Virtualization Technology News and Information
StarWind Virtual SAN Free vs Paid Offer for 2017

Article Written by Dmytro Khomenko, Pre-Sales Engineer at StarWind Inc.

To start off, I would like to discuss the benefits that StarWind Virtual SAN Free provides over Microsoft S2D and VMware vSAN. Don't get me wrong, all the solutions are great! But it's the cost that bites. In today's article, we will go in depth with the comparison of the features offered by StarWind at no cost.

Let's begin by comparing the previous version of StarWind Free with their latest release. The new product has very little limits compared to the previous StarWind Free offer making it a perfect fit for a Hyper-V 2016 dual node failover cluster.

Since StarWind has been at it for a long time and received outstanding community support, I believe that there is no need to introduce StarWind to the majority of our readers. In fact, all their progress along with all the additional information regarding the do's and don'ts can be found directly on their educational resource library

As you may already know StarWind has more than one product. On the other hand, they are quite famous for a "shared nothing" storage architecture that can tolerate up to 4 disk failures in the cluster eliminating any possible downtime in case distributed RAID61 is used. Moreover, the new free version gives users an option for unlimited expansion, scale up and scale out. You can scale up adding disks, flash or JBODs while adding ready controller nodes allows quick and reliable scale-out.

Their latest release of StarWind Virtual SAN v8 provides a lot of enhancements and optimizations, including the support for the NUMA architecture, VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs), optimization of the Log-Structured File System (LSFS), caching, detailed statistics and improved synchronization network performance.

With all that said, let us return to the new offer that has just been released to the public - a free version that comes with a 30 days trial of the StarWind Management Console.

StarWind VSAN FREE Description:

StarWind Virtual SAN Free has no restrictions at all, it can be used for production, includes all of the commercial version scenarios, has a perpetual license and should not be considered as a functionally limited version of StarWind VSAN.

So, let's recap the possibilities of the Free version of StarWind Virtual SAN:

  • No Capacity Restrictions- no usable storage capacity limitation
  • No Scalability Restrictions- no limitations as to a number of nodes (previously limited to 2-nodes only)
  • No Time Limit on License- a lifetime license with a variety of management options using CLI (PowerShell) once the 30 days are up.
  • Production useis allowed - which means that it is completely capable of being used in production, but if anything goes wrong, youwill only be able to ask for support through the community forums.
  • PowerShell Scripts- StarWind Virtual SAN Free is shipped with a set of ready to use PowerShell scripts allowing users to quickly deploy a StarWind VSAN based infrastructure.
  • StarWind Free is supported by active, skilled and friendly StarWind Community members along with StarWind Engineers on the forum.
  • StarWind HA-The shared Logical Unit is basically "mirrored" between the hosts, maintaining data integrity and continuous operation even if one or more nodes fail. Every active host acts as a storage controller and every Logical Unit has duplicated or triplicated data back-end.
  • Virtual Tape Library is not included.

StarWind VSAN Free Implementation Possibilities:

  • Shared storage for Microsoft Hyper-V VMs and SQL Server DBs.
  • Shared storage for Microsoft Failover Clusters, Exchange, Oracle and SAP DBs.
  • Shared storage for KVM, Citrix XenServer and Xen Project VMs.
  • HA file server.

StarWind VSAN Commercial Version benefits

  • Management Console- is the traditional StarWind Management console, that provides management functionality for the creation of storage devices, storage mirrors, and virtual tape libraries. There are also other additional management possibilities and integration options such asStarWind WEB-based console, VMware vCenter plugin, VVOLs, SMI-S agent, PowerShell StarWindX library and SwordFish API.
  • Virtual Tape Library (VTL)
  • Starwind Support- full production support which helps you select the accurate hardware, set things up and get you started without any hassles. StarWind engineers will take care of the software in the unlikely event when something happens to it and normal operation is disrupted.

Here is a video from the presentation:

A Quote from StarWind about the Free VSAN edition:

Unlike the previous free version, new VSAN Free delivers unlimited node count, features, and capacity served. It can now be used in any deployment scenario, be it Hyper-Converged, "Compute and Storage Separated", or even a combination of both. Thanks to multiprotocol support, featuring iSCSI, SMB3, and NFS, including RDMA-capable iSER, NVMf, and SMB Direct, StarWind VSAN easily integrates into any infrastructure, be it virtualized or not. In addition, support for VVOLs, SCVMM, and ready-to-use PowerShell scripts helps users to speed up and simplify automated deployment, management, and monitoring of their Virtual SAN infrastructure.

Check Detailed description from StarWind Free vs Paid here.


It's a great offer, take that into account, it really provides a beneficial choice. The only thing you must decide is how familiar you are with PowerShell command line. An additional benefit would be the possibility of trying the StarWind Management Console for 30 days, absolutely for free. Once the time is up, it's up to you whether to purchase the license.


About the Author

Dmytro Khomenko is a Pre-Sales Engineer at StarWind Inc. He has 5 years of IT experience with a focus on customer facing roles. Has a broad knowledge of storage, virtualization, backup, and infrastructure implementation.

Published Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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