How does the caching work on Starwind storage? I've read that I can use RAM cache, and obviously there are the disks in RAID. Can I have an SSD tier between the two? Can I have multiple tiers like a huge RAID 6 of SATA drives, a smaller RAID 10 of SAS 10Ks, a smaller SSD RAID 5 array and then the RAM on top?
StarWind can utilize both L1 cache on RAM and L2 cache on SSDs.
In regards to a specific configuration, as an example: you can have a huge RAID 6 array for your coldest data, then a moderate RAID 10 10k SAS array for your day-to-day workloads, a small RAID 5 of SSDs for I/O hungry databases and then top it off with RAM caching. That being said we do not provide automated tiering between these arrays and you would assign everything to each tier specifically. You could easily use Storage Spaces 2016 with StarWind for that functionality. Just make sure not to use SS 2012, since the storage tiering functionality on it sucked was suboptimal and lead us to the decision of not doing automated tiering in the first place.
Okay so basically there are two cache layers, L1 RAM and L2 SSD Array, and then you would have to "manually tier" anything beneath that?
Any options for sending cold storage out to cloud like S3 or B2, which is popular here?
Yes, exactly. Or if you prefer automated tiering 2016 Storage Spaces play nicely with StarWind.
We have several options to offload data to cloud:
-Our own asynchronous replication, which allows to do block level replication to the cloud.
-We can provide a cloud gateway solution as part of our appliance infrastructure, which is plugged into the SATA bus and presents the cloud as a local cold storage tier.
-We have an offering with our partners from Veeam where you can offload data to the cloud using virtual emulations of physical tapes. This allows to kill 2 birds with 1 stone: you store backups (for example) in the cloud and have ransomware protection, because cryptolocker doesn't target physical tapes (for obvious reasons).