StarWind HyperConverged Appliance

Value Proposition

StarWind HCA is a turn-key hyperconverged platform that unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, with your hypervisor of choice (VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer) and associated software into a single manageable layer.

It’s a true “plug-and-play” IT infrastructure building block – flexible, easily scalable and cost efficient. Additionally, it features a built-in cloud gateway as standard in order to utilize public cloud storage tier where appropriate.

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Hyperconvergence for ROBO and SMB • StarWind HCA - pic 1


Unlike typical hyperconverged solutions, StarWind HCA provides a space efficient footprint with scaling from a high-availability installation of just 2 servers. Switches are not required, flash is optional, in addition to 10-100 GbE networking (1GbE available upon request). With less hardware to purchase and maintain, StarWind HCA is easier to manage while capital and operational cost are lowered. Typical hidden costs present in the form of hardware or software requirements in alternative solutions are avoided. Utilizing the worldwide proven technologies of StarWind VSAN, StarWind HyperConverged Appliance provides enterprise-class performance with unrivaled cost and simplicity.

Unlike a traditional approach where compute and storage layers are separated, StarWind HCA adopts a hyperconverged infrastructure. It merges both layers together in a single appliance, enabling simplicity for executing IT operations and requiring less hardware to perform the same task. To further increase the simplicity and efficiency, the whole appliance is covered by a single “support umbrella” by StarWind.

All the components from several vendors are already pre-built into StarWind Virtual SAN, Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct or VMware Virtual SAN “Ready Nodes”, pre-configured and covered by a single “support umbrella” with StarWind as your “one throat to choke” in terms of support. Besides, all-flash models of StarWind HCA are still within SMB and ROBO budget, thanks to hardware discount that StarWind shares with the customers.

StarWind HCA features a public cloud gateway allowing seamless offload of cold data directly into Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure while keeping hot data on local flash. This reduces initial hardware and operational cost paying only for the data that is “live”. Also, unlike similar solutions offered by hybrid cloud providers, StarWind HCA does not require any additional drivers or software and is compatible with any OS or Hypervisor. It is also supported by VMware vSAN and Microsoft S2D. The solution is secure by design, being powered by a proprietary real-time OS, therefore avoiding exploitation and utilizing encrypted block-level protocol for data transfer.


Exceptional Simplicity

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is turn-key virtualization appliance built from best of breed components. With a single support umbrella approach, it is extremely simple to manage and requires minimal effort from IT operations.

Low Cost

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is the most affordable turn-key virtualization solution available in the marketplace today. Due to its designed and intelligent use of hardware, less hardware is required bringing a “sum of all the parts” cost benefit.

Performance and Features

StarWind HCA unifies best of breed hardware and software from proven vendors. It delivers enterprise-class performance without cost, risk or complexity. In order to leverage the cost advantages of public cloud providers, it includes a public cloud gateway that enables offload of cold data directly to any public cloud such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure while retaining “hot” data internally.


Data Locality

The “data locality” approach effectively maximizes the performance of the IT infrastructure by keeping compute and storage resources for every virtual machine on its physical node. This allows processing most of the I/O locally, eliminating the problem of slow data transfer through interconnect fabrics and providing lower latency.

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Grid Architecture

The “grid architecture” allows building a highly fault-tolerant cluster by connecting a number of nodes together into a single grid. Such cluster topology provides a high rate of resiliency, allowing the cluster to stay operational even after multiple nodes failure while maintaining the principle of “data locality” for ultimate performance.

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and Compression

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance includes space reduction technologies for increased performance and capacity utilization. Deduplication and compression reduce the actual amount of data to be transferred, written, read or processed, therefore removing the unnecessary workload from HDD, flash and interconnect.

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Scale-Up and

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance scales according to business needs, allowing both scale-out and scale-up architectures. Ready HCA nodes or individual flash and disks can be added to handle the growing workload without “overkill” over-provisioning and over-spend.

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Unified Storage

StarWind HCA is versatile due to the help of multiprotocol StarWind Virtual SAN. It deploys industry-standard protocols allowing users to create virtually any architecture. StarWind HCA supports: SMB3, including SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel, NFS and iSCSI, VVols, NVMf and iSER. Initially designed to create virtualization infrastructure from the ground-up, StarWind HCA can still become a part of existing architecture.

