Datto disaster recovery guide


This article explains recovery options, steps to take to recover from a disaster or downtime situation, and Datto resources that can assist with disaster recovery.


  • Datto ALTO
  • Datto SIRIS
  • Datto NAS


Questions to ask

What is the source of the problem?

Unless the problem is obvious (such as a natural or physical disaster), you will need to determine why your machine is down. Here are some common things to check.

  • Has a piece of hardware failed?
  • Did the OS become corrupt through infection by viruses or malware?
  • Was there a problematic software update?
  • Have your recent screenshot verifications been successful? If not, when did the problems begin?
  • Is the outage due to a utility or ISP? Get an update from your provider regarding the length of the outage.

The answers to these questions determine the appropriate restore method, and which recovery point to use.

Is there an easy solution?

Try the simple solution first. For example:

  • Is the file you are looking for in the recycle bin?
  • Do you have malware or corruption that you can easily fix?
  • Did you try a Windows repair disk?
  • It is usually quicker and easier to restore to the hardware you are already using, if possible.

What Datto product are you using?

Your restoration options will depend on which Datto product you are using. This article covers Datto's BCDR (Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery) devices - SIRIS and ALTO. But there is also guidance for doing file restores from Datto NAS and our Datto Endpoint Backup for PCs product.

Which restore option makes the most sense?

Once you've determined what you are trying to restore and from when, you can decide which restore option will work best. The following chart will help you choose the best restore option.

The following sections provide more detail on each of these restore options

Restore options

Below is a list of restore options that may be available to you depending on the Datto product and the nature of the situation. Several of these options are available directly from the Restore tab of the Datto device GUI.

File restore (Volume level restore)

You can perform a local file restore from a recovery point of a protected machine or NAS share. To do so, see the article File Restore With SIRIS. If you need to restore a file from an iSCSI share, perform an iSCSI Restore.

If your Datto appliance is inaccessible or not functioning, you can perform a file restore from the Datto Cloud. See the article Cloud File Restore From Recovery Launchpad.

Direct Restore Utility (Volume level restore)

The Datto Direct Restore Utility is a Windows executable that lets you mount volume restores via iSCSI from any recovery point on the Datto appliance.

When used in conjunction with Windows Robocopy, you can:

  • retain file permissions when you transfer them from the utility back to your Windows desktop.
  • restore files touched by Windows deduplication.
  • restore files touched by Windows file encryption.


Virtualization lets you mount a restore point as a virtual machine so that business can continue until you can permanently restore the affected machines. You can virtualize a single machine or multiple machines with networking capability. Depending on your Datto product, you may have the option of mounting a cloud-based virtualization hosted in the Datto Cloud. Virtualizations are designed to be a temporary measure. You should remove the virtualization once you have fully restored the protected machine by using one of the methods outlined in the sections below.

Unless your Datto device is inaccessible, we highly recommend that you virtualize locally rather than from the Cloud. Local virtualization allows you to create a Rescue Agent that will continue to take backups of your virtualization which will simplify restoring the original protected machine with the most recent data changes intact.

Perform virtualization tests (local and offsite) regularly, to find and fix issues before an actual disaster recovery situation.

If you need to virtualize from the cloud (cloud or hybrid VM) in an emergency where a local virtualization is not an option, contact Datto Technical Support right away, as you may need our team to assist.

The following table points you to the available virtualization procedures for your SIRIS or ALTO device:

Device Type Local Cloud Hybrid
SIRIS Local VM Cloud VM Hybrid VM
vSIRIS Local VM Cloud VM Hybrid VM
ALTO     Hybrid VM

Datto NAS appliances do not have virtualization capability; you must do a file restore to recover data from these devices.

If you want to virtualize your system with VMware, see the article ESXi Virtualization Configuration for more information.

Do not resize any volumes of an active restore. Doing so can result in backup malfunctions and possible data loss.

Bare Metal Restore (Full Machine Restore)

A Bare Metal Restore (BMR) uses a recovery point to completely re-image a machine back to a working state. If you need to restore an entire machine from a SIRIS or ALTO, we recommend that you virtualize a recovery point before doing a BMR. Then, use that recovery point to do the BMR. There are three advantages to this course of action:

  • It allows you to get back to business in an instant.
  • It proves that the recovery point can virtualize.
  • You will discover any problems with the recovery point right away, as opposed to finding them in the middle of the BMR process.

It's important to test your recovery point before performing a Bare Metal Restore.

Tip: If you are running a virtual machine for business continuity, and you choose to back it up, use the backup points it creates to perform the restore of the production machine.

Bare Metal Restore is a multi-step process. See the following resources for detailed information on performing a BMR:

Rapid Rollback (Partial machine restore)

This option does not appear in the Datto appliance GUI, but it is available for all SIRIS and ALTO appliances via the Datto Utilities environment. Rapid Rollback allows you to restore only the files that changed on a production machine since the last backup. Use this option to undo widespread file changes, such as those caused by a ransomware infection, or to restore deleted data to its original state and location on a protected system. In some scenarios, Rapid Rollback can be a safer option than the full Bare Metal Restore.

See Rapid Rollback: Getting Started to learn more.

