SIRIS, ALTO, and NAS: 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


Before deciding on a course of action, take the time to define the problem, to avoid wasting time going down the wrong path. Think about the following:

What is the cause of the downtime?

Unless the problem is obvious (such as a natural or physical disaster), determine why your machine is down. Keep these items in mind:

  • 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 can be easily fixed?
  • Did you try a Windows repair disk?
  • Keep in mind that it is quicker and easier to restore to the hardware you are already using, if possible.

File/Granular Restore vs. Full Machine Restore

In most cases, you do not need to virtualize an entire machine to recover one or more files. If you need to restore data, the quickest procedure is a file or application restore.

Conversely, do you need the OS volume but not the data? In the case of a large data store, it may be quicker to do a hybrid restore in which you spin up a VM of the OS volume and then do a file restore of the data volume. For this option, you'll need the help of Datto Technical Support.

What Datto product are you using?

The restoration options that you have depend on which Datto product you are using. This article is geared towards Datto's Intelligent Business Continuity Devices - SIRIS and ALTO. But there is also guidance for doing file restores from Datto NAS.

Getting back to business

Once you've determined your recovery objective (what you are trying to restore and from when), decide on your next steps. The following chart can help make the decision process easier.

Figure 1: Disaster recovery decision flow chart (click to enlarge)

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

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.

Full Machine Restore

If you need to restore an entire machine from a SIRIS or ALTO, we recommend that you virtualize a recovery point before doing a Bare Metal Restore (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 would 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.

Local Virtualization and Diskless Restore


Unless your Datto device is inaccessible, we highly recommend that you virtualize locally rather than from the Cloud.

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 (hybrid VM) in an emergency, contact Datto Technical Support right away, as you may need intervention from our team.

The following table points you to the appropriate virtualization procedure 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.

If you need to troubleshoot a virtual machine, refer to the Disaster Recovery category of the Datto Knowledge Base.

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

Diskless Restore

Diskless Restore is a method of virtualizing a system backed up to a SIRIS or ALTO in which you can virtualize from any target hardware capable of booting from a USB stick. The imaged USB boots through iPXE on the network card of the local machine and then virtualizes the recovery point from the Datto. You can use this method when you don't want to use up the Datto device's resources (RAM, CPUs) for the virtualization.

Rapid Rollback

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 which 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.

See Rapid Rollback: Getting Started to learn more.

USB Bare Metal Restore

With SIRIS or ALTO, you can do a Bare Metal Restore (BMR). To perform a BMR, your system must meet these requirements:

  • The target machine must have 64-bit hardware. 32-bit Windows operating systems are supported by the USB BMR process as long as the target machine is built with 64-bit hardware.
  • The target machine must be able to boot from a USB. To force a USB boot, you can try using a boot loader such as Plop.
  • The USB Bare Metal Restore environment is not intended to be a server imaging tool. It is meant to act as a tool to restore downed servers. This restore process is not a deployment tool.
  • OSes will be restored as a single partition, so if you have a software RAIDed OS, do not use the USB BMR method. Call Datto Technical Support for this type of recovery.

Note: To restore other software RAIDed partitions, restore the OS, and then configure the other partitions in Windows as a software RAID. Once completed, do a file restore on the necessary snapshot on the Datto and transfer it over. Datto recommends contacting Support to copy with Windows file permissions, as a regular file restore cannot do this directly. Support uses Robocopy to perform this task.

If you are performing a BMR from a VM, ensure that all volumes are successfully restored before you remove the active restore from the Datto appliance. For all volumes to completely restore, you must take several backups: For n number of backups, you must take n+1 backups before performing a BMR. Otherwise, you will lose data.
There are separate USB BMR environments for Datto IRIS 2 (Ubuntu 12.04) and Datto IRIS 3 (Ubuntu 16.04). You will need to follow the imaging process for the operating system installed on your Datto appliance.

For IRIS 2 appliances: Legacy USB Bare Metal Restore: Getting Started
For IRIS 3 appliances: USB Bare Metal Restore (BMR): Getting Started

Restore to a Hypervisor

From ALTO or SIRIS, you can restore as a virtual machine to Microsoft Hyper-V or VMWare.

Export Image

Use this option to export the recovery point to vSphere Hypervisor (via VMDK) or Microsoft Hyper-V (via VHD). You can export to an attached USB drive or a Network Share (CIFS/Samba or NFS).

This option is available for Windows and Linux protected machines.

For instructions to Export an Image, see the article Restore: 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.

Microsoft Exchange Data Restore

SIRIS machines come with licensing for Kroll Ontrack PowerControls for Exchange and SQL. 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.

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 Round Trip 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 (RevRT) Process; Physical Data Retrieval From Cloud for more information.

Datto Disaster Recovery Resources

Ensuring business continuity during disaster events is crucial. The following resources will help you prepare for disaster recovery triage of IT infrastructure in an impacted area.

Proactive Disaster Recovery Checklist

  • Make sure that all active production machines are protected and backing up. You can use the Partner Portal's BCDR Status view to ensure that all expected volumes are protected. Also, make sure that recent backups are successfully replicated offsite for each production machine.
  • Check that all recent screenshots for each production machine show a full boot of the host OS. Successful screenshots are your proof that a production machine will virtualize and restore in the event of a disaster.
  • Make sure that any site to which you, your technician, or your end-users evacuate has power generation, Internet, and cell phone connectivity. If possible and if necessary, take your Datto appliances to the alternate site with you.
  • Take corrective action as soon as possible. The Datto Partner Portal is your best source for Disaster Recovery resources. You can also use the Partner Portal to connect with Datto Support via chat, email, or phone.

Network Continuity

The Datto Networking Appliance (DNA) is designed to ensure 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.

IT Infrastructure Continuity

Ensuring network continuity is only the first step in a disaster recovery scenario. The continuity of your IT infrastructure is also critical. Datto's SIRIS, ALTO, and Cloud solutions provide a variety of failover and restore options when disaster strikes. The following resources will help you prepare.

The Datto Partner Portal

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

Datto Help

Datto's new Help Portal is a one-stop location for self-service resources. Featuring a powerful search engine that aggregates results from across the Datto ecosystem, the Help Portal delivers relevant results and can connect you to Technical Support if you need further assistance.

Datto Technical Support

Datto Technical Support is on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Should you need help with any Datto-related solution, here's how to get in touch.

The Datto Disaster Response Team

If you are in an impacted area, there is a good chance that the Datto Disaster Response Team is on the ground with you. Our response teams carry the entire Networking and Continuity product lines with them to assist in recovery efforts. To request their support, call the DRT hotline at 310-956-1200, or email

Was this article helpful?

17 out of 17 found this helpful

You must sign in before voting on this article.

Want to talk about it? Have a feature request?

Head on over to our Datto Community Forum or the Datto Community Online.

For more Business Management resources, see the Datto RMM Online Help and the Autotask PSA Online Help .

Still have questions? Get live help.

Datto Homepage