StarWind seminar on Virtual SAN for Hyper-V


Max Craft, Solution Engineer, StarWind Software, Inc.      LIVE WEBINAR on Thursday, May 15
10:00 AM EDT
Max Craft
, Solution Engineer, StarWind Software, Inc.

Uptime is crucial for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Traditionally, it takes large investments to ensure uninterrupted workplace productivity.
Join StarWind’s FREE webinar to find out how our Virtual SAN for Hyper-V solves the uptime issue without breaking the bank:

  • Minimalistic Hardware Footprint. Only two hypervisor nodes are needed: no SAN, no NAS, no SAS JBOD, no voting third node, and no Ethernet switches. As there’s less hardware to buy and maintain, both CapEx and OpEx are reduced, resulting in improved ROI.
  • Simplicity. Neither advanced SAN management skills nor special training is required. StarWind’s Virtual SAN is a native Windows application that’s easy to setup and manage for any Hyper-V administrator.
  • Uncompromised Performance. A less expensive solution that brings even better performance.


Register for Webinar   Click here to register for this webinar


This is a sponsored blogposting.

Veeam Backup & Replication v8 will have NetApp snapshot support

Veeam anounced one of the new features of the to be released Backup & Replication v8.

Version 8 will support NetApp storage snapshots.

With this feature Veeam extends its support for storage based snapshots. Veeam already supports HP storage snapshots using  Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots. It  lets you restore VMware VM data directly from native and HP StoreServ (3PAR), HP StoreVirtual (LeftHand) and HP StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) snapshots.

Combining NetApp snapshots with Veeam B&R is combining the best of two worlds.

NetApp ONTAP which is the operating system of the storage offers several ways to protect data at the storage layer:

  • Snapshot: creates a point in time copy of a ONTAP volume for data protection purposes. Creating a storage based snapshot does not have an impact on performance of the virtual machines. Creation of snapshots can be full scheduled and is a first line of defense for dataprotection. It allows a very low Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
  • SnapMirror: replicates the snapshot to a different NetApp storage device.
  • SnapVault: archives a snapshot

Advantage of combining Veeam B&R and NetApp snapshots

Veeam Backup & Replication will be able to directly acces the ONTAP Snapshot data and make a backup of the data included in the snapshot. Backup of virtual machines running on NetApp is a two step process now.

The advantage of an ONTAP storage snapshot is that is does not have a negative effect on the performance of virtual machines. When VMware based snapshots are used instead, there can be an impact on performance when snapshots are deleted when the backup has finished. Read about the impact on performance when using VMware snapshots here.

The reason to use Veeam B&R for backup of the NetApp snapshot is that you want your backup data to be stored on a different physical storage device. Snapshots are not backups! If your NetApp is lost (technical errors, fire) your snapshots (if not mirrored using SnapMirror) are lost as well.


Restoring data from NetApp snapshots is a bit complicated and time consuming process. When using Veeam B&R however restore is very simple and fast. Veeam is able to restore virtual machines, individual guest files but also Exchange and SharePoint items directly from ONTAP Snapshot, SnapMirror or SnapVault as a source. It is also possible to run a virtual machine from a snapshot using the Veeam Instant VM Recovery technology. There is no need for copying data from backup source to production volume. This enables a very low Recovery Time Objective.

You can learn more here or read Luca Dell’Oca’s post

There is a webinar on April 17th

Veeam Backup & Replication v8 is expected to be available in second half of 2014.

StarWind V8 Release Candidate Is Available Now!

StarWind Software released the Release Candidate of  StarWind V8. The functionality and architecture of this software is similar to VMware VSAN. It can be installed on both Hyper-V and ESXi and converts local storage to a distributed shared storage.

General availability is expected in Q2 2014


Download the RC here.

It offers three products that share a common engine:

  • StarWind SAN – a unique system that allows you to create a high-performance and fault-tolerant shared storage on commodity hardware, saving $$$.
  • StarWind VSAN – a virtual SAN sharing a server with Hyper-V on parent partition. Convenient and as easy to manage as any Windows software.
  • StarWind VSA – a virtual storage appliance that merges with VMware and runs in a VM, making your system more efficient and convenient to use.

It is scalable to an unlimited number of nodes, optimized for flash as the primary storage, with its own LSFS and upgraded asynchronous replication.

StarWind SAN, the flagship product, runs on commodity servers’ hardware and converts them into high-performance, fault-tolerant SAN at a fraction of the cost and complexity associated with traditional SAN-based storage infrastructures. With its integrated VSA builder and scale-out architecture, StarWind SAN became the first solution running on Windows that creates clusters of multiple hypervisor hosts without separate physical shared storage (unlike SAS (JBOD), FC or iSCSI). With this release, StarWind supports the latest versions of both VMware and Microsoft platforms.

