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StarWind FAQ

There are some questions that pop up way more often than others. To help you and us save time, we’ve gathered the most routine ones being asked and provided comprehensive answers to them. Whether it’s general virtualization information you need or something more specific, you will probably find your answer in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

How does StarWind VSAN work?

You can find full information about StarWind VSAN in StarWind help: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/help/

Where can I find the release information, version changelog, and latest version of StarWind VSAN?

Find out all the latest updates and release notes at the following link: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/release-notes-build

How to upgrade StarWind VSAN to the latest version?
How to restart servers with StarWind VSAN installed?

The best way to do it would be following the steps described in this KB article: https://knowledgebase.starwindsoftware.com/maintenance/how-to-restartshutdown-servers-with-starwind-vsan-installed/

NOTE: While restarting a server with StarWind VSAN installed, the connection to standalone devices (i.e., StarWind HA devices that are temporarily not replicated and StarWind .img files with no replication) will be interrupted. Make sure that resources that use standalone devices are turned off before the server shutdown.

NOTE: In case of a network driver or VMware Tools installation/upgrade, it is recommended to stop and disable the StarWind service manually on the node where this operation is going to be performed to avoid the split-brain issue. See more details about VMware Tools releases here.

I need to turn off all servers for a planned power outage or moving them to another location. How to avoid full synchronization after power on?

If all servers with StarWind VSAN installed should be turned off, follow the steps below:

  • Shutdown the VMs, services, and roles running in the cluster and/or located on StarWind storage.
  • In StarWind Management Console, check that all StarWind HA devices have the “Synchronized” status on all servers.
  • Activate Maintenance Mode for all StarWind HA devices; this feature is available starting from the 8.0.11818 build. This will allow avoiding the full synchronization process after servers are back online.
    The step-by-step guide for enabling StarWind Maintenance Mode can be found here.
  • Shut down the servers and VMs with StarWind VSAN installed.
  • When servers with StarWind VSAN are started again, disable Maintenance Mode for all StarWind HA devices.
  • Check that all StarWind HA devices have the “Synchronized” status on all servers.
  • Navigate to the cluster and start the VMs, services, and roles.
HA devices on all nodes and are shown as not synchronized. How can I fix this?

After all nodes of the HA cluster went down, StarWind VSAN may not able to determine which one holds the most recent data (i.e., was powered off the last). In order to prevent possible data loss (i.e., when a device with actual data is overwritten), StarWind VSAN blocks all the incoming connections until the synchronization source is identified and synchronization begins.

If you face the “Not Synchronized” device status on all StarWind nodes, you would need to discover which node has the most recent data. To do so, investigate Application logs on all nodes and identify the node with the synchronized device(s) at the moment of an outage.

If you are not sure which node has the actual data, contact StarWind Support or stop and disable StarWind VSAN service on all nodes except the one you assume to have the most recent data, mark the devices on that node as Synchronized, and check data consistency. If the data is not relevant (e.g.., old data appear, VMs are not able to boot, etc), stop the service on the current node, run it on the next one, Mark device(s) as Synchronized, and check data consistency on it. If you succeeded in determining data consistency, simply run the service on the nodes where it is not running yet and let the devices get synchronized.

What is “heartbeat” in StarWind VSAN?

Heartbeat is an advanced mechanism that is used to avoid data corruption in case of synchronization channel failure. If data can`t be transferred through the synchronization channel, StarWind VSAN checks the availability of the second node through an alternate network interface and marks the secondary node as Not Synchronized.

Find out more information about StarWind VSAN failover strategies in StarWind help: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/help/StarWindFailoverStrategies.html

How can I change Heartbeat or Synchronization channel IPs?

Select the corresponding device in Starwind Management Console. In the right side window, click the Replication Node Interfaces. In the window that will appear, you can edit heartbeat and synchronization channels’ settings on the fly.

