StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator for Windows


StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator is a software driver designed for Windows to improve performance with the lowest latency for mission-critical applications.

Windows-certified and compatible with all the major NVMe-oF storage vendors, StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator for Windows ensures the best performance with the lowest latency with also an end-to-end enterprise support from the storage, initiator, and OS vendor.


NVMe performance in Hyper-V environments

Protocols such as iSCSI, SAS or FC are the most common connection types used to access storage area network (SAN) devices. While these protocols are perfectly fine with HDDs drives, with PCIe SSDs the latency dramatically increases becoming a performance bottleneck for these drives.

When PCIe SSDs are presented over the network using iSCSI or FC protocols, the latency grows so dramatically that applications are likely to access only half of flash performance. In addition if the iSCSI protocol is used, an additional load on the server CPU is introduced affecting applications performance (pictures from StarWind).


Because only Linux environments can leverage NVMe drive performance, this scenario heavily affects Windows Server users that could not take advantage of NVMe-oF technology.

Investing an important amount of money for a full flash storage solution without obtaining the expected performance due to Windows limitation, it can be a dramatic situation for most of businesses.


NVMe-oF Initiator for Windows solution

The NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) is a network protocol that provides a faster and more efficient connectivity between storage and servers fixing the performance issues when PCIe SSDs are presented over the network.

In addition there is a more efficient CPU usage thanks to the RDMA technology used in NVMe-oF that increases the efficiency of the data transmission speed between computers over the network making NVME-oF the standard protocol for shared NVMe storage.

With StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator, Windows Server environments can now get the desired number of I/O maximizing the performance provided by SSDs drives with no need of additional NVMe drives to install.


Instead of having a single queue as occurs using the iSCSI protocol, there are now multiple queues (up to 64K) with 64K commands each that allows to have a low latency.


Adding the NVMe-oF support to StarWind Virtual SAN, NVMe drives performance are now maximized for the Windows Server environment providing all necessary I/O to applications. Installing this driver on your servers, Hyper-V VMs can now leverage PCIe SSDs performance.


Install StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator

Download the driver from StarWind and run the installer. Accept the EULA and click Next to start the installation.


Click Next to begin the installation.


Leave default Destination Location and click Next.


Leave default and click Next.


Click Browse and select the received license key then click Next.


Click Next.


Specify the MPIO settings if required then click Next.


Click Install to proceed.


The driver is being installed in the system.


When the installation completes successfully, click Finish to exit the wizard.


Open the Device Manager and make sure that the StarWind NVMe-oF Initiator is installed on the system.


Because NVMe-oF is just a driver, it can be installed on any software. Make sure installed NICs support RDMA.

StarWind NVMe-oF Inititator for Windows can be downloaded from StarWind website.


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