StarWind virtual SAN (VSAN) is a leading software defined storage for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0. The functionality and architecture of this software is similar to VMware VSAN. It runs inside parent partitions of hypervisor hosts and turns their directly attached storage (DAS) into fault-tolerant SAN. StarWind VSA follows the VMware VSA concept also, and operates inside a VM on the ESXi host, creating a fault-tolerant shared storage of the hypervisor resources.

StarWind V8 RC presents high-performance caching that allows affordable MLC SSDs to be used as level-2 flash cache and fast RAM to be used as level-1 cache. StarWind utilizes solid-state disks / flash cards as the primary storage with a dedicated flash-aware Log-Structured File System (LSFS).

Another major advantage over multiple virtual storage solutions is built-in asynchronous WAN-replication, which ensures effective disaster recovery. StarWind’s support of WAN-acceleration technologies also enables data replication over slow and cheap connections.

StarWind V8 RC includes a set of powerful experimental features including: LSFS, which eliminates the I/O blender effect; synchronous replication for clustered LSFS devices; and in-memory operation, which creates a HA cluster with one node running on RAM-disk.

StarWind Runner-Up in Storage, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing (SVC) Awards 2013

 StarWind Software Inc., a leading provider of software-defined storage solutions for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2, today announced that the company has been named the first runner-up in two categories: Virtualization Management Product of the Year and Storage Virtualization Product of the Year at the SVC Awards 2013, the world’s most important IT awards. Recognized for its storage virtualization solution, StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS, the company demonstrates strong competitive advantages, proven technology, uniqueness and effectiveness in the virtualization and storage fields.

Since 2003, StarWind has pioneered the iSCSI SAN software industry and is the solution of choice for over 30,000 customers worldwide in more than 100 countries and from small and midsize companies to governments and Fortune 1000 companies.

For more information on StarWind Software Inc., visit:

StarWind Software offers a 30% discount if you buy  any StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS edition orStarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V edition by the end of the year and get BIG discounts off list price!*

30% Discount Countdown to 2014!
Upgrade now!   Contact us and take advantage of our special offer now!

* The promo discount cannot be summarized with any other special offers and promotions. The promotional discounts do not apply to renewals, upgrades or Support Plans. Your discount will be that corresponding to the week you send us a Purchase Order. Countries that do NOT qualify for the promotion are: Russian Federation, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

VMware Virtual SAN Design & Sizing Guide available

Cormac Hogan of VMware wrote a 30-pages document titled “Virtual SAN Design & Sizing Guide”.

The document is designed to assist customers with sizing decisions when deploying VSAN clusters. It should be used in conjunction with other official VMware collateral related to VSAN, such as the VSAN documentation from
VMware Technical Marketing and VMware Technical Publications.

The image below shows what the document covers:


It can be downloaded by VMware Partners from Partner Central here. (login needed)

The document is also publicly available in the VMware VSAN Public beta. Sign up here. Registration is open for everyone interested in this new technology.
The design and sizing guide is part of the VSAN POC Kit.

This Proof of Concept (POC) Kit contains 4 documents to help you to successfully evaluate Virtual SAN (VSAN) and gain an understanding of the considerations which must be taken into account with a VSAN deployment. It also covers the main concepts of VSAN, notably the radically simple installation steps, the scale out aspects and policy driven storage.

  1. POC Guide Pre-checklist for VSAN
  2. POC Guide for VSAN
  3. POC Guide Post-checklist for VSAN
  4. VSAN Design & Sizing Guide

These documents are currently in beta. Please provide feedback in the forums in any errors are observed or if any enhancements to the documentation set is required

Download the kit including the Virtual SAN Design & Sizing Guide here.

DCIG 2013 Private Cloud Storage Array Buyer’s Guide Now Available

DCIG has released its 2013 Private Cloud Storage Array Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks over 150 features on 25 different cloud storage arrays from 15 different providers. This Buyer’s Guide provides the critical information that all size organization need when selecting a private cloud storage array that provides the availability, ease-of-use, flexibility and scalability features to meet the demands of their most data-intensive applications.

The DCIG 2013 Private Cloud Storage Array Buyer’s Guide is immediately available. It may be downloaded for no charge with registration by following this link.