NOTE: Do not delete all the interfaces at a time and avoid situations that would result in having all the replication node interfaces down. If all the IP addresses from the Replication Node Interfaces list are to be modified, change them on the entire network stack one by one on both sides (e.g., change heartbeat IP addresses on all partner nodes first, then, modify synchronization IP addresses).

When I create an HA device in the Add Target wizard, there is the "Specify interfaces for synchronization and heartbeat channels" step. Why does the wizard automatically select all IPs located in the same subnetwork when I select only one that I need?

We strongly recommend connecting every data link to a dedicated subnet (every synchronization channel and heartbeat). When you select one IP, the wizard automatically reserves all IPs in that subnet. This is intended to protect StarWind VSAN users from misconfiguring HA by assigning Heartbeat and Synchronization Channel to the same data link.

How can I extend the iSCSI volume on the client machine?

In StarWind Management Console, select the device that you want to extend and click the Extending Size of HA (High availability) Device/Image File Size button in the right side window. Then, specify the disk space that you want to add and click the Finish button.

Link to KB article: https://knowledgebase.starwindsoftware.com/maintenance/how-to-extend-image-file-or-high-availability-device/

Windows Server doesn`t see my HA device as one disk. Why?
You need to install MPIO (MultiPath I/O) Feature to make Windows recognize the HA devices properly.
I have connected the target on different hosts and when I write the data to the target on one host, I`m not able to see it on other client machines that have the same disk connected. Why?

Unlike file-level protocols used in NAS, iSCSI is a block-level protocol and it cannot arbiter read-write access to an iSCSI device connected to multiple servers. In order to provide the access to one device from multiple servers, the device needs to have a clustered file system. While VMFS is a clustered file system and no additional actions should be done to see updated data on datastore, iSCSI storage, connected to the nodes in a Microsoft failover cluster should be managed by the cluster and formatted as CSVFS if used as Cluster Shared Volume (CSV). Such an approach allows to share single storage device between the nodes in the cluster and get updated data on them.

How to enhance security and setup Access control for the iSCSI targets and CHAP permissions in StarWind VSAN?

See StarWind VSAN help for detailed steps:

Configuring Access Rights for the targets:

Configuring CHAP permissions:

Why StarWind VSAN is not utilizing all the available bandwidth of the network channel?

We recommend you to take a look at the StarWind VSAN Benchmarking Best Practices document: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/best-practices/starwind-virtual-san-starwind-benchmarking-best-practices/

If you still face with low performance even after implementing the appropriate tweaks and checking the hardware, please contact our support team.

What cache is better to use Write-Back or Write-Through? And what does the expiry period mean?

Write-Back caching improves write speed and lowers the latency while Write-Through caching improves only the read speed. The cache expiry period is the timeframe data is kept in the cache from the moment of the last access before being flushed to the disk. More information about StarWind cache can be found in this document: https://knowledgebase.starwindsoftware.com/explanation/starwind-virtual-san-l1-and-l2-caches-operational-principles/

How can I change the cache settings?

You can find a detailed description of changing cache settings in this KB:

Changing, adding, and disabling L1 cache:

Adding, Changing, and removing L2 cache:

What is the best way to migrate StarWind HA to new hardware?

With StarWind VSAN and the production environment set up according to StarWind VSAN Best Practices, a hardware upgrade does not normally require downtime. Below, you can find a procedure for a hardware upgrade in a 2-node setup. In Windows clusters, the procedure assumes that Windows together with its roles and features is already installed and configured on new Nodes 1 and 2. This procedure also implies each server to be capable of hosting the entire production during the maintenance.

