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StarWind Updates iSCSI SAN Management Software

Version 5.5 adds fault-tolerant features that improve recovery time, performance, synchronization speed and availability of storage attached networks.

Storage virtualization software vendor StarWind Software announced on Friday the release of version 5.5 of its StarWind iSCSI storage area network (SAN) management software.

StarWind provides storage management and SAN software for small and midsize companies as an alternative to traditional enterprise-oriented solutions. According to StarWind, "Traditional, legacy high-availability SAN products have always been expensive and complicated. This has been a roadblock for small and midsize companies who are in the process of deploying VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and other server applications that need to be configured as Windows server clusters."

StarWind's flagship iSCSI SAN software runs on x86 servers running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows and creates a fault-tolerant iSCSI SAN for use as centralized iSCSI storage or as a SAN. According to the company, StarWind is designed for use as networked storage for VMware, Hyper-V, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and other server applications configured in server clusters.

New features in version 5.5 include a "Heartbeat" feature, improved performance, and new high-availability features.

According to the company, StarWind's new Heartbeat feature "solves a single point of failure problem and prevents an isolation mode by choosing which node stays online serving the client's requests and which node is alive but must stop serving until full recovery of synchronization channel."

The new fast-synchronization option for devices with write-back cache mode shortens the recovery time for performing data synchronization after a node failure.

Additionally, StartWind has added challenge-handshake authentication protocol (CHAP) authentication support to its high-availability plugin; when a high-availability node becomes active, "it is synchronized and brought online automatically if autosync option has been set," according to the company.

Tom Henderson, principal researcher for, commented, "Using iSCSI and clustered commodity boxes is becoming more popular for companies who want storage that is reliable but still affordable. This works where their network architecture -- bandwidth -- permits them to push the storage traffic over Ethernet instead of dedicated, more expensive, SAN connectivity like Fibre Channel."

StarWind is available in several editions; pricing begins at $995.

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