StarWind Resource Library

StarWind Virtual SAN White Paper

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Published: March 14, 2016

Introduction

Virtualization continues to push forward through IT, leaving “physical everything” to fade into history. Most businesses have already accepted its advantages and are adopting the technology at a steady pace. Industry leaders in different markets are enjoying virtual IT infrastructures with performance and cost-efficiency way ahead of anything the “old” physical approach could offer them. At the same time, virtualization is adapting to various business needs, becoming the “way to go” for companies of any size.

Problem

Storage virtualization is expensive and requires trained IT staff, which makes it hardly affordable for SMB and ROBO. Enterprises may have the means to manage virtualized IT infrastructure in the head office, but equipping hundreds of locations with proper hardware, software and personnel becomes an unreasonably complex task. Budgets are limited and IT teams are insufficient in remote sites and smaller companies, so typical virtualization is out of reach for SMB and ROBO.

Converged architecture has many drawbacks, including complexity, high cost and high I/O latency

Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions claim to solve the problem with their low prices, but in most cases they hide associated costs. Some of them require additional hardware and software, so extra licenses and servers increase CapEx. Others just initiate a vendor lock-in, forcing the use of a single expensive brand, which makes OpEx grow. Besides, most of SDS solutions are not easily usable by administrators and require trained staff for installation, configuration and maintenance.

Solution

StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) allows inexpensive and easily manageable storage virtualization to SMB and ROBO, creating a fault-tolerant storage pool by “mirroring” internal hard disks and flash between servers. It reduces implementation cost, using less hardware than most similar solutions. StarWind VSAN starts from just two physical nodes and accepts commodity components, easily purchased in the nearest PC store. When branch offices are considered, the money saved on hardware is multiplied by the number of locations, making StarWind VSAN exceptionally cost-effective.

StarWind VSAN is a simple Windows application. A typical system administrator with minimal experience in Hyper-V, VMware or just Windows, will easily install, configure and run it. There is no need for any specialized storage and network administration or UNIX management skills. Basically, any IT team will maintain StarWind Virtual SAN operations without having to exceed their abilities.

StarWind Virtual SAN was designed with virtualization workload in mind, so its minimalistic hardware footprint has no negative impact on its capabilities. It employs log-structuring, server-side flash/RAM caches and small I/O path to provide performance unmatched by typical virtual appliances and physical shared storage.

Hyperсonverged architecture and scale-out

Сonclusion

StarWind Virtual SAN brings Enterprise-class virtualization into SMB and ROBO space. Being inexpensive and easy to manage, it easily meets their budget and IT team requirements. At the same time, performance is far ahead of anything physical shared storage and typical SDS could ever offer, thanks to
sophisticated algorithms and in-house developed technologies.