The DCIG 2013 Private Cloud Storage Arra Buyer’s Guide accomplishes the following objectives:

  • Provides an objective, third-party evaluation of currently available private cloud storage arrays
  • Evaluates, scores and ranks private cloud storage arrays from an end-user’s perspective
  • Includes recommendations on how to best utilize this Buyer’s Guide
  • Provides data sheets on 25 private cloud storage arrays from fifteen (15) different providers so organizations may do a quick comparison of features while having sufficient detail at their fingertips to make an informed decision
  • Provides insight into each private cloud storage array’s support for various applications, the robustness of its hardware, its management and replication capabilities, its integration with VMware vSphere and what levels of support it offers

The DCIG 2013 Private Cloud Storage Array Buyer’s Guide Top 10 solutions include (in alphabetical order):

  • Coraid EtherDrive
  • Dell Compellent Storage Center SAN + FS8600 NAS
  • EMC Isilon NL-Series
  • EMC Isilon S-Series
  • EMC Isilon X-Series
  • IceWEB 6500 Series
  • NetApp FAS3250
  • NetApp FAS3220
  • Nimbus Data E-Class Flash Memory


Prevent knockout monster VM’s by this patch and heap configuration

It is likely you never have heard of VMFS heap size used by VMware vSphere. This probably means you have not run into issues yet. However when using VMware vSphere AND virtual disks located on VMFS volumes AND relative large sized virtual disks you can run into some serious issues!

This posting will give the reader some insight in how to avoid those issues by adjusting settings and apply a recent published VMware patch.

An increasing number of organizations are using hosts with serious amounts of  physical memory and compute power to be able to run many VMs per host. VM’s having large amounts of memory  and virtual CPU’s are called monster VM’s.


However those monsters can easily be made unconscious when those VMs are running a couple of large VMDK’s. For instance you  might run into issues when running multiple virtual machines like Exchange Servers, file servers  or database servers with large VMDK’s on the same ESX host.

Read more of this post

DCIG 2013 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide

A lot of solutions are available to accelerate VDI. It is a growing and crowded market which welcomes new solutions almost every week. In just week time in February 2013 solutions were released of GreenBytes, PernixData and Atlantis Computing.  I wrote about those solution in this blogposting titled Overview of purpose-built VDI solutions to accelerate storage performance . Very recommended if you want a high level overview of all sorts of solutions.
One of the solutions is using pure muscles:  a purpose built storage array full of Flash or SSD. It is fast but also very expensive. Some of the  arrays costs the same as one or two BMW’s.
There is not much info on the internet which gives an objective overview of all major solutions. I believe the Buyer’s Guide of DCIG is a great resource if you are interested in purchasing an all Flash Array. It lists a lot of details of solutions.
DCIG is a company which analyzes software, hardware and services companies within the enterprise data storage and electronically stored information (ESI) industries.
They did a research on 34 different storage arrays having flash memory from ten (10) different storage providers.
The DCIG 2013 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide accomplishes the following objectives for end users:
  • Provides an objective, third party evaluation of Flash Memory Storage Arrays that evaluates and scores their features from an end user’s viewpoint.
  • Scores and ranks the features on each Flash Memory Storage Array based upon the criteria that matter most to end users, and presents the results in easy to understand tables so they can quickly know which Flash Memory Storage Arrays are the most appropriate for their needs.
  • Provides a standardized data sheet for each of the 34 Flash Memory Storage Arrays from 10 different storage providers so end users can do quick comparisons of the features that are supported and not supported on each Flash Memory Storage Array.
  • Provides insights into what VMware vSphere APIs the Flash Memory Storage Arrays offer to optimize their VMware environments.
  • Gives any organization a solid foundation for getting competitive bids from different providers of Flash Memory Storage Arrays that are “apples-to-apples” comparisons.
The DCIG 2013 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide is immediately available. It may be downloaded for no charge with registration.

New arrival: PernixData hypervisor of server-side Flash

Today a new company named PernixData (pernix means agile) came out of stealth mode. This company has a future product which potentially can bring a revolution in the virtualized datacenter.

The software PernixData delivers is able to virtualize flash and SSD storage located in servers and make this available as  a distributed, replicated write-through and write-back cache. This enables high performance IO reads and writes as hot storage is located close to the workload. Other data like userfiles, profiles, lower tier application data is still stored on traditional shared storage using regular  lower cost harddisks.

Write-back cache is a performance enhancement as writes are confirmed to the application as soon as they are received in the cache. However when the caching fails the data is lost. PernixData solves this by mirroring the data in cache to at least one other server.

PernixData first product is named PernixData Flash Virtualization Platform (FVP) . The software will not be delivered as a virtual appliance or hardware appliance but embedded in the hypervisor (VMware vSphere)

I very much recommend to read the blogs listed below for more information!

