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For many, vSAN stretched clusters are an attractive option for providing a robust availability solution for their applications.  However, they can be a double-edged sword as they introduce additional requirements which come with added complexity and increased risk.  Did you know that VMware Cloud Foundation can help simplify and de-risk the deployment of vSAN Stretched Clusters?

Organizations shouldn’t have to sacrifice the security and efficiency of their IT solutions as they grow. Yet, too often, expanding your infrastructure across separate locations creates a variety of challenges, including the need to securely share data between locations in a way that doesn’t disrupt workflows when one side experiences outages, whether planned or unexpected.

In the past, addressing these challenges required a deluge of new hardware, specific IT know-how, and continual, costly maintenance. Now, VMware vSAN Stretched Clusters are helping untangle the web of IT complexity.

Organizations can enable load sharing across separate locations, or availability zones,  more efficiently and easily – and at a lower cost – by using vSAN Stretched Clusters, and at a lower cost than traditional array-based options. Because data is mirrored across two availability zones, both locations will continue to have access to the data if one of the locations becomes unavailable – whether expected or unexpected. Called “active/active availability,” the solution provides enhanced resiliency over traditional single-location deployments and ensures consistent operations in both locations.

The true value of stretched clusters is most evident when one of the cluster locations is disrupted. If, for example, an unexpected natural disaster impacts one location, the organization is able to access the same data through the other location, which can prove to be invaluable to operations at a critical time for any organization. Stretched clusters are also useful in less severe situations. When one site experiences downtime due to maintenance, for example, operations can continue uninterrupted.

Both SMBs and larger enterprises can benefit from the lower hardware and training requirements of a solution like vSAN Stretched Clusters. As a low-cost, easy-to-implement alternative to hardware-heavy systems, stretched clusters have widespread utility and relevance across industries. They can be deployed in multiple locations or in a single location site, like a campus, across multiple instances, providing organizations with the flexibility to deploy stretched clusters at a scale that meets the business needs.

By not having to work with specific hardware providers and specialized storage arrays, operations, maintenance and lifecycle management becomes streamlined. Organizations can then utilize these reclaimed resources for other tasks, such as implementing new projects, streamlining other existing processes or investing in their workforces.

With data mirroring and load balancing technology more viable than ever, the question that organizations now face is no longer whether stretched clusters should be deployed but instead how to deploy them the right way. IT teams are already looking ahead, learning the best ways to architect workloads on top of intersite networks. Given the variety in clients’ data demands and operational realities, there’s no single method that will work best – but the beauty of stretched clusters is the flexibility they offer organizations to explore the best IT strategies for them.