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Focus on innovation instead of monitoring your IT environment: StarWind

thesiliconreview-anton-kolomyeytsev-ceo-cto-and-chief-architect-starwind-2017StarWind Software is a pioneer of storage virtualization and provides a unique blend of simplicity, performance and affordability, yet with the ultimate in flexibility. Being a leader in low-entry hyper-converged appliances, StarWind also offers software-only or storage appliance variants of its product, therefore being able to adapt to any organizations data center be that entry-level or large enterprise. With all products being designed around a core fundamental of simplicity, performance, and full-features at low cost, StarWind is recognized by analysts and customers worldwide as a true leader in the virtualization marketplace.

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.

Software products to maximize the properties of the IT infrastructure

StarWind Virtual SAN

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. StarWind Virtual SAN delivers performance and reliability using commercial off-the-shelf hardware, removing the need for costly proprietary components. It 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.

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.

Virtual Tape Library

StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) eliminates the need for the legacy tape-based backup infrastructure by converting the inexpensive, high capacity SATA drives into virtual tapes. StarWind VTL effectively solves all the problems around physical tapes while delivering significant benefits. VTL significantly accelerates the backup process since it runs on SATA HDDs which are faster compared to traditional physical tapes. Thus, backups take less time and easily fit into the backup window, so there’s no overlapping of the backup process with production workloads. As a result, the performance of the production system remains permanently high and there is no risk that the backup will be corrupted or lost. 

The backup process becomes more simple and automated since there is no more need to physically move the tapes. You can easily perform backups, create new virtual tapes, and move them between your nodes – all from a single interface. Therefore, less staff is needed to maintain the backup infrastructure, resulting in lower management costs and higher flexibility. Additionally, StarWind VTL allows implementing Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T) backup strategy where 1 copy of the data is created on each stage of the backup process, resulting in additional data security. StarWind VTL seamlessly integrates into the existing backup infrastructure with no need to rebuild it from scratch by allowing it to easily switch from D2T to D2D2T backup strategy. It makes the backup management process extra simple and automated since everything is done by the software and you don’t have to mess around with physical tapes.

StarWind Cloud VTL for AWS and Veeam

Virtual Tape Library is a well-proven and reliable technology for significantly accelerating the backup process and increasing the tape backup speed. It enhances the 3-2-1 backup rule with several significant benefits and provides seamless data protection against ransomware attacks. StarWind Cloud VTL for AWS and Veeam ultimately adds the cloud storage tier to the backup infrastructure ensuring the compliance with 3-2-1 backup rule.

StarWind VTL creates an additional backup copy to meet the regulatory requirements for having tape backups and significantly decreasing backup costs. It increases the backup process speed to avoid the overlapping of backup jobs with production time and ensures the stable performance of the system. StarWind Cloud VTL provides cloud deployment scenario, replacing expensive local storage with cost-efficient cloud storage like Amazon S3 and Glacier. StarWind Cloud VTL seamlessly integrates into existing backup infrastructure as a “fire and forget solution”. After the VTL device settings and retention policies are configured, the backups will be stored and automatically de-staged to cloud storage saving time and efforts of the IT staff.

Delivering enterprise-class performance with its hardware products

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance

StarWind HCA is a turnkey hyperconverged platform that unifies commodity servers, disks and flash, with your hypervisor of choice (VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V) 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.

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. With less hardware to purchase and maintain, StarWind HCA is easier to manage while capital and operational cost are lowered. 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. Besides, StarWind HCA all-flash models are within SMB and ROBO budgets thanks to hardware discount StarWind shares with the customers.

StarWind Storage Appliance

StarWind SA helps organizations with fixed compute platforms meet storage performance and capacity growth requirements by providing them with high-performance and simply scalable storage fully covered by 24/7 support. StarWind Storage Appliance easily handles high-performance or unpredictable data growth. It serves storage as a single namespace to different environments via multiple uplink protocols: iSCSI, SMB3, NFS, including RDMA-capable iSER and SMB Direct.

Additionally, the appliance features an optional built-in gateway to public cloud to implement an effective Disaster Recovery plan by moving extra copies of backup data into the safety of a public cloud, like AWS or Azure. StarWind SA scales up by adding individual disks and flash modules or JBODs, while adding ready controller nodes provides simple scale-out growth as required. Unlike storage vendors that ensure application vendors handle the workload, StarWind implements an open, software-modular design at storage controller level, taking care of data locality and offloading I/O from network and application servers. StarWind Storage Appliance is fully customizable and expandable and accepts third-party application modules as Windows services, containers or VMs on top of storage.

