Datto in the house

A little while ago I wrote about Datto and their cloud-enabled backup system. I said at the time that I was interested in trying out the solution in my lab. I was fortunate enough to be sent a unit to trial and have been playing around with the product.

I was sent a Siris appliance, which is both a backup target and a virtualization host. The unit I was sent has 1TB of RAID1 hard disk capacity for backups, plus a small SSD to boot the appliance. The appliance connects to your 1GB Ethernet network and runs headless, it gets an IP address from DHCP and is managed through a web service. I failed to plug the network cable in correctly, so had a second trip to the Co-Lo where my lab lives. The local console on the appliance was useful to check that it had an IP after my cable fault was fixed. Once the appliance is operational on site, it connects to the Datto cloud services and can be managed through its web interface.

The first thing to do is setup some backups. This is done using the ShadowSnap agent, installed on each machine to be backed up. There is no integration into existing virtualization so every backup is done using an in-guest agent. This does allow physical machines to be backed up using exactly the same technique as VMs. One of the telling features of the agent installer is the inclusion of the VirtualBox guest additions. These additions are needed when the virtual restore feature is used. With the agent installed I was able to direct the Datto appliance to backup machines according to a policy.

Backup Policy

Datto runs local backups continuously, as often as every 5 minutes or as seldom as every hour. Then these continuous incremental backups are rolled up to Daily, Weekly, and Monthly intervals. In addition, you can choose allowed and disallowed backup hours through the day and week. Each change can be applied to just one machine, or applied to every machine. Local backups can then be replicated to the Datto cloud at defined intervals. Since this is a continuous backup there is no sense in having specific times to backup particular machines. There is also no application specific backup, so direct item-level restore is not available.

I setup six machines in my lab to backup every hour, 6 am until 8 pm every day. They also replicate to the Datto cloud once per day. The local hourly backups roll up to daily after 5 days, weekly after two weeks and retain local weekly backups for two months.  After running for a month, my six VMs (380GB data protected) are using around half the 1TB capacity.

That is enough for now, I will post again about the restore processes. As I’m sure you realise, backups are a necessary evil, restore is what really counts.

© 2016, Alastair. All rights reserved.

About Alastair

I am a professional geek, working in IT Infrastructure. Mostly I help to communicate and educate around the use of current technology and the direction of future technologies.

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