Why StarWind?

StarWind is a one-stop virtualization shop for all the “building blocks” required to construct a full-stack data center infrastructure. We are most certain that the way we combine scalability with simplicity allows our customers to build and scale their environments according to their needs and not according to a limited set of options they're typically offered. Following this way, StarWind promotes hyper-convergence without condemning the traditional compute and storage architecture, being able to provide the customers with turnkey solutions fitted for their specific cases.

Why hyperconvergence?

Today, the complexity of datacenter IT environment is continuously growing as the amount of data increases and applications demand more compute power with more infrastructure components needed to support it. At the same time, IT departments should always be able to provision resources instantly while maintaining flexibility and scalability of the infrastructure to handle unpredictable data growth.

Traditional IT infrastructures are comprised of separate compute, storage, and networking components requiring different administrative groups and systems for their management. The storage team, for example, handles the maintenance of the storage subsystem and the relationship with the storage hardware vendor. The same goes for the servers and the network teams. Such infrastructures feature multiple management interfaces for separate components, higher maintenance costs, and are a real headache in terms of support since different components often come from different vendors. All of this makes infrastructure management a highly time- and effort-consuming task forcing businesses to spend their time and money just on keeping the IT infrastructure working instead of focusing on innovations and services delivery.

What makes our Hyperconvergence Approach Different? • StarWind - pic 1
Converged infrastructure approach

The problem of the datacenter IT environment complexity and large hardware footprint is partially solved by deploying a converged infrastructure (CI). The main idea behind this concept is to minimize compatibility issues between servers, storage systems, and network switching. To achieve this, a converged infrastructure delivers a set of separate compute, storage, and networking resources optimized and tested for better interoperability.

While reducing the complexity of the datacenter IT infrastructure to a certain extent, such approach has significant drawbacks. The components in a converged infrastructure are managed separately, requiring dedicated applications to manage various pieces of hardware, sometimes making administration a challenging task. Furthermore, such infrastructures have a large hardware footprint – servers, data storage devices, and networking equipment occupy unnecessary space and convert into limited flexibility and scaling options. Additionally, due to a large amount of hardware utilized, CI implies significant deployment and operational expenses.

Hyperconverged infrastructure – simple solution to complex challenges

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) takes this approach to an entirely new level by combining compute, storage, and networking resources in a single “building block” and adopting Software-Defined Everything approach. Software-Defined Storage (SDS) stack eliminates the need for the proprietary storage hardware, significantly reducing costs since dedicated storage hardware is no longer needed. The storage is controlled at the OS or Hypervisor layer with the help of virtual storage controllers. These virtual controllers run on every node within the cluster ensuring unified storage management, better resiliency, and failover capabilities. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) makes network management agile and flexible by providing a centralized interface allowing administrators to manage traffic and quickly distribute network resources where they are needed. It dramatically improves IT infrastructure efficiency by automating provisioning and configuration of the entire networking stack.

Hyperconverged infrastructure simplifies the work of system administrators by allowing them to manage and monitor the entire IT infrastructure from a “single pane of glass”. The hardware footprint is significantly reduced since all components are tightly integrated and delivered in a single building block.

Such infrastructure provides higher flexibility, allowing not only to Scale Up by adding more drives, memory, or CPUs, but also to scale-out by adding additional cluster nodes. More to say, HCI deployment and operational costs become significantly lower with less hardware to purchase and maintain.

The benefits of deploying hyperconvergence

Hyperconverged architecture simplifies management by combining all nodes into a single resource pool. This allows managing aggregated resources across individual nodes from a single pane of glass instead of having a set of separate management interfaces for different components.

HCI delivers higher flexibility and allows businesses to scale as needed by adding new modules or nodes. Unlike converged systems, which require considerable investments to scale out, hyperconverged solutions have a much smaller step size, reducing costs for infrastructure development. Hyperconverged systems are also built around the low-cost commodity x86 hardware significantly lowering upfront and operational costs.

Hyperconvergence allows organizations to deploy different applications in a shared resource pool without worrying about the I/O blender which affects VM performance. Hyperconverged infrastructure’s mix of different storage types enables systems to handle both random and sequential workloads smoothly. Since HCI is VM-centric, it allows the system to see through the I/O blender and to optimize individual VMs based on their I/O profile.