Howard Marks has a great posting explaining the technology in a blog titled Server-Side Caching Gets Smarter Via Startup PernixData

Duncan Epping has an informative blog as well. Read Introducing startup PernixData – Out of stealth!

Frank Denneman has written a blog with a lot of detail: PernixData Flash Virtualization Platform will revolutionize virtual infrastructure ecosystem design

Benjamin Troch writes about his testing of the beta here.


HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore error when creating new datastore

When a new datastore is created in VMware vSphere an error message is shown in the vSphere Client showing

“Call “HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore” for object “ha-datastoresystem” on ESXi “hostname” failed.
Operation failed, diagnostics report:  Unable to create Filesystem, please see VMkernel log for more details: Function not implemented”


This error can be caused by several situations:

 if storage is accessed over iSCSI: MTU size is not set correctly one on of the components

Make sure all networking components are set to an MTU of the same size: the virtual switch properties, the vmkernel ports used for the iSCSI traffic, physical switch, storage device . If have seen this error while trying to create a datastore on a Iomega device iSCSI LUN because the virtual switch MTU was set at 1500.

There has been a situation in which the Dell switch MTU setting needed to be higher than the MTU size on the surrounding infrastructure. So: vSwitch, VMKernel and EqualLogic mtu: 9000. 6224’s: 9126

read more in this blogpost.

If the storage has been used before for other purposes.

Another reason could be the volume has been formated using a filesystem which is not compatible with the VMware vSphere version. If possible delete the LUN and recreate.

check this VMware knowledgebase article.
Or check out this VMware KB article Unable to add a deleted local datastore back to the ESXi 5.0 host

Dell EqualLogic adds support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V storage integration

At November 29 Dell released the  EqualLogic Host Integration Tools (HIT) for Microsoft v4.5 Early Production Access. Main new feature is support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

Auto-Snapshot Manager (ASM) is used to create storage volume snapshots which are application consistent. Before a storage snapshot is made, ASM makes sure a VSS snapshot is made of the VMs running on the volume which needs to be snapshot.

HIT/ME now supports Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. With Windows Server 2012, Smart Copies of the cluster shared volume (CSV) are now application consistent, not just file system consistent. You no longer need to install ASM/ME in the Hyper-V VMs; you only need to install it on the cluster nodes.

Download can be done at are restricted to Equallogic customers having a login and password.

HIT/Microsoft v4.5 Early Production Access includes the following features and updates:

Support for Dell EqualLogic PS Series Firmware v6.0 features:

  • Synchronous Replication
  • Snapshot space borrowing
  • Volume undelete (recovery bin)
  • Single Sign-On
  • Support for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Windows 8, including a new EqualLogic Storage Management Provider (SMP) for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Windows 8
  • Support for rethinning thin-provisioned volumes from Microsoft  Windows. Rethinning can reduce the amount of storage in use by a volume on the Dell EqualLogic PS group.
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 SP1 and 2007 SP3 protection
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and 2008 protection
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010 and 2007 protection
  • Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 and 2008 protection
  • New PowerShell Tools, including support for Single-Sign-On to PS Series Groups using Active Directory domain credentials

Enhancements to the ASM/ME GUI:

  • Remote management of Dell EqualLogic MPIO settings in ASM/ME
  • More granular control of included / excluded SAN interfaces for Dell EqualLogic MPIO in ASM/ME
  • Cross-host summary views in ASM/ME
  • Configure access to multiple PS Series Groups in ASM/ME
  • Backward and Forward Navigation of previously viewed ASM/ME settings and pages
  • Configuration Warning Wizard


StarWind Software introduces 3 new releases including free versions of storage virtualization software

StarWind Software has released three new releases of software in November,

Firstly they announced at November 25 the release of the VMware Backup Plug-in, a powerful backup solution for small and medium-sized businesses with growing data storage, backup, and recovery needs.
VMware Backup Plug-in is an agentless backup solution for easy and fast VM backup and recovery, developed specifically for VMware-based environments. It fully supports VMware vSphere 5.1, making StarWind one of the first vendors to support this new hypervisor platform.
Read more about this here.

StarWind also announced  the release of the new StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V V6 and improved Hyper-V Backup Plug-in.
The new version of StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V is enhanced with the three-node synchronous mirroring of HA storage cluster. The system provides real-time replication and simultaneously updates the three distributed copies of data. The new HA architecture ensures 99.9999% uptime, provides at least 50% higher performance compared to the 2-node configuration, intensifies redundancy, makes the storage resilient against failures, and greatly simplifies the maintenance. Henceforth, you can add high availability to StarWind virtual devices. It is possible to add high availability to the CDP-device, or export the entire physical disk as the HA device. Read more here.

