Technical support is one of those things that you hope to not need too often but when you do need it, you need something that you can count on, is there for you and understands your needs and your problems straight away. You need the ability to either talk to someone technical from the off or to explain the problem to someone on first line and get escalated fairly quickly to someone technical. Of course this will go double if not triple for the times that you have an outage.
Quite simply, when things go bad a decent technical support experience can make all the difference. Technical support is so important that whenever I test out a potential solution I also want to test out the tech support process. You can have the best hardware in the world but if you have terrible tech support then I’m not going to be interested.
The best type of technical support is when it is proactive and warns you of potential issues that exist within your environment ahead of them causing downtime and this is exactly what is being offered by StarWind with their ProActive Support offering.
The ProActive support package focuses mostly on the StarWind VSAN application and ensures that the VSAN product is kept in the best shape in can be.
This is very important when you consider just what role the VSAN product is doing – it’s a shared block storage solution that you’ll most likely have multiple servers plugged in to the network and pulling data from the VSAN so the very last thing you want is the VSAN going down or having performance issues, even in best practice environments where you have two StarWind VSAN appliances, you still want to have the best support possible because of the critical nature of the servers and the data that they are hosting.
As a StarWind user, I was very keen to see what support StarWind could offer, uptime and availability are of course, key metrics and we need the solution to be available 24/7. The nice thing about VSAN is that it’s possible to set up a two-node active mirror so that in the event of one node needing maintenance that node can be stopped with no interruption to the VSAN solution and even then, StarWind Support know that the downed node is under maintenance. This type of monitoring and support is normally only found in the very high end products that come with equally high end price tags. When you add the ProActive support with its monitoring capabilities to this type of setup you know that you’ve got a very stable setup.
Highlighting and fixing a potential problem before it becomes an issue is always going to be preferable than dealing with an issue that could turn into a showstopper and lead to a very long day as everyone tries to put the environment back together.
I also feel that with the IT industry becoming ever more security conscious it’s important to note that the monitoring data sent to StarWind is exactly that, a no point does any of your actual stored data leave your VSAN environment.
In conclusion, when you’re running storage, especially shared storage that multiple servers and services rely on to do their job day in and day out you need something as reliable as StarWinds and their ProActive support because the cost of downtime, not even in monetary cost but in reputational cost can end up being more than the cost of the support package to begin with and, if that support package is proactive then it’s even more of reason to ensure that your environment is covered.