Last week, I was in Indianapolis delivering one of our ClusterHelp.com classes. When we did the Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster lab, I configured a Quorum and two other disks for each student by using StarWind Software 5.0. We then set up the clusters for each student after configuring the iSCSI initiator in Windows Server 2008. The performance was fantastic.
After class, I went back to my hotel room and continued to play with v 5.0. I am more than just a little impressed.
From the StarWind Software website, I pulled the following bullets regarding the features of StarWind 5.0, and added my comments in bold type:
· Synchronous Mirroring with Automatic Failover: mirrors data in real time across a storage cluster, ensuring that storage is continuously available in the event of failure. RK: I tested this feature and it was really slick how the iSCSI initiator of the Windows Server 2008 server was able to connect to the other target without having to reconfigure the iSCSI initiators.
· Failback with Fast Synchronization: re-synchronizes data back to the original storage node and restores it to a previous live state before failure. RK: Not only will it failover to the other target, but it will re-sync the original target that previously failed through a back fill process to bring it up to date once it is back online.
· Remote Replication across a WAN: replicates data to a remote location. allowing multi-site disaster recovery in the event of a disaster at the primary site. RK: It doesn’t matter whether the replication target is in the LAN or if it is accessible through a WAN connection. It just works.
· CDP & Snapshots: captures instant, point-in-time volume images, allowing a user to rollback and recover an entire volume or individual files and folders. RK: What a great feature. To get this same functionality in a SAN will cost you a considerble amount of money, but it is readily available in 5.0.
· Server clustering: supports Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, VMware ESX and vSphere 4.0 and other applications. RK: I am going to write a white paper and put together a web cast in the very near future covering Windows Server 2008 Failover Clutering. I am really excited about this functionality and support.
· Redesigned User Interface: allows IT professionals to easily manage all storage from a central management console built on the same tree structure used in Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere. RK: this is a huge improvement from a management of SANs perspective. You can early connect to and manage disks on multiple SANs from the same interface saving the need to connect to multiple StarWind SAN targets by connecting to multiple servers using remote desktop. The interface is also incredibly intuitive. I had absolutely no problem figuring out how to create disks and make them available to multiple different servers running initiators.
I hear from cluster administrators all the time, and I always hear the complaint that SANs are expensive, and software to support replication is outrageous. I suppose that cost is relative, but StarWind 5.0 is really priced well and has some fantastic features. I highly suggest a look.
Yes, I am excited about this new release, which is why I have blogged about it a few times now. I am really into great pricing with great performance, what can I say?