In this always-on global economy, businesses large and small must remain constantly online to maximize customer opportunity and satisfaction. It sounds simple, right?  The reality is even the largest companies with near-limitless resources are not immune to service outages which can have significant impact on a business’ viability. You may have seen recently a large online retailer had a blip on one of their largest selling days. And this is not just the first and only instance it has happened. Service and application outages like this can have major implications – revenue loss to the business, loss in staff productivity, and in some cases, financial impact severe enough to shut-down the business. These potential negative outcomes are very sobering indeed.

A critical part of any business is data and specifically continuous access to data. Data is typically stored persistently in large storage arrays or on local server storage. As the demand for continuous availability has grown, new technology innovations have been developed to address this challenge. Enter stretched storage cluster solutions, introduced almost 2 decades ago, which dramatically increase the availability of data and enable business continuity for both planned or unplanned events that could otherwise be disastrous to the business. Those of us who have dealt with these legacy solutions know how complex and costly it can be to implement and maintain stretched storage solutions –  typically costing $100,000s of dollars to cover the cost of the extra software licensing, SAN infrastructure, power, cooling, ongoing maintenance, and a third-site to run additional quorum appliances or VMs that need to be managed separately. Customers like ESET evaluated several of these types of legacy solutions from various vendors and found that almost all of them took weeks or months to plan, were complex and expensive, and required both in-house staff and expensive professional services from the vendor.

In stark contrast to the set of legacy solutions, Pure Storage introduced Purity ActiveCluster last year. Purity ActiveCluster provides shared, multi-site, active/active stretched storage arrays that seamlessly enable you to provide your applications with the highest levels of availability and ease of use. All of this delivered as part of Purity and without additional licensing or hardware costs.

For those who have virtualized and consolidated workloads on VMware, we’re excited to share that ActiveCluster is part of the VMware PVSP program and is certified for use with both VMware Metro Storage Cluster and VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) to deliver automated end-to-end business continuity solutions. Customers demanding synchronous replication for zero RPO and zero RTO automatic (vMSC) failover can leverage ActiveCluster to provide the stretched, shared, synchronous storage component of the solution.

Figure 1. vMSC with Active Cluster

Because Pure Storage can be provisioned and monitored directly from vCenter, ActiveCluster integrates seamlessly with VMware vCenter via a simple and free plug-in for Pure Storage FlashArray. With ActiveCluster and VMware HA, vMSC based solutions only require one vCenter installation to provide automatic restart of HA protected virtual machines. ActiveCluster provides stretched/shared storage which enables ESX clustered hosts to also be stretched across multiple sites and for VMware HA to protect virtual machines across multiple sites. In short, ActiveCluster and vMSC helps customers to achieve further cost savings while adding automatic multi-site recovery.

Figure 2. ActiveCluster and VMware Site Recovery Manager 6.1

Customers looking for zero RPO and orchestrated failover with near zero RTO using VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM 6.1+) can leverage ActiveCluster to enable a SRM-driven non-disruptive vMotion failover between sites and different vCenter instances. Check out this video of VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager and Pure Storage ActiveCluster performing a coordinated cross-vCenter vMotion of protected VMs. (embed video here)

If you require longer distance protection for disaster recovery, you can take advantage of Pure’s space-efficient asynchronous replication that provides low RPO and RTO with rapid recovery at a DR site, and leverage SRM to failover your VMs to the secondary site.


Figure 3. Asynchronous replication

We’ve also announced a FlashStack™ validated reference architecture with ActiveCluster to provide rapid deployment of a private cloud infrastructure based on VMware vSphere built on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), Pure Storage ActiveCluster, and the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). This Cisco Validated Design can be downloaded here.

If building a worry-free, simple to manage, and cost-effective business continuity solution is important to you, come meet with us at VMworld 2018 Las Vegas at Booth #1120 to learn more about ActiveCluster in addition to an amazing line-up of joint solutions we have built with VMware. See you soon!