StarWind Virtual SAN

Value Proposition

StarWind VSAN eliminates any need in physical shared storage by simply mirroring internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. It reduces virtualization expenses (both capital and operational) by utilizing hardware resources for the same workload. StarWind VSAN maintains high performance and data high availability on minimalistic resources thanks to unique StarWind developed technologies. StarWind Virtual SAN delivers performance and reliability using commercial off-the-shelf hardware, removing the need for costly proprietary components.

StarWind Virtual SAN is designed for those who already have servers, or are bound to a particular vendor list to buy from. Alternatively, deployment can be simplified through utilizing StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. This is a turn-key solution complete with hardware and software, powered by StarWind Virtual SAN. Those who need to build and maintain virtualization infrastructure at little to no expense, may be interested in StarWind Virtual SAN Free.

StarWind Virtual SAN® – VSAN Storage Cost for ROBO and SMB - pic 1


StarWind Virtual SAN is simple, inexpensive and offers higher performance and more features than any alternative Software Defined Storage platform. StarWind VSAN has a simple base configuration of just two nodes without the need for voting or quorum facilities and is exceptionally easy to operate. It reduces cost requiring less hardware: no switches, no mandatory flash, no 10GbE and fewer servers. StarWind VSAN needs only two licensed nodes to handle an infrastructure of as many nodes as needed. The basic configuration supports many features unavailable in similar solutions, such as asynchronous replication, in-line and offline deduplication, Log-Structuring, multi-tiered RAM and flash cache.

StarWind VSAN supports converged scenario and can also go hyperconverged on top of existing hypervisor servers. It runs on inexpensive commercial off-the-shelf hardware, causing no hardware lock-in. Licenses are perpetual, so they will never expire and cause additional expenses for renewal. Unlike single-purpose, open-source free software, StarWind VSAN utilizes in-house developed code, well proven worldwide and is a native Windows application, without any custom Linux/FreeBSD fork-outs. StarWind VSAN is supported by StarWind and is additionally eligible for Microsoft and VMware support services.
Full differentiation of StarWind Virtual SAN against competitors can be found here.


Lower Cost of Ownership

StarWind Virtual SAN cuts the costs at least in half, meaning both Operational and Capital Expenditure. It eliminates the actual physical shared storage, corresponding infrastructure, associated deployment and maintenance activities. StarWind VSAN works on commodity hardware, so there’s not only less hardware to purchase and maintain, but also the required hardware is inexpensive.

Exceptional Simplicity

StarWind Virtual SAN runs as a native hypervisor component or in VM, and it does not require any deep storage and network administration or UNIX management skills. A typical system administrator with minimal experience in Hyper-V, VMware or Windows can install, configure and maintain VSAN operations.

Performance and Features

Performance is uncompromised by the minimalistic hardware footprint, reduced deployment and management costs. StarWind Virtual SAN brings to the table server-side flash and memory caches, log-structuring and an absolutely minimalistic I/O path. The resulting performance is unmatched by either typical virtual appliances or physical shared storage.


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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and Compression

StarWind Virtual SAN implements VM and flash-friendly space reduction technologies such as in-line deduplication and compression. The result increases usable capacity of all-flash configurations, boosts I/O performance as more data can be pinpointed to virtually "bigger" de-duplicated caches. Also, it prolongs flash life reducing the amount of write operations.

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Scale-Up and

StarWind Virtual SAN allows both Scale-Up and Scale-Out architectures. Capacity can be increased by simply throwing more capacity into the existing storage cluster node. Adding a new host with its own CPU, RAM and internal storage can scale storage capacity, I/O performance and VMs.

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Unified Storage

StarWind Virtual SAN uses industry-standard uplink protocols, integrating with almost all virtual environments and technologies. It exposes: SMB3 with dialect features such as SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel, NFSv4.1 and iSCSI, VVOLs iSCSI, NVMe over Fabrics and iSER. As a result, StarWind VSAN can merge with any virtual environments.

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Fault Tolerance
and High Availability

Virtual SAN simply "mirrors" the actual storage and caches between the given numbers of hosts creating a fault-tolerant storage pool. It is completely up to the system administrator as to how many replicas of a particular VM or LUN are kept alive and how many active storage controllers a cluster should use.

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As an extension of the hypervisor, provides both outstanding performance and unified administration using hypervisor-specific management tools. VSAN simply integrates and operates with all major virtualization platforms running on Hyper-V and Windows as a native application together with vSphere or Xen nested inside a VM. Non-virtualized clusters are also fully supported.

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Converged ("Compute and Storage separated")

StarWind Virtual SAN also runs on a dedicated set of hosts in order to create a separated storage layer. The differentiation of compute and storage layers is optimum if there is need to grow by capacity only. Typical use cases are shared storage for huge clustered SQL Server, Oracle, SAP, NoSQL deployments and an inexpensive block back-end for Scale-Out File Servers.

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Server-Side Cache

Virtual SAN reduces I/O latency and eliminates network traffic to an absolute minimum by utilizing distributed RAM and flash-based caches. As a result, it improves performance and reliability without unnecessary cost. Caches are kept coherent between multiple hosts in order that a lightning-fast write-back policy is safe and achievable with commodity hardware.

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Hardware Agnostic and Commodity Hardware

StarWind Virtual SAN utilizes inexpensive commodity hardware. StarWind’s unique, in-house developed software gets the most from general-purpose x64 servers, MLC flash, spinning disks and Ethernet. Optionally, VSAN takes care of higher-performing SAS, more reliable SLC flash, as well as 10 and 25/50/100 GbE networks.

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Asynchronous Replication

Virtual SAN ensures that the mission-critical business data is replicated to a disaster recovery site, following the "3-2-1 backup rule". Replication is implemented to be asynchronous, background, deduplication, and compression-aware, as well as snapshot-based. Additionally, StarWind VSAN supports asynchronous replication to private and public cloud such as Azure.

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Snapshots and Automated Storage Tiering

StarWind Virtual SAN implements inter-node tiering technology to offload cold data such as snapshots from fast and expensive primary storage to slower but inexpensive secondary storage. The combined result allows the use of a much smaller amount of flash as primary tier with cheap spindles as a secondary tier.

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Virtual Storage Appliance

Special version of StarWind Virtual SAN, promptly deployed from a pre-configured VMware and Hyper-V compatible VM appliance installs on existing hardware shared with hypervisor automatically without any manual adjustments, requiring no specialized knowledge from the on-site IT team. This version is testing-ready, but being VM-based it will need some tinkering from StarWind engineers for a clearer performance evaluation.

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Virtual 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, therefore dramatically reducing backup windows.

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StarWind Log-Structured File System (LSFS)

Virtual SAN provisions and manages storage with VM workloads in mind. General-purpose storage arrays are invariably the most appropriate candidates to serve hypervisors. VSAN uses Log-Structured File System and sophisticated caching in order to avoid random I/O to the full, but still without requiring cost all-flash storage.

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Designed for SMB and ROBO scenarios, creates up to 4 TB of synchronously replicated volumes (HA), or single targets (Non-HA) with an unlimited capacity. The license is not upgradable beyond basic capacity.


It starts with two licensed nodes and scales-out to an unlimited number of nodes. There are no storage capacity limitations. The license includes asynchronous replication to a dedicated Disaster Recovery (DR) or Passive Node (as an option for extra cost).


Created to handle any workload, it features unlimited capacity and unlimited number of nodes. The license includes asynchronous replication to a dedicated Disaster Recovery (DR) or Passive Node.

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