or by clicking the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar.

2. Once Add Device wizard appears, follow the instructions to complete the creation of a new disk, which will be replicated to SW1 server.

3. Select Hard Disk Device as the type of a device to be created. Click Next to continue.

4. Select Virtual Disk. Click Next to continue.

5. Specify virtual disk location and size.

StarWind add device

6. Specify Virtual Disk Options and click Next to continue.

NOTE: Sector size should be 512 bytes when using ESXi.

7. Define the RAM caching policy and specify the cache size in the corresponding units if required.

NOTE: For the cases, where it is required, assign 1 GB of L1 cache in Write-Back or Write-Through mode per 1 TB of storage capacity. The cache size should correspond to the storage working set of the servers.

8. Define the Flash caching policy and the cache size. Click Next to continue.

NOTE: The recommended size of the L2 cache is 10% of the initial StarWind device capacity.

9. Specify Target Parameters. Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of the target if required. Otherwise, the name will be generated automatically in accordance with the specified target alias. Click Next to continue.

10. Click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target and Finish to close the wizard.

11. Right-click on the recently created device and select Replication Manager from the shortcut menu.

StarWind Replication Manager

12. Click Add replica and select Synchronous “Two-Way Replication”.

13. Specify partner Host Name (SW1) or IP address and Port Number.

14. Select Create new Partner Device and click Next.

15. Click Change Network Settings.

StarWind Interfaces for Synchronization Channels

16. Click Create Replica.

17. The added devices are seen in the StarWind Console.

StarWind management Console



Creating Datastores

1. Open the Storage tab on one of the hosts and click on New Datastore.

Creating datastore

2. Specify the datastore name, select the previously discovered StarWind device, and click on Next.

Select Device

3. Enter datastore size. Click on Next.

Partitioning Options

4. Verify the settings. Click on Finish.

New Datastore

5. Add another datastore (DS2) in the same way but select the second device for it.

6. Verify that storage (DS1, DS2) is connected to both hosts. Otherwise, rescan the storage adapter.


7. Path Selection Policy changing for Datastores from Most Recently Used (VMware) to Round Robin (VMware) has been already added into the Rescan Script, and this action is performed automatically. For checking and changing this parameter manually, the hosts should be connected to vCenter.

8. Multipathing configuration can be checked only from vCenter. To check it, click the Configure button, choose the Storage Devices tab, select the device, and click on the Edit Multipathing button.

Configure MPIO

Round Robin

Performance Tweaks

1. Click on the Configuration tab on all of the ESXi hosts and choose Advanced Settings.

Advanced Settings

2. Select Disk and change the Disk.DiskMaxIOSize parameter to 512.


NOTE: Changing Disk.DiskMaxIOSize to 512 might cause startup issues with Windows-based VMs, located on the datastore where specific ESX builds are installed. If the issue with VMs start appears, leave this parameter as default or update the ESXi host to the next available build.

NOTE: In certain cases, in Virtual Machine, Windows event log may report an error similar to “Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort0, was issued”. Check this KB acticle for a possible solution.

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