StarWind Virtual SAN

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Value Proposition

StarWind Virtual SAN® clusters Microsoft Windows and Hyper-V hosts without any external storage hardware like SAS JBOD(s), Fibre Channel, iSCSI or SMB 3.0 physical appliances. It uses only internally attached hard disks and flash, basically “mirroring” them between multiple hosts, employing 10 Gb or newer 40/56 Gb Ethernet to establish connection between them, to create virtual shared storage pool. All in all, StarWind Virtual SAN resembles VMware Virtual SAN in functionality and fulfills the same task on Windows platform. It works freely with high-capacity SATA and superfast PCIe flash, features absolutely minimalistic hardware footprint and starts with just two (and scales out to infinity) physical Windows or Hyper-V hosts connected by Ethernet and no additional requirements – switches, external components, FC, iSCSI, etc.

Storage resilience and efficiency in StarWind Virtual SAN® are achieved with the following features: Server-Side Cache that uses RAM as well as spindle and flash memory, VM-centric storage architecture, Fault Tolerance and High Availability, Scale-Up and Scale-Out, Hardware Agnostic policy that allows the use of almost any hardware, Asynchronous Replication – similar in functionality to VMware Site Recovery Manager, Automated Storage Tiering, Space Reduction Technologies: Deduplication and Compression, Virtual Tape Library (VTL).

StarWind Virtual SAN with Hyper-V

Lifted Hardware Restrictions

StarWind Virtual SAN permits the usage of existing hardware to create the virtual shared storage. Flash (PCIe and SATA included) utilization is voluntary. While Clustered Storage Spaces uses only SAS for data synchronization between nodes, StarWind works with commodity 10 Gb or newer 40/56 Gb Ethernet.

Savings in OpEx and CapEx

Less hardware means lower initial price of the system and reduced expenses on maintenance, specialized staff or training. StarWind Virtual SAN works on cost-effective commodity equipment – COTS disks, flash, servers, etc., without the need for any proprietary hardware. Thus, CapEx is reduced because the equipment required for purchase is much more affordable. In fact, the existing hardware may be enough to run StarWind Virtual SAN.

OpEx is reduced mainly because the maintenance and service of conventional equipment costs much less. Upgrades and scaling are also affordable, because there’s no vendor lock-in and any newer COTS hardware will suffice. In addition, StarWind Virtual SAN employs the following features to protect expensive flash memory from wearing out too fast and having to be replaced:

  • Log-Structuring, which turns tons of small random writes dominating virtualized environment into one big write. Fewer write/erase cycles mean less stress on flash and consequently – it lasts longer. In addition, reduced number of I/O interactions boosts performance.
  • Space Reduction, namely In-Line Deduplication and Compression. While NTFS Offline Deduplication works well with cold (read-intensive) data, StarWind’s In-line Deduplication takes hot (write-intensive) data too. It also reduces the actual amount of data written to the array prolonging flash lifespan. As a side effect, it leaves more IOPS to VMs, thus improving performance as well.
  • Utilization of RAM as Level 1 cache to adsorb writes. Again, having fewer writes removes the stress off the flash, preventing “spot burns” and saving it from fast burnout.

Ultimate Data Integrity

StarWind Virtual SAN offers Fault-tolerance and High Availability with 99.99% uptime using 2-way replica and 99.9999% with 3-way replica. StarWind Space Reduction technologies eliminate the need for high cost, performance impacting, and data integrity issues typical with conventional Disaster Recovery (DR) implementations. Installation takes place in the cloud VM for DR purposes while replication and space reduction are moved to background, avoiding the common pitfalls found in traditional DR solutions.


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