To migrate StarWind HA to new hardware in a 2-node setup:

  • Disconnect old Node 1 targets from all the client servers.
  • In the StarWind Management Console right-click the HA device on old Node 2, and select Replication Manager.
  • In the Replication Manager window remove the replica of the HA device. Carry out this procedure for each HA device.
  • Shut down the old Node 1.
  • Connect the synchronization link(s) of the old Node 2 to the new Node 1 server.
  • Power on new Node 1 with new hardware installed.
  • Configure the synchronization link(s) between the new Node 1 and the old Node 2.
  • Install StarWind VSAN on the new Node 1 and apply the license key file to the new installation.
  • 9. In StarWind Management Console, right-click the HA device on old Node 2 and select Replication Manager.
  • 10. In the Replication Manager window, click the Add Replica button. Follow the wizard steps to set up the HA device replica on the new Node 1. Carry out this procedure for each HA device.
    NOTE: It is recommended to add the next device replicas after the previous device has finished synchronizing).
  • After synchronization is finished, connect the new Node 1 to the client servers.
  • Disconnect old Node 2 targets from all the client servers.
  • In the StarWind Management Console right-click the HA device on the new Node 1, select Replication Manager.
  • In the Replication Manager window remove the replica of the HA device. Carry out this procedure for each HA device.
  • Shut down the old Node 2.
  • Connect the synchronization link(s) of the new Node 1 to the new Node 2 server.
  • Power on the new Node 2.
  • Configure the synchronization link(s) between new Nodes 2 and 1.
  • Install StarWind VSAN on the new Node 2 and apply the license key file to the new installation.
  • In StarWind Management Console, right-click the HA device on new Node 1 and select Replication Manager.
  • In the Replication Manager window click the Add Replica button.
  • Follow the wizard steps to set up the HA device replica on the new Node 2. Carry out this procedure for each HA device.
    NOTE: It is recommended to add the next device replicas after the previous device has finished synchronization.
    NOTE: For HA devices created with the Heartbeat Failover strategy, make sure to connect and configure Heartbeat links too.
  • Wait for the synchronization to end.
  • After synchronization is finished, connect the new Node 2 to the client servers.
What is the storage pool and how to change it?

The storage pool is the default path to place StarWind virtual disks (LSFS proprietary files, *.img, etc. )

To change the default storage pool path please do the following actions:

  • Open StarWind Management Console.
  • Choose the server, where you want to change the storage pool path.
  • Click the Configuration tab, then go to Advanced Settings.
  • Click Modify that is in the top right corner of StarWind Management Console.
  • In the pop-up window go to the Storage Pool tab.
  • Choose a new default path for your storage pool.
What The World Says About Us

StarWind included as Niche Player for the third consecutive time in 2020 Magic Quadrant for HCI

Success Stories

We were able to build 2-node storage clusters based on virtualization in 19 hypermarkets without any problems and with high cost-efficiency.

Vass Sandor, IT Infrastructure Leader

By being able to virtualize our environment with StarWind, we were able to retire some old hardware, get our services highly available, reduce power consumption and heat in our server closet.

David Gardner, Information Systems Manager

We are satisfied with StarWind. The support is really fantastic. Whenever any issue arises, the response is very prompt, and solution is immediate.

Srinivas Kouda, Company’s Representative

StarWind got us off the clustered environment, which was a big help. So, I could regain control of my storage and reclaim and redistribute the space we desperately needed.

Ryan Fulton, Company’s Representative

Price + Simplicity. StarWind VSAN offers great pricing and allows us to get work done without expensive custom hardware. It also makes getting back online quick and easy after an outage or hardware failure.

Aaron Hayes, IT Manager

We chose StarWind Mainly because of the cost compared to other vendors. Simplicity of setup was also a major factor and I like the fact that you don’t need a vendor certified engineer to perform the installation.

John Harris, Windows System Administrator,
Department of Physics, University of Oxford

Because of recommendations of older colleagues, with StarWind, we got a reliable storage with no additional hardware. There was a need to increase IT infrastructure performance and we saw StarWind as the most cost-effective solution.

Željko Medić, Director of IT Department

StarWind is the best storage product I have ever used! It satisfies and exceeds requirements.

Joe Gursky, Director of IT
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