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X Series Arcserve backup appliances have built-in security

Arcserve X Series appliances have Sophos Intercept X Advanced built in and can scale to three petabytes. All Arcserve backup appliances now ship with Sophos software.

Pre-installed cybersecurity software is the new normal on Arcserve backup appliances.

Arcserve recently launched the X Series purpose-built backup appliances, which combine backup, disaster recovery and cybersecurity. The new devices use Arcserve UDP software for backup and recovery, can failover to multiple public and private clouds including Arcserve Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace, and come pre-installed with Sophos Intercept X Advanced cybersecurity software.

X Series Arcserve backup appliances come in five models, differing by capacity. The largest unit is the X3000DR, which has an effective capacity of 3.1 PB. All models have 56 CPU cores, 1 TB of RAM (expandable to 2 TB) and redundant power supply units for compute and storage nodes. All models use multiple 16-TB SAS HDDs and NVMe SSDs for storage and compute, which Arcserve claims allow them to achieve 20:1 deduplication ratios.

Arcserve X Series appliances are different from most standard integrated backup appliances due to their combination of backup and security. Sophos software checks for state and behavior changes in the backups to spot unusual and potentially unauthorized access, preventing cybercriminals from manipulating backup settings using stolen credentials. A small number of data protection vendors have introduced security features into their backup products to defend against these types of incursions, including Asigra and Acronis.

"Ransomware is a problem with multiple legs and requires multiple disciplines to tackle," said Ivan Pittaluga, Arcserve's Chief Technology Officer. "We no longer sell integrated backup appliances without the security components."

Arcserve first implemented its Secured by Sophos integration in its 9000 Series appliances. All 9000 Series Arcserve backup appliances shipped after October 2019 include Sophos Intercept X Advanced pre-installed. According to Pittaluga, customers had been demanding appliances that are more scalable than the 9000 Series, which cap out at 288 TBs of effective capacity per unit. The X Series has higher capacity and faster performance than the 9000 Series, but both serve the same function as all-in-one systems for recovering from an outage. The 9000 Series appliances will continue to be sold.

render of Arcserve X Series appliances
X Series Arcserve backup appliances are much larger than the 9000 Series and designed to help handle data growth.

Pittaluga said Arcserve is evaluating whether there's market demand for capacities between what the 9000 Series and X Series cover. He is also looking into the demand for high-performance backup appliances such as Pure Storage's FlashRecover.

Appliances continue to be in demand despite organizations adopting cloud more. According to Phil Goodwin, research director at IDC, the data replication and protection software market fell 1.7% in the first half of 2020, while integrated appliances grew 3.1%, compared to the same time period in 2019. Cloud-based backup and data protection has seen an increase due to COVID-19, but Goodwin said on-premises backup is still the most common infrastructure. There are many reasons for this, such as compliance, full control of the data and recovery speed.

Goodwin said Arcserve X Series' high capacity allows for rapid, large-scale recovery. He pointed out that recovering petabytes of data from the cloud will never be as fast as doing it from on-premises appliances. On top of that, businesses with multiple petabytes or even hundreds of petabytes of data aren't uncommon anymore, so there is a market need for backup appliances with the X Series' capacity level.

The built-in security features in the Arcserve X Series appliances are becoming more common, according to Goodwin. It is not yet as widespread as deduplication, compression and replication, which almost all backup software provide. However, even if not all vendors go as far as Arcserve to integrate security software into their backup products, companies such as IBM and Dell EMC offer the features separately and are aware of this avenue of attack.

"Arcserve is one of a handful of companies at the forefront of the convergence of data protection and security, and there is certainly a trend toward this sort of convergence," Goodwin said.

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