October 16, 2017
Ubuntu 16.04 Upgrades Complete
We’re happy to announce that over 95% of active Datto devices have been updated to Ubuntu 16.04 from 12.04. 16.04 is a long-term support (LTS) version, which means the OS will receive security updates and patches from Canonical until April 2021. SIRIS 3 devices were the first iteration of the product to ship with this OS. 16.04 affords Datto additional levels of agility and flexibility in how we address and release OS and IRIS software security fixes and improvements to the fleet. This is a material enhancement that I am particularly excited that we’ve delivered.
Obviously, security vulnerabilities and bugs are an issue with running an unsupported operating system. As you are well aware, hackers routinely identify software and OS vulnerability to spread ransomware or other types of malware. However, there is another important consideration—hardware support. 16.04 has improved support for the Intel Skylake processor architecture, which allows for hardware upgrades that significantly increase device performance. It also allows users to convert an even wider array of existing hardware into a full-featured SIRIS device using SIRIS Imaged. Additionally, 16.04 offers improved support for 10 Gigabit Ethernet and the KVM hypervisor. Native support for KVM means that the hypervisor can inherit features and patches upstream from the Linux kernel.
Some (hardware- and software-based) data protection products in the market today require Ubuntu 12.04 compatibility. In other words, these products have inherent security vulnerabilities unless the company is a Ubuntu Advantage customer. Even if they do pay these additional fees to ensure 12.04 remains updated through 2018 (see chart below), these products are unable to take advantage of the performance that 16.04 enables. Additionally, if you need to perform a bare metal restore from a backup product that runs on 12.04 to a server running 16.04, the new server will not recognize the backup image. As hardware continues to evolve, this issue will increase exponentially.
At Datto, we view our business continuity products as security products, and as such, invest heavily in the combined field. Starting with agent encryption three years ago and ransom detection last year, we are always looking make our products more secure and better protected from threats. The jump to 16.04 should do just that and the timing for it is critical. We strive to make our hardware and software work faster and smoother for our partners and their customers. The new OS will enable our robust feature set to perform at its peak, which is exactly what you need in a recovery or disaster scenario.