StarWind VSAN for vSphere for ROBO


StarWind VSAN for vSphere is a cost-effective software-defined storage solution oriented for ROBO environments that provides storage capabilities even with limited budget.

StarWind VSAN for vSphere solution requires only two nodes and ensures HA simplifying the overall management and limiting the costs. This is an interesting option for those situations that often struggle with budget constraints along with limited IT resources.

To get over the function limits of software-defined storage solutions imposed by the vendors (restrictions often forces customers to upgrade their licenses to unlock specific features such as scale up, HA, etc.), StarWind proposes StarWind VSAN for vSphere with the goal of providing a complete cost-effective solution to meet ROBO requirements.



StarWind VSAN for vSphere

StarWind VSAN for vSphere is a lightweight Linux-based virtual machine able to provide VSAN features with a minimal investment. This product is licensed per node with no capacity or VMs limits. It is also able to provide business continuity (HA) even with two nodes only and a witness object is not required.

No HCLs for StarWind VSAN for vSphere are necessary since it fits in every configuration that satisfies the minimum requirements. StarWind VSAN for vSphere can be installed in the following supported environments: VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM and Xen.

Minimum requirements

  • 4 vCPUs with 2 GHz reserved
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 3 NIC ports dedicated as separate vSwitches (management, synchronization, and iSCSI traffic)

In addition, relying on ZFS (Zettabyte File System) included by default in StarWind VSAN for vSphere, a fault-tolerant environment can be achieved even with the existing commodity hardware. It can also work on top of software RAID inside of VM.


A complete guide to implement a two nodes VSAN environment can be found in this article.


Implement a VSAN solution 100% free

To take benefit of the software-defined storage solution also for businesses with no budget, a free VSAN solution can be implemented using the available free versions of both StarWind VSAN and ESXi.

Of course this solution presents some limits but it works like a charm and allows small environments to have a reliable storage solution in place.

The components used in free-mode have the following restrictions:

StarWind VSAN free

  • VSAN can use a maxium of three nodes
  • Management through command line only, no GUI available
  • Windows-based VMs only can be used (paid version includes also VMs Linux-based)
  • No StarWind support

VMware ESXi free

  • Max 8 vCPU per each VM
  • Cannot be managed with vCenter
  • vStorage API is not available
  • No VMware support

The real limit of this free solution lies in the unavailability of the vStorage API that doesn't allow to perform VM backups at the host level, but only legacy backups (with the use of an agent) can be processed.

Fortunately agent-based solutions used to backup physical environments are widely available from vendors well known for their virtual environement backup solutions, such as Veeam, Nakivo, or Vembu just to mention some.

StarWind VSAN for vSphere is available to download as 30-day trial.