Supporting your Product: Glossary of terms



This article provides a glossary of commonly used terms in Datto Backup, Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) documentation.


  • Datto BCDR


​API (Application Programming Interface)

Specification used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.

AFP (Apple Filing Protocol)

A filing service for Mac OS X and original Mac OS.


Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is a technical standard defined by Intel that specifies the operation of Serial ATA (SATA) host bus adapters in a non-implementation-specific manner.


A program that performs some information gathering or processing task in the background. Typically, an agent is given a very small and well-defined task.


A Business Continuity device that allows for Hybrid Virtualization.This allows small businesses to have a Business Continuity device without a hardware cost up front if needed.

Block Level

In computing (specifically data transmission and data storage), a block is a sequence of bytes or bits, having a nominal length (a block size).

BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery)

Process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity. While business continuity involves planning for keeping all aspects of a business functioning in the midst of disruptive events, disaster recovery focuses on the IT or technology systems that support business functions.

BMR (Bare Metal Restore)

A bare metal restore is the complete restoration of a machine, from operating system to applications to individual files, onto similar or dissimilar hardware.


Bootloader is code that is executed before any Operating System starts to run. The concept of bootloaders is universal to virtually all operating systems, including operating systems on your PC, laptop, smartphones, and other such devices. Bootloaders package the instructions to boot the operating system kernel, and most of them also have their own debugging or modification environment.

Business Continuity

Preparations and activity which provide solutions to ensure mission critical systems continue to function during times of a disastrous event.

Business Continuity Planning

Planning which identifies the organization's exposure to internal and external threats and synthesizes hard and soft assets to provide effective prevention and recovery for the organization, whilst maintaining competitive advantage and value system integrity.

CA (Certificate Authority)

An entity entrusted to issue networking security certificates asserting that the recipient individual, machine, or organization requesting the certificate fulfills the conditions of an established policy.

Crash Consistent State

When taking a backup, all files that were open will still exist, but are not guaranteed to be free of incomplete I/O operations or data corruption. While the crash-consistent state does not fully deal with all the issues associated with defining a stable backup set, it has several advantages over the backup set that conventional backup operations would have to use.

For example, a shadow copy of a volume, even in crash-consistent state, still contains all files. A backup set created without a shadow copy would not contain all files open exclusively at the time of the backup. Files held open at the time of the backup operation are excluded from the backup.

Data Integrity

The trustworthiness of information over its entire life cycle.

Datto Partner Portal

This is the central administrative portal Datto provides to Partners to monitor all their Datto devices, place support tickets, download Marketing and Technical documentation, and place orders for new Datto hardware and service. It is accessible at


Data de-duplication is a specialized data compression technique for eliminating coarse-grained redundant data. The technique is used to improve storage utilization and can also be applied to network data transfers to reduce the number of bytes that must be sent across a link.


A network configuration protocol for hosts on Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Computers that are connected to IP networks must be configured before they can communicate with other hosts.

Differential Merge (diff-merge)

In computing, diff is a file comparison utility that outputs the differences between two files. It is typically used to show the changes between one version of a file and a former version of the same file.

Datto Business Continuity Devices use diff merges to update the entire disk image and only backup actual data change that occurred, while traversing all of the production machine's data volumes.

DNS (Domain Name System)

Hierarchically distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities.

DR (Disaster Recovery)

Process, policies and procedures related to preparing for recovery or continuation of technology infrastructure critical to an organization after a natural or human-induced disaster. Disaster recovery is a subset of business continuity. While business continuity involves planning for keeping all aspects of a business functioning in the midst of disruptive events, disaster recovery focuses on the IT or technology systems that support business functions.

EDB (Exchange Database) File 

The EDB file acts as a pointer to the user’s MS Outlook profile. EDB files can be known as repository of all the emails sent/received and information related to these emails. It is very important to maintain these files and any corruption or damage may lead to user mailbox inaccessibility. However, these files may get corrupt due to virus attacks, accidental or dirty shutdown techniques etc and lead to several JET, file, and Server errors.

ESX (Elastic Sky X.)

VMware ESX is an enterprise-level computer virtualization product offered by VMware, Inc. ESX is a component of VMware's larger offering, VMware Infrastructure, and adds management and reliability services to the core server product. 

Datto NAS

Datto NAS is a Network Accessible Storage share for a LAN that can be used as a file server. It can also be used to house 3rd party backup files. The Datto NAS offers versioning for all NAS Shares on the device. All data stored on a Datto NAS is replicated offsite using SpeedSync.

GPT (GUID Partition Table)

Standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk.

GUID (Globally unique identifier)

A 16-byte data structure you can use to identify objects in a globally unique way.

HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

Device for storing and retrieving digital information, primarily computer data.

HIR (Hardware Independent Restore)

Process which provides a method for recover to the same system, to dissimilar hardware or to and from virtual environments.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

Application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems.

HTTPS (Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

Widely-used communications protocol for secure http communication over a computer network.


In computing, a hypervisor, also called virtual machine manager (VMM), is one of many hardware virtualization techniques allowing multiple operating systems, termed guests, to run concurrently on a host computer.

I/O (Input/Output)

Communication between an information processing system (such as a computer), and the outside world, possibly a human, or another information processing system.


Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's outward form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of an image).


Specific backups which form the links of an Incremental Backup Chain.

Incremental Backup Chain

​​A backup chain technology which creates a full (or base) image followed by incremental backups that record changes from the present time to the time of last successful backup. Incremental Backup Chains are dependent on the integrity of other Backups Incrementals contained within the chain.

Incremental Backup Operations

A backup or restore operation is performed only on files created or changed since the last full, incremental, or differential backup was saved.

Inverse Chain Technology

A Datto exclusive technology that always keeps the newest information (backup or NAS data) at the front of the incremental chain. This technology is self healing and allows Datto devices remove snapshots/versions from any part of the chain instead of breaking the chain.


In computing, the kernel is the main component of most computer operating systems; it is a bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level. The kernel's responsibilities include managing the system's resources (the communication between hardware and software components).

LAN (Local Area Network)

A computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building using network media.

Local Web Interface

This is the browser-based web portal that is used to view and configure critical settings for the Datto device.

There are two main ways to access this interface:

  1. From a machine on the local network with the device, enter the DATTO IP ADDRESS into a browser window.
  2. From the Datto Partner Portal's Device Status by clicking the Remote Web link.


A compressed archive file format that supports several different data compression, encryption, and pre-processing algorithms. 

MAC address (Media Access Control Address)

Unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications on the physical network segment.

MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface)

A messaging architecture and a Component Object Model based API for Microsoft Windows. MAPI allows client programs to become (e-mail) messaging-enabled, -aware, or -based by calling MAPI subsystem routines that interface with certain messaging servers. While MAPI is designed to be independent of the protocol, it is usually used with MAPI/RPC, