My Home Lab Converged Infrastructure Challenge

As I had some challenges with my Home Lab due to some hardware failure, I had to revert from using a dedicated storage box (White box + Windows + bunch of disk + StarWind Virtual SAN) as I no longer have the luxury of having that extra machine to use. I have ended up with two ESXi hosts (Specs: White box with i5 + 16GB RAM + 1x SSD + 2x Sata Drivers + 2 NICs). I have though to investigate if I could still come up with a way that would provide me with a reliable storage without having to acquire any extra hardware.

While I have considered to buy another dedicated box to use as storage, converged infrastructure seemed as a great viable alternative. I decided to investigate, which option I had within the popular converged infrastructure offering that I knew of would fit my needs best. I can see quite few small businesses that might fall in the same boat where they have been limited to two lower specs servers to run their small environment. Here are the different options I have considered, and why I could not use them.

Simplivity: I wanted to check them out as they have a very interesting offering especially when it comes to deduplication which could save me a good amount of disk space.… Read More

Time to upgrade to StarWind Virtual SAN V8

While I was upgrading my Home lab to the latest vCloud Suite with all the new nice goodies that VMware has just released like vCAC 6.1, vSphere 5.5U2, vCenter 5.5U2, ESXi 5.5U2, vCenter Orchestrator 5.5U2 and so on. I was really excited about these new arrivals and rushing to do the upgrade, but I had some resource constrain in my home lab and it was about time to do some cleanup of all those machines that I have spawn when testing vCAC and vCO. VMware vCOPs was such a great tool to point out idle VMs and oversized VMs in the environment which has helped me extend the life of my home lab.

While  cleaning up and deleting unneeded VMs, I have came up across an interesting VM that at first glance seemed pretty idle on CPU & Mem respective while doing some good amount of I/O. The name of the VM did not remind me of anything, in fact the name was VT001(I know not the greatest name, but it seems to be the first VM in a lab environment). My first thought was it is a VM I have spawned by an old instance of vCAC and forgot to delete it, but I decided to look into the VM and see what is running inside of it & I am definitely  glad I did.… Read More

What’s New in StarWind SAN V8

StarWind V8 RCStarWind SAN V8 RC has just been released with a lot of new features. Below is a summary of what to look for in this release:

Log-structured File System:

• VAAI UNMAP command implemented.
• Internal structures changed to ensure compatibility with upcoming updates.
• Improvements made for operations with VSS providers.


Flash cache:

• Optimizations and fixes for cache operation added.
• WB mode for L2 cache returned.


• Added VSS support for devices with synchronous replication.

NAS Configurator:

• NAS Configurator utility helps to export storage as SMB or NFS network share by means of StarWind High Availability and MS Cluster

VSA Builder:

• VSA Builder utility deploys StarWind VSA virtual machine on VMWare ESXi server.

V2V Converter:

• V2V Converter utility added to StarWind Management console. It is a V2V conversion tool for virtual machines.You can use it to convert VMDK to VHD files and VHD to VMDK as well as to IMG file, which is a native StarWind format.

Management console:
• Scale-out functionality extended: updates for device views and device tree.
• Fix for file naming: now wizard generates header file name and image file name for L2 cache storage according with device header file name.… Read More

Free StarWind iSCSI SAN Training/Webinar

StarWind has asked me if I can share this info about their upcoming free Free StarWind iSCSI SAN Training/Webinar titled “Your Way to Complete Storage Redundancy!”. I thought as many of you will be looking at creating your own virtual storage for home lab or even at work you might want to look at their Webinar as it seems to be covering how to do it step-by-step. StarWind Virtual storage is actually one of the two virtual storage types I have at my home lab & it work quite well that make me believe SMB can turn an old server into a powerful virtual storage as long it has the sufficient disk capacity and speed to deliver up to the customer need. Below are the full details of this Webinar which it seems to me will be more of a free training than just a webinar as per the session explanation. I mean if it cover a step-by-step on how to do it, I would call it training!! I thought I will share  it as free training is always good to share.

StarWind iSCSI SAN
Your Way to Complete Storage Redundancy!

Live webinar on Thursday, December 15
4:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST

Join Anatoly Vilchinsky as he demonstrates simple step-by-step instructions for building your own SAN or centralized, networked storage by using standard off-the-shelf x86 hardware or even a repurposed server running Windows.… Read More