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Arkeia adds backup appliances under WD Arkeia banner

Western Digital launches WD Arkeia integrated backup appliances for SMBs, the disk drive vendor's first backup product since buying Arkeia software.

Western Digital this week rolled out four integrated backup appliances for SMBs using software from its January Arkeia Software acquisition, along with its 3 TB and 4 TB hard drives.

Arkeia is continuing to sell its Network Backup products as standalone software, virtual appliances and integrated hardware appliances, according to Bill Evans, former Arkeia CEO and head of Western Digital's small- and medium-sized (SMB) business unit.

Arkeia products have been branded WD Arkeia. The four new rackmount appliances replace the two highest capacity models Arkeia sold before the acquisition. The new appliances have higher capacities, more memory, faster processors and two include solid-state drives (SSDs).

The appliances are the first new WD Arkeia products launched since the acquisition. They bundle WD Arkeia 10.1 software, which supports "cloud seeding" by shipping a customer's initial backup to a cloud provider on a portable drive instead of moving it over the Internet.

All WD Arkeia appliances are 2U boxes, and the new ones range from 24 TB to 48 TB of raw capacity and 8 TB to 40 TB of usable capacity before deduplication. The new models include the RA4300, RA4300T, RA5300 and RA6300.

The RA4300 has six 3.5-inch hard-drive bays and is available with 24 TB of raw storage, 32 GB of memory, three PCIe slots and two Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports. The RA4300T is the same configuration with an integrated LTO-5 tape drive.

The RA5300 is a 12-bay system that uses 3 TB drives for 36 TB of raw capacity, 64 GB of memory and 360 GB of SSDs. The RA6300 also has 12 bays but supports 4 TB drives for 48 TB of raw capacity. It has 96 GB of memory and 480 GB of SSDs. The RA5300 and RA6300 have four GbE ports, two optional 10-GbE ports and optional 8 Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity to tape. The RA6300 uses two Intel Xeon processors, and the other appliances all have single Xeon processors.

The new models replace the R320 and R620. WD Arkeia is keeping its four entry-level models -- the R120, R120T, R220 and R220T.

Arkeia has used SSDs on its highest end appliance since 2011 to accelerate updates to the backup server catalog. "It makes backups and restores a lot faster because there is no disk latency to slow down the process," Evans said.

Arkeia used two other disk-drive manufacturers in its appliances before the acquisition, but now uses Western Digital drives.

Evans said Arkeia added cloud seeding for customers who want to use the cloud instead of tape for off-site backups. If the first backup to the cloud is large, it can take days to complete, so customers can ship the drive to their cloud provider. Customers can also have the drive shipped back for restores if they have an on-site disaster.

"The alternative to waiting several weeks is not acceptable to businesses," Evans said. "This is why backup to the cloud has not been successful among businesses yet."

With 10.1, deduplication is a standard feature instead of being licensed separately. Pricing for the appliances begins at $9,900 for 8 TB of usable capacity.

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