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 turnkey 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 eliminates the need in physical shared storage - pic 1
Differentiation

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.

Benefits

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.

COST EFFICIENCY

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.

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.

Features

Virtual Storage Appliance (Preview)

StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance is a hardware-agnostic, easy-to-deploy shared storage solution specifically designed for VMware users. Coming as a Linux-based VM with StarWind Virtual SAN already installed and configured, StarWind VSA allows easily building a Highly Available 2-node VMware vSphere cluster with no need in an external witness node or Windows License.

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Starwind Virtual San
Hybrid CloudNEW

StarWind Virtual SAN extends existing workloads to Azure public cloud, transforming the existing infrastructure into Hybrid Cloud. StarWind distributes highly available shared storage between the clouds, providing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for optimal RTPO. The Hyper-V ecosystem is managed by such familiar and convenient orchestrators as StarWind Manager, Hyper-V, and SCVMM.

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StarWind ProActive SupportNEW

StarWind ProActive Support provides your business with an unprecedented level of services availability and data security by preventing failures proactively instead of dealing with consequences. In the case of a problem, StarWind engineer gets an alert and reaches out to you to resolve it, saving your valuable time and efforts.

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StarWind Stretched
ClusteringNEW

StarWind Stretched Clustering provides organizations with constant applications uptime and uninterrupted business continuity. The Stretched Clustering support allows avoiding the production downtime due to Live Migration between the geographical locations. Moreover, the IT infrastructure resources are utilized by 100% thanks to active-active shared storage replication.

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SMB3 support

SMB3, an evolved version of SMB (Server Message Block) protocol, provides file-based access to applications data. Being designed to max out hardware utilization efficiency, StarWind implementation of SMB3 decreases CAPEX and simplifies Scale-Out File servers deployment.

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NFS support

NFS (Network File System) is a distributed system protocol providing users with the remote access to data over a shared network just if it was kept locally. StarWind implementation of NFS eliminates the need for dedicated shared storage, so CAPEX and OPEX become significantly lower. Also, it merges the storage and compute layers allowing the cluster to go well with only two nodes.

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SMI-S support

SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) provides a simple and unified way to orchestrate the entire storage infrastructure. StarWind SMI-S provider, in its turn, delivers system and storage administrators the single “pane of glass” management over SCVMM and OpenStack. Thanks to SMI-S support, most operations can be performed from console and automated.

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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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StarWind Web-based Management

StarWind Web-based Management provides system administrators with the ability to access and manage their StarWind infrastructure via HTML5 web console from any remote location. This functionality delivers the full control over the storage-related operations from a PC or Android, iOS or Windows mobile device.

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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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Deduplication
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
Scale-Out

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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StarWind iSER

StarWind iSER completely eliminates the problem of network bottleneck by supplying higher bandwidth for block storage transfers. Further, it ensures the highest performance in the clustered systems by avoiding latency issues. Therefore, with StarWind iSER, VM migration, data and VM replication become faster and easier to perform.

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Unified Storage
(Multiprotocol)

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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StarWind VVols

The integration of VMware VVols support in StarWind products makes vSphere storage management highly efficient, simple and automated. StarWind VVols allows providing VMs with fine-tuned storage policies based on pre-defined storage configurations with required performance and resiliency characteristics.

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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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HyperConverged

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. Our unique in-house developed software makes the most performance out of general-purpose x64 servers, MLC flash, spinning disks and Ethernet. VSAN also takes care of high-performance SAS, SLC and 3D NAND flash, as well as 10 and 25/50/100 GbE networking.

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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 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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Starwind Swordfish Provider

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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Editions

Standard

Intended for SMB’s and Remote Offices/Branch Offices (ROBO). Each node is licensed to create up to 4TB of synchronously replicated volumes, and allows creating single targets (Non-HA) with an unlimited capacity, is scalable to an unlimited number of nodes. The license is non-upgradable. This license includes 1 year of Standard Annual Support and Maintenance (ASM).

Professional

Intended for SMBs and Remote Offices/Branch Offices (ROBO) which are willing to expand their infrastructure to enter the Enterprise market. Each node is licensed to create 8TB of Highly Available storage, is scalable to an unlimited number of nodes. The license is provided per one node, with a minimum package of two nodes. The license is non-upgradable. This license includes 1 year of Standard Annual Support and Maintenance (ASM).

Enterprise

The license is provided per one node, with a minimum package of two nodes, is Scalable to an unlimited number of nodes, no storage capacity limitations, and provides the ability to add Asynchronous Replication to the cluster. The license is non-upgradable. The license includes 1 year of Standard Annual Support and Maintenance (ASM).

Datacenter

This is a premium edition from StarWind, which includes the following for a single site/datacenter: Unlimited Nodes, Unlimited Capacity and Asynchronous Replication. The license includes 1 year of Standard Annual Support and Maintenance (ASM).

To download the software products please make your choice below. An installer link and the license key will be sent to the e-mail address you specify. Please check the Free vs. Paid document if you are uncertain of the StarWind Virtual SAN version. A totally unrestricted NFR (Not For Resale) version of StarWind Virtual SAN is available for certain use cases. Learn more here. The Release Notes can be found here.

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