Protecting a System



This article describes the Protect a System wizard.


  • Datto SIRIS
  • Datto ALTO


Before pairing a new system, follow the guidelines in the Installing the Datto Windows Agent, Installing the Datto Linux Agent, Installing the Datto Mac Agent, Installing the ShadowSnap Agent, or the Agentless Backup article, depending on your production machine's operating platform. 


The Protect a System wizard allows you to pair one or more production systems with your Datto appliance for backup and disaster recovery protection. You can access this wizard from the GUI of Datto SIRIS and ALTO business continuity devices.


Agent Configuration

1. To start the wizard, click the Protect link in the web interface of the Datto device, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Protect

2. If this is not the first agent on the device, you will be taken to the Backup Agents page. Click the Add a New Agent button to continue (shown in Figure 2). Otherwise, if this is the first agent on the device, you will be take directly to the screen shown in Figure 3.

If your device has reached its agent limit, you will not see the Add a New Agent button.

Figure 2: Add a New Agent

3. You will see the Protect a System window shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Protect a System (click to enlarge)

3. If you would like to pair an agentless system, see the Pairing a Target System for Agentless Backups article. If you are adding an agent-based system, click Agent Based System, and then click Next.

Figure 4: Select System(s) (click to enlarge)

4. The Select System(s) screen will appear. You will be prompted for the following information:

A. Hostname or IP Address: Enter the address of the machine that you would like to protect. You can protect multiple systems by entering each IP address or hostname, separated by commas. Alternatively, you can use the Import multiple systems to back up option to import a list of IP addresses or hostnames from a file. The file must be in Comma-separated values (CSV) format.

B. Do you want to create this agent based on a template or another agent? This option allows you to use the backup settings from another system that is already paired with your Datto appliance, or the configuration from a saved cloud template.

If you wish to do so, select Yes, please. Then, from the Select a template or agent dropdown, choose the protected system or cloud template to copy agent settings from.

If you do not wish to copy settings, click No, thanks. I'll enter new settings here. You will be prompted to enter settings in the Agent Creation stage of the process.

C. Do you want to encrypt your backups? This option allows you to encrypt the backups for the new agent. If you choose the Yes option, you will be prompted to create a decryption passphrase for the agent. See How to Encrypt Backups for important information about encrypting backups on a Datto appliance. 

If you are protecting multiple systems, the settings you choose in this stage and during the Agent Creation stage will be applied to all agents you have selected.

5. When you finish configuring settings, click Next. The Datto appliance will pair itself with the protected systems you selected.

Proceed to the next section of this article to continue.

Agent Creation

Figure 5: Set Local Backups & Retention (click to enlarge)

1. When the Local Backup and Retention Policy screen appears, use the dropdowns in the Set the Interval and Schedule for Local Backups fields to configure backup schedules for all machines protected by your Datto appliance.

2. If you would like your protected machines to be backed up on weekends, check the box next to the Saturday and Sunday backups should be performed field, and select a weekend backup schedule for the agents.

3. Set the Retention for Local Backups option. See Understanding the Retention Process for an overview of how retention works on a Datto appliance. When you finish configuring settings, click Next to continue.

Figure 6: Set Cloud Backups & Retention (click to enlarge)

4. Configure the Cloud Backup and Retention Policy options, as shown in Figure 6. Then, click Next.

Figure 7: Set Verification Schedule (click to enlarge)

5. Configure the screenshot verification schedule, and click Next.

NOTE: The default screenshot schedule setting is All Offsite Points; do not use this option if your Datto appliance does not replicate offsite.

Screenshot verification is not available for Mac agents.

6. Configure your email notification preferences for the protected system(s), as shown in Figure 8. See Configuring Alert, Warning, And Log Digest Emails On A Datto Appliance for more information about this feature.

Figure 8: Set Email Notifications (click to enlarge)

7. If you did not configure the agent from a template in Step 4, you will have the option to save the agent's configuration as a cloud template for later use, as shown in Figure 9. Select Yes or No.

  • If you select Yes, you will be prompted to give the template a name. Enter a name that is descriptive and easy to remember.

Then, click Next to proceeed.

Figure 9: Save Agent Configuration (click to enlarge)

8. Your Datto appliance will display a summary of the configurations you requested. Click Finish to commit the changes.

Figure 10: Review & Confirm (click to enlarge)

9. You will be redirected to the pairing status page shown in Figure 11. As the wizard pairs each system, it will report the outcome of the pairing attempt in the Status field. Once pairing completes, you can select Return to Agent Overview to be redirected to the Protect tab of your Datto appliance's GUI, where you will see entries for the newly-added agents, or you can select Pair Additional Systems to protect more production machines with your Datto appliance.

Figure 11: Pairing status (click to enlarge)

Agent Creation Errors

"Systems marked with ⚠️ must be rebooted before backups can occur"

This error message indicates that pairing with the protected system was successful, but the production machine must be rebooted to finalize its agent software install before backups can begin.

"There were errors validating your system(s). Please correct the errors and try again," or "Unable to protect this system. Please verify that the Datto agent is installed and is enabled."

You may encounter this error state if the Datto appliance cannot reach the protected system by its hostname or IP address. This error can also occur if you have not installed the Datto Windows Agent, Datto Linux Agent, Datto Mac Agent, or ShadowSnap Agent on the production machine and rebooted it prior to attempting to pair the protected system.

If you have confirmed that the protected system's IP address or hostname is resolvable on the LAN.

"Agent Add Fail."

If you see an "Agent Add Fail" error, as shown in Figure 11, it may be transient. You can force a retry by clicking the Finish button again. If you continue to experience pairing errors, make sure that the configuration of the target machine meets the Datto Networking Requirements, and attempt to pair the agent again.

Figure 11: Agent Add Fail

If you have tried all of the above steps, and are still unable to pair the agent, contact Datto Technical Support.

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