Export Image

Use this option to export the recovery point to vSphere Hypervisor, Microsoft Hyper-V, or another hypervisor host using: VMDK, VMDK-Linked, VHD, VHDX, or RAW image files. You can export the image to an attached USB drive or a Network Share (CIFS/Samba or NFS) hosted on the datto device. This option is available for Windows and Linux protected machines.

For instructions to export an Image, see the article Export Image.

ESXi Upload

This option uploads a restore point to a connected ESXi host via VMware Converter. Use this option if you want to use the ESXi host for computing power and as a datastore. Depending on the size of your datastore, this may take a while to transfer. Once transferred, there is no disk I/O burden on the SIRIS, nor need for adequate bandwidth between the SIRIS and the ESXi host. The datastore is thick provisioned on the ESXi host, which increases the speed of the virtualization. This option is available for Windows and Linux protected machines.

To connect to a VMware hypervisor from a Datto appliance, you must be using a paid version of ESXi host on vSphere 5.5, or 6.0. VMware vSphere 5 Hypervisor licensing is not supported.

For more information on this option, see Performing and troubleshooting an ESXi Upload.

Special restore scenarios

Microsoft Exchange data restore

SIRIS machines come with licensing for Kroll Ontrack PowerControls for Exchange and SQL(external link). This tool allows you to restore individual Exchange messages, individual Exchange mailboxes, or many Exchange mailboxes. To use this tool, refer to the article Exchange Mailbox Restore with Kroll Ontrack.

Microsoft SQL data restore

For the procedure to do a SQL data restore with Kroll Ontrack PowerControls for SQL, log into the Web UI of your Datto, and go to Advanced →Granular Restore. For step by step instructions, see the article Granular SQL Restore With Ontrack PowerControls.

Active Directory restore

We recommend that you follow Microsoft's instructions on how to restore AD. See the Microsoft TechNet article Restoring Active Directory from Backup Media (external link).

Restoring from the Datto Cloud

If you are running a virtual machine in the Datto Cloud and need to bring your data back onsite for a Bare Metal Restore or a File Restore, you have two options.

  • If the restore is small and you have the bandwidth to receive the restore in a reasonable amount of time, Datto Technical Support can transfer your data back to your Datto device.
  • If you have a larger restore, we offer a Reverse RoundTrip drive. As the name suggests, it is the opposite of seeding your data in the Cloud, as we will reverse-seed your device back from the Cloud. See the article Reverse RoundTrip overview for more information.

Additional Datto solutions

Datto offers a range of backup and disaster recovery products in addition to our SIRIS, ALTO, and NAS BCDR products line.

Datto Endpoint Backup for PCs

The Datto Endpoint Backup Agent installs directly on your Windows machine and lets you back up protected Windows 10, and Windows 7 systems' OS drives directly to the Datto Cloud without using a SIRIS, ALTO, or NAS appliance or any additional hardware.

Datto designed the Datto Endpoint Backup for PCs to be mobile and agile. If your protected machine loses connectivity to the Internet or shuts down in the middle of a backup, Cloud Continuity's intelligent agent software will resume the backup where it left off when the system restarts or reconnects.

File restore, virtualization, and Bare Metal Restore are all available with the Datto Endpoint Backup Agent. You can restore from any snapshot. For more information, see Getting started.

Datto Endpoint Backup with Disaster Recovery

Datto Endpoint Backup with Disaster Recovery is a unique business continuity and disaster recovery solution designed for managed service providers to protect all workloads for their organizations. It combines direct-to-cloud backup, ransomware protection, powerful disaster recovery capabilities and an easy-to-use unified management portal. For more information, see: Getting Started with Datto Endpoint Backup with Disaster Recovery

Datto Backup for Microsoft Azure

Datto Backup for Microsoft Azure is a data protection solution that provides full business continuity and disaster recovery for Azure in one integrated stack. For more information, see: Getting Started with Datto Backup for Microsoft Azure

Datto Network Appliance (DNA)

The Datto Networking Appliance (DNA) ensures network continuity of an impacted site when disaster strikes. If a client location loses connection to the Internet due to a local ISP outage or an on-site server failure, the DNA can immediately failover to a wireless 4G LTE connection, preserving your site's link to the outside world. See our Datto Networking Appliance: Getting Started guide for more information.

Visit the Datto Partner Portal for disaster preparedness information. For live updates, follow @dattosupport on Twitter.

Backupify/Datto SaaS Protection

Backupify/Datto SaaS protection delivers fast recovery of Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Calendar, Contacts, and Microsoft Teams data. Quickly restore lost data from Gmail, Calendars & Contacts, Drive, and Shared Drives. For more information see Backupify/Datto SaaS Protection: Backups

For more information on how any of these solutions can work for you, contact your Datto Sales Executive.

Getting additional help

Datto Knowledge Base

The Datto Knowledge Base is a one-stop location for self-service resources.

Datto Technical Support

Datto Technical Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Should you need help with any Datto-related solution.

The Datto Disaster Response Team

If you are in an area impacted by a natural disaster, the Datto Disaster Response Team is trained and equipped to assist you. Working both remotely and on-site, our response teams can access our entire networking and continuity product lines to assist in recovery efforts. To request their support, call the DRT hotline at 1-833-328-8637, or email drt@datto.com.