SIRIS, ALTO, and NAS: Protect a System



This article describes the Protect a System wizard.


  • Datto SIRIS
  • Datto ALTO


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 the wizard from your Datto device's GUI.

The workflows described in this article do not apply to the protection of external NAS shares. To back up a NAS share, see our Backing up an External Share with NAS Guard article.


Before pairing a new system, you will need to configure it for communication with the Datto appliance.


Getting Started

1. To start the wizard, click the Protect tab in the Datto device UI.

mceclip0.pngFigure 1: The Protect tab (click to enlarge)

2. If this is not the first agent on the device, you will see 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 see the screen shown in Figure 3.

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

mceclip1.pngFigure 2: Add a New Agent (click to enlarge)

Select Backup Type

1. You will see the Protect a System window. If you are adding an agent-based system, click Agent Based System, and then click Next.

fig3.pngFigure 3: Protect a System (click to enlarge)

To pair an agentless system, see the Pairing a Target System for Agentless Backups article. For Universal VM Backups, follow the Universal VM Backup article.

Select System(s)

mceclip3.pngFigure 4: Select System(s) (click to enlarge)

1. The Select System(s) screen will appear, and the wizard will prompt you 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 the 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 already paired with your Datto appliance. Alternatively, you can use the configuration from a saved cloud template. For more information about templates, see our Cloud Agent Templates article.

NOTE: Templates are unavailable for SIRIS Private replicated snapshots.

If you wish to use pre-existing settings, select Yes, please. Then, from the Select a template or agent dropdown, choose the protected system or cloud template from which to copy agent settings.

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 apply to all agents you have selected.

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

3. Proceed to the next section of this article to continue.

Set Local Backups & Retention

mceclip4.pngFigure 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 systems to back 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.

Set Offsite Replication

Next, you'll have the opportunity to configure the frequency with which your Datto appliance replicates backups to the Datto Cloud. The following steps depend on the type of service plan that you purchased for your appliance. Select a service plan type to continue:

Devices on Cloud Replication Plans

mceclip5.pngFigure 6: Set Cloud Backups & Retention (click to enlarge)

Configure the Cloud Backup and Retention Policy options, as shown in Figure 6. Then, click Next and proceed to the Set Verification Schedule section of this article.

Devices on SIRIS Private Plans

mceclip6.pngFigure 7: Set Cloud Backups & Retention (click to enlarge)

1. Configure the Replication Location options, shown in Figure 7, to your desired settings.

  • Selecting No Replication will disable snapshot replication for the new system(s).
  • Selecting Target SIRIS will allow you to specify the authorized Datto appliance on your LAN or VLAN to which you'd like your SIRIS to replicate backup snapshots of the new system(s). You must have at least one authorized target SIRIS in your environment for the Select Authorized Target SIRIS dropdown to populate.

2. Set the Interval and Schedule for Replication and configure your Retention for Replication preferences. Then, click Next and proceed to the Set Verification Schedule section of this article.

Set Verification Schedule

mceclip7.pngFigure 8: Set Verification Schedule (click to enlarge)

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 to a Datto Cloud server or a target SIRIS.

Screenshot verification is not available for Universal VM Backup or Mac agents.

Set Email Notifications

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

mceclip8.pngFigure 9: Set Email Notifications (click to enlarge)

Save as Template

If you did not configure the agent from a template in the Select System(s) section of this article, you will have the option to save the agent's configuration as a cloud template for later use. 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 proceed.

mceclip9.pngFigure 10: Save Agent Configuration (click to enlarge)

Review & Confirm

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

mceclip10.pngFigure 11: Review & Confirm screen for a device on a Cloud Replication plan (click to enlarge)

2. You will be redirected to the pairing status page shown in Figure 12. 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 return 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.

pairingprocess__1_.gifFigure 12: Pairing process (click to enlarge)

Next steps

Configure Offsite Synchronization (Optional)

If you need to regulate your Datto device's bandwidth when syncing with the cloud, consult the Off-Site Synchronization Configuration guide to learn how to calculate daily synchronization transfer amounts and set bandwidth throttles.

Join the Datto Appliance to a Domain (Optional)

Datto appliances work best when they are not domain-joined. However, if your environment requires it, you can join the device to your domain from the Network Settings page of the appliance GUI.


During the agent pairing process, you may see one or more of the following alerts. Follow the steps provided to resolve any notifications you may receive.

"[Agent Type] cannot pair to this device. A previous backup chain from another agent type exists for this system."

Your Datto appliance sees an existing backup chain for the protected host, but it cannot pair with it because a different agent type created it. See these articles for more information.

"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 before attempting to pair the protected system.

"Agent Add Fail." 

If you see an "Agent Add Fail" error, the issue 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.

mceclip11.pngFigure 13: Agent Add Fail (click to enlarge)

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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