StarWind VTL Appliance

StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) is a specialized high density storage array for infrequently accessed data engineered to deliver high performance for fast backups and restores as well as advance the Disaster Recovery (DR) scenario by replicating and tiering data to public cloud to fulfill the 3-2-1 backup rule.

VTL appliance seamlessly integrates into any existing backup environment by presenting itself as a standard tape library supported by all industry-standard backup solutions. It reduces backup times thanks to high performance disk back-end and ability to run multiple backup jobs to several tapes in parallel, while also deduplicating the data globally. This allows organizations to improve their Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), as quicker backups mean they can be done more frequently with less impact on the production environment. It also improves Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) by being able to restore significant amounts of company data and VMs almost instantly compared to physical tapes. StarWind VTL fulfills the 3-2-1 backup rule by maintaining and managing both onsite and offsite data copies by intelligently replicating and tiering backup data offsite per user-set policies, and offloading it to physical tape drives or libraries connected directly to the appliance.

Enterprise Storage Appliance

thesiliconreview-starwind-cover-page-2017For enterprise customers who need to store large amounts of data, our solution is StarWind Fractal SAN. It effectively solves storage scaling problems and delivers linear scalability beyond petabytes by utilizing a Ceph cluster running on hundreds of independent ARM-based storage bricks. StarWind Fractal SAN ensures that the storage infrastructure maintains the ultimate level of performance by bringing in the power of industry-leading StarWind Virtual SAN and its server-side caching, log structuring, and deduplication technologies.

Our Enterprise Storage Appliance ensures the always-on business operation by providing unprecedented resiliency to multiple simultaneous component failures by means of using erasure coding, automatic data rebalancing, and other innovative storage technologies. With our extremely “green” storage platform based on low-power and cost-efficient ARM hardware, enterprises can greatly reduce their expenses on maintaining and scaling their storage infrastructure. StarWind Fractal SAN cost is significantly lower than the price of typical competitors’ solutions. We achieve this by bringing in totally different hardware platform for our back-end – something that nobody else does. Instead of utilizing commodity servers, we introduce unique ARM-based storage architecture making our product extremely cost-efficient.

Keeping services available to resolve threats

StarWind ProActive Support

Timely fixing of issues that may arise in an IT infrastructure is of critical importance for business continuity and delivery of services. However, on-site IT teams can’t always notice emerging threats in their environment straight away. Identifying the problem, determining the right solution, and applying it may take considerable time, which is the most valuable resource of system administrators.

With StarWind ProActive Support, we completely revolutionize the way support works. We do this by completely eliminating customer effort involved in identifying and troubleshooting an issue or even submitting a support case. With a combination of monitoring and proprietary analytics, we resolve an issue before it becomes major, allowing you to focus on innovation instead of constantly monitoring your environment. We believe that time is your most valuable asset, and we make it a priority to free up as much of it as possible.

Leasing & Installment Plan

In order for the appliance price to dwell only on Operational Expense, StarWind offers its hardware solutions for leasing. Such a payment method does not imply any Capital Expense, though it also does not give the customer the ultimate product ownership. Thus, when the leasing term ends, the customer is given a choice to purchase the product or return it to StarWind.

It is a standard payment method that breaks solution price into smaller parts and reduces Capital Expense. The installments are set on a schedule basis for the maximum convenience, so it is easy for the customer to perform financial planning. It is a perfect approach for small businesses, which may have limited resources, as well as for bigger companies, which prefer to link installments to the revenue movements and not worry about high license cost. When the whole price is paid, the customer becomes the sole owner of the product.

Meet the visionary

Anton Kolomyeytsev, CEO, CTO and Chief Architect: Anton Kolomyeytsev is the chief executive officer and chief architect at StarWind. Having started as a Windows kernel engineer and chief kernel architect, he created the iSCSI storage and SAN software products in 2003. Anton is responsible for driving the vision and business strategy for StarWind Software in addition to owning all elements of technology. Previously, he held software development and engineering positions at Paragon Software, a storage software company and has worked with other software outsourcing companies across Europe and in the US. Anton has a degree in Engineering and Computer Science.

“StarWind is cost efficient to the extreme, up to being completely free, and serves a wide range of customers, including the most budget-conscious ones.”

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