Also released is the StarWind iSCSI SAN Free edition and StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V Free edition with the entire functionality of High Availability (HA).

The free editions of storage virtualization software offer an unlimited number of concurrent iSCSI connections and unlimited storage capacity for single-node device. The StarWind free editions with an HA device permit installation on two servers, but are limited in storage capacity to 128 GB. Hence, StarWind allows IT admins to simplify their life by enabling them to save the time and money of their respective organizations, as well as any customer to evaluate this advanced technology in testing labs, for personal use or education.

StarWind free editions offers a unique set of features, including Active-Active High Availability, Data Deduplication, CDP and Snapshots, Thin provisioning and high speed caching, etc. Such features as Asynchronous WAN-replication, SPTI and SAN/NAS cluster file share sharing are offered as paid upgrade options.

“Currently, StarWind is the only vendor offering iSCSI SAN software with the full set of advanced features at no cost,” said Artem Berman, Chief Executive Officer of StarWind Software. “We are making history in the storage industry, since every customer can now deploy StarWind free HA solutions designed for major hypervisor platforms without any hidden costs in order to evaluate the technology and view its benefits in operation.”

If you need a SAN with more storage capacity and extended functionality, you can easily upgrade the free editions to paid versions while preserving the settings and avoiding downtime simply by activating a purchased license key.

read more here


Data ONTAP Edge VSA is Available to Download

The giveaway of Data ONTAP Edge, the NetApp Virtual Storage Appliance, was a huge hit at VMworld. Due to the tremendous feedback NetApp has decided to make the evaluation edition available to the public.

This is a great opportunity for those who are unfamiliar with the capabilities of Data ONTAP to experience it first hand. By downloading and registering for licenses you will receive access to Data ONTAP Edge, OnCommand Systems Manager and the Virtual Storage Console for VMware vCenter Server.

With these tools one receives a NetApp array as a VM, which functions identically as a physical FAS array. This is the beauty of the NetApp storage platform; software defines value and hardware is a commodity and merely a means to scale. Data ONTAP is the premiere software-defined storage platform!

Edge supports the VMware vStorage APIs like VAAI and Site Recovery Manager (SRM). In addition, those who register will be notified by email of the release of quick start videos, designed to help users get the VSA installed and up and running with vSphere!

Download and info here.

more info here

StarWind iSCSI SAN 6.0 beta

Starwind Software has released a beta version of their iSCSI SAN SAN software for vSphere. One of the new features introduced is backup for VMware vSphere. That’s quite exciting. Starwind has already provides backup of VMs for Hyper-V, via Hyper-V backup plugin.

Starwind iSCSI SAN software transforms a Windows server into iSCSI storage, which can be used as a shared storage for virtual infrastructure running VMware vSphere. Shared storage enables you to use VMware High Availability and vMotion and minimize the downtime of your VMs in case of hardware failure. The VMs which were running on the host which experienced hardware failure are restarted on another host.

Starwind iSCSI SAN – New Features and Enhancements

High Availability:

– Management functions for HA device nodes. (up to three-nodes High Availability architecture). You can add new node to HA device, remove or switch existing nodes without recreating the whole HA device. – High availbility device can use other types of StarWind devices for storing data. It can be deduplicated device, thin-provisioned IBV device, or DiskBridge device.

Deduplicated disk: – Asynchronous replication of deduplicated storage. Any iSCSI target can be used as a destination storage for replication.

StarWind iSCSI SAN 6.0 beta is ready for download from the following link:

Troubleshooting Storage Performance in vSphere – Storage Queues

Good blogposting on storage queues by VMware.

Storage Queues what are they and do I need to change them?

We have all had to wait in a line or two in our life, whether it is the dreaded TSA checkpoint line at the airport or the equally dreaded DMV registration line, waiting in line is just a fact of life. This is true in the storage world too; storage I/O’s have plenty of lines that they have to wait in. In this article, we examine the various queues in the virtualized storage stack and discuss the when, how, and why of modifying them.

Queues are necessary for several reasons but primary they are used to allow for sharing of a resource and to allow for concurrency. By using queues, vSphere is able to allow for multiple virtual machines to share a single resource. Queues also allow for applications to have multiple active (“in-flight”) I/O requests on a LUN at the same time, which provides concurrency and improves performance. But there is a tradeoff; if you allow too much concurrency the underlying resource might get saturated. To prevent one virtual machine or one host from saturating the underlying resource, the queues have set sizes/limits that restrict the amount of I/O requests that can be sent at one time.

Continue at source:

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