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Fault Tolerance
and High Availability

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance achieves fault-tolerance and high availability with a minimalistic two-node setup. It utilizes StarWind Virtual SAN, MS S2D or VMware vSAN to “mirror” storage and caches between the nodes. As a result, the appliance can withstand failures of individual disks, memory modules or even an entire node without compromising uptime.

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StarWind HCA adopts a hyperconverged architecture, combining compute and storage resources into one scalable layer. It is easy to manage and extremely cost-efficient, reducing all virtualization expenses, including energy consumption. For these reasons, Hyper-convergence is suited for organizations with limited budgets and understaffed IT teams.

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Converged ("Compute and Storage separated")

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is, obviously, hyperconverged. However, it can integrate with with an existing “compute and storage separated” architecture, serving storage outside the appliance. It uses industry-standard uplink protocols: SMB3, NFS, iSCSI, NVMe over Fabrics, iSER, and SMB Direct.

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Server-Side Cache

StarWind HCA utilizes multi-tiered RAM and flash caching for exceptional performance, reducing I/O latency to an absolute minimum. Utilizing StarWind VSAN, it achieves high performance with conventional SATA SSD, RAM and MLC flash. Cache is distributed between the nodes, achieving fast and reliable write-back policy without employing costly proprietary hardware.

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Hardware Agnostic
and Commodity Hardware

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance takes advantage of commercial off-the-shelf hardware enabling unrivaled cost-efficiency. By avoiding the necessity for proprietary hardware, end-to-end solutions can be architected for much lower cost.

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StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is pre-integrated with an industry-leading backup solution – Veeam Backup and Replication. It will ensure the safety of mission-critical data and minimize the risk of data corruption even in case of disasters without impacting performance and data integrity. Optional public cloud integration for disaster recovery can be provided.

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Snapshots and Automated Storage Tiering

StarWind HCA employs StarWind VSAN inter-node tiering technology for performance-boosting and avoiding the need for costly flash storage. It can offload the rarely-used “cold” data from expensive primary storage to an inexpensive secondary tier or public cloud therefore avoiding performance degradation, prolonging flash life, reducing infrastructure cost and increasing usable space.

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Tape Library (VTL)

Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is an optional included feature that eliminates the need for physical tape by retaining all data on inexpensive, fast and high-capacity drives. In StarWind HCA, it is available in a software-only form as part of StarWind VSAN functionality.

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StarWind Log-Structured File System (LSFS)

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance employs StarWind VSAN Log-structuring feature to handle virtualization workload. It battles issues causing performance degradation such as “I/O blender” scenarios. As a result, log-structuring makes the minimalistic resources sufficient for even enterprise routines in addition to everyday tasks.

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Public Cloud gateway

By implementing a “hybrid” cloud environment, a mix of on-premises, private and public cloud services can be implemented providing greater flexibility and data deployment options. This feature requires no additional drivers or software and is compatible with any OS or hypervisor. The solution is secure by design, being powered by a proprietary real-time OS, therefore avoiding exploitation and utilizing encrypted protocol for data transfer.

Starwind Swordfish Provider NEW

StarWind Swordfish Plugin allows to easily manage, allocate and scale infrastructures based on StarWind Virtual SAN as well as setups with StarWind VSAN being part of a bigger storage infrastructure. Swordfish API comes as a part of VSAN installation, making StarWind deployment extra simple and eliminating the need to install additional software to manage the infrastructure.

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HCA Models

For simplicity with a degree of flexibility, StarWind HyperConverged Appliance is available in several models:

HCA Model S

Hyperconvergence for ROBO and SMB • StarWind HCA - pic 2

HCA Model S is an entry level system. A tower form factor simplifies the deployment for organizations without a data center rack environment. If required, a rack mount kit can be optionally added to the 2-node starter set.

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HCA Model L

Hyperconvergence for ROBO and SMB • StarWind HCA - pic 3

HCA Model L is the mid-level system for small virtualized environments. Its 1U form factor provides maximum compute power density in smallest possible rack space.

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HCA Model XL

Hyperconvergence for ROBO and SMB • StarWind HCA - pic 4

HCA Model XL is a high-end virtualization platform that provides maximum compute and storage density and uncompromised performance for high-load virtual server and VDI workloads.

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