Best use cases for hyperconverged infrastructure

Taking into account all its benefits, HCI has become a perfect solution for remote office/branch office (ROBO) scenario. Hyperconverged systems are designed to be self-contained and remotely managed, making them a perfect choice for hosting virtual machines at branch offices. With centralized management capabilities of HCI, there’s no need for specialized IT staff to perform manual operations such as running backup jobs or creating logical unit numbers (LUNs) or quality-of-service policies. Another benefit here is that hyperconverged infrastructures are fast to deploy and deliver a vast amount of resources that are still tightly managed. Network, storage, and compute resources can be deployed at a new site and start working for the company from the very first day.

Hyperconvergence also is suitable for deploying virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) as it solves all the challenges around VDI. First, HCI scales out by adding additional nodes, simultaneously increasing both compute and storage resources. Provisioning new virtual desktops becomes easier as new CPU, RAM, and storage resources become automatically available to the common resource pool. Further, hyperconverged systems usually feature several data optimization technologies, such as deduplication and compression. As the result, storage density increases since virtual desktops take less space at the storage layer.

What you get?

StarWind is a one-stop virtualization shop and the only provider for full-stack datacenter infrastructure you need. StarWind products are extremely easy to use.
A typical system administrator would do the job without any special storage network (SAN/NAS) management skills.

StarWind provides all the necessary building blocks covered by ProActive Support and Analytics for true Software-Defined Datacenter with its ever-changing requirements during the lifecycle:
  • Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
  • Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI)
  • Storage appliances for primary and secondary (tier 2, 3, backup) purposes, Virtual Tape Library (VTL), etc.
  • Web Management Console to administrate StarWind infrastructure from any device anywhere in the world
StarWind products offer flexible hypervisor and OS-specific SDS choices to simplify multi-tenant configurations or during potential hypervisor switch:
  • Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Red Hat KVM, Citrix XenServer
  • Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and VMware Virtual SAN (vSAN) support
  • StarWind Virtual SAN acting as a main or complementing Software-Defined Storage stack
StarWind stands behind its products and provides 24/7 support for all commercial versions, including pre-sale and post-sale:
  • Sizing, application, and data migration services included with every appliance
  • An unprecedented Premium Support plan that makes the customer’s cluster StarWind’s complete responsibility
  • StarWind ProActive Support to resolve issues before you even notice them
StarWind hardware products are the definition of “turnkey” and “plug-and-play” solutions, which only require a minimal effort from the user to run:
  • The appliances come pre-built, pre-configured, and pre-tested by StarWind engineering team
  • No specialized staff is required on the customer’s side to install and configure the appliances, everything is pre-configured to a point where you just need to plug in the power and network cables.
  • The Сustomer’s IT team doesn't have to sweat on solution design, components purchase, building, configuration, testing, etc., thus saving time and money
StarWind offers a variety of different management methods in order to maximize user convenience:
  • StarWind Management Console as a Windows application and a web-based tool
  • Command line (CLI) with PowerShell scripts, SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) plugin for Microsoft SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager) integration, VMware vCenter plugin, Swordfish
  • All third-party management tools are eligible for BYOL policy, so there is no overpayment
StarWind maintains Bring Your Own License (BYOL) and existing hardware repurposing policies for its hardware and software products accordingly:
  • Previously purchased software licenses can be reused both for StarWind and third-party software, so the customer doesn’t pay twice
  • StarWind software runs on COTS hardware and deploys on an existing setup that meets requirements, eliminating the need for any additional purchases
  • StarWind products don’t initiate a vendor lock-in and easily integrate into different infrastructures
Who trusts us?
Where to go next?

StarWind HCA

For those who need to build a new virtualization infrastructure from scratch, our solution is StarWind HyperConverged Appliance – the all-in-one simple turn-key hyper-converged platform. It unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, hypervisor and Software-Defined Storage, and associated software into a single manageable layer.

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For those who have sufficient compute resources and need to scale storage capacity without breaking the bank, our solution is StarWind Storage Appliance – the turbocharged storage platform. It serves storage as a single namespace to multiple virtualization environments and easily handles unpredictable data growth.

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For those, who already have server hardware and need to build a datacenter infrastructure based on the existing setup, our solution is StarWind Virtual SAN – the versatile Software-Defined Storage. It eliminates the need in physical SAN or NAS by “mirroring” disks and flash between servers to create a resilient shared storage.

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Related Materials

To download the software products, please, make your choice below. An installer link and a license key will be sent to the e-mail address you’ve specified. If you consider StarWind Virtual SAN but are uncertain of the version, please check the following document Free vs. Paid. The recent build of Release Notes. A totally unrestricted NFR (Not For Resale) version of StarWind Virtual SAN is available for certain use cases. Learn more details here.

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