Storm season is back, bringing with it the potential for significant weather events. If you have clients in areas prone to infrastructure disruption, visit the Disaster Recovery Resources guide for preparedness information. Datto recommends performing proactive disaster recovery testing to mitigate potential downtime. See our articles about the importance of disaster recovery testing and Preparing For A Cloud Virtualization Test: Policies, Procedures, And Partner Responsibilities to learn more. For live updates, follow @datto on Twitter.

Getting Started with the ShadowSnap Agent

Follow

Topic

This article describes system requirements for the ShadowSnap Agent. The ShadowSnap Agent was developed prior to the Datto Windows Agent, and can still be used in your production environment. For a technical overview of its functionality, see One Take: Talking ShadowSnap.

Do not install the ShadowSnap agent on any system currently protected by the Datto Windows Agent, even if the Datto Windows Agent is no longer installed. Installing the ShadowSnap Agent will start a new backup chain for the protected system and will not continue your existing ShadowSnap chain.

Environment

  • ShadowSnap Agent

Index

Versioning

The current version of ShadowSnap is version 4.0.0 and requires a server reboot to finalize its install. It works in conjunction with ShadowProtect MSP version 5.0.1. You can check your protected machine's installed version from the Protect tab of your Datto appliance's GUI.

The ShadowSnap Agent does not automatically update itself. When an update becomes available, you will need to download and install it manually. You can download the latest releases of the ShadowSnap Agent at the Datto Download Page.

Warnings

  • Before installing the ShadowSnap Agent, disable or remove all other backup software from the production machine. When removing, use a high level uninstaller that removes all traces of the program after deployment, including registry keys, DLLs, and stray folders. These components can cause conflicts.
  • Acronis software can prevent installation of the ShadowSnap agent. For any machine that previously had an Acronis product installed, follow the steps in the Removing Acronis article to perform a system cleanup.
  • The date and time settings on the protected machine must correspond with the correct time zone in which the Datto appliance device resides.
  • There is a known issue between the Synaptics Touchpad Driver and the VirtualBox Guest Additions software used by the ShadowSnap agent:
    • Older versions of the driver can cause a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) failure
    • Synaptics Touchpad Driver Version 15.3.25.0 - 9/15/11 is compatible.
    • Subsequent versions are able to accept the ShadowSnap installer.
  • Due to their mobile nature, Datto does not endorse or support backing up laptops. Laptops must be inside the LAN, and not on a wireless network, to perform backups in a timely manner. Attempts to back up laptops are at your own discretion. Because of this, and due to the wide range of touchpad drivers, custom drivers, and hardware configurations available for both laptops and all-in-one workstations, restoration support for these platforms is 'best-effort' only.
  • The Datto solution is capable of backing up multiple types of disk sector schemes. The process writes an image-based backup to a file which is 512 bytes per physical sector. While rare, certain software which relies on advanced formats, such as 4K, may have issues with the sector size change. Datto recommends performing regular DR tests to ensure that all required applications function as expected in our virtualized environments.
  • The ShadowSnap Agent can only back up volumes that are recognized by the Windows operating system as logical, stable volumes. It cannot back up mapped network drives, iSCSI targets that are not attached as a logical volume, or removable drives.

Compatibility and System Requirements

See System Requirements For Windows-Based Backup Solutions article for a complete list of the ShadowShap Agent's system requirements and supported operating systems. Compatibility of this backup solution with any hypervisor environment or operating system not listed is untested, and may yield unreliable results.

Review the Windows Pre-Deployment Configurations and Best Practices to ensure that your production machine is in a ready state for protection by the ShadowSnap agent.

Finally, see the StorageCraft Server Tuning Guide for important information about improving the reliability of ShadowSnap backups, including proactively resolving network latency issues or disk input / output issues. Since these steps involve manipulating the registry, take a backup of the protected machine's registry before making any changes. StorageCraft provides a downloadable tool to analyze a system for ShadowProtect compatibility, which is available here.

To ensure successful backups, a minimum of 20% free space per protected volume, and 1 GB of RAM, need to be available on the production machine. If resources fall below these thresholds, backups can begin to fail.
 

 Volume Utilization

Status

Comments

0 – 70%

Good

Utilization is good.

71 – 80%

Warning

Utilization is outside optimal limits. Monitor the volume growth and look at cleaning up unnecessary files and moving non-essential data to other storage.

81 – 100%

CRITICAL

Volume is becoming critical. Snapshots will start to fail, disk queue lengths will increase. Create space.

Networking Requirements

The following are the minimum networking requirements your environment must meet to support the ShadowSnap Agent. For a complete overview of Datto's networking requirements, see the SIRIS, ALTO And DNAS Networking & Bandwidth Requirements article.

  • Gigabit connections from the Datto to all relevant network infrastructure (Check switch ports, try to have the Datto appliance on a gigabit switch whenever possible)
  • An active internet connection is required. 
  • Firewall rules:
    • From protected machine to Datto appliance: TCP 3260 (iSCSI port), UDP 139, and TCP 25566 (live when the StorageCraft Raw Agent service is enabled and running, check with netstat).
    • From Datto appliance to internet: 22, 80, 123, 443 outbound to at minimum the addresses specified in this article.

Figure 1: ShadowSnap Agent & Shadowsnap Encrypted Agent logical data flow (click for larger image)

Installation

Before installing the ShadowSnap Agent, to ensure an issue-free setup experience, review our System Requirements For Windows-Based Backup Solutions and Windows Pre-Deployment Configurations and Best Practices guides. Then, follow the steps in the Installing the ShadowSnap Agent article to deploy the agent to your production machine.

Additional Resources


Was this article helpful?

22 out of 27 found this helpful

You must sign in before voting on this article.

Want to talk about it? Head on over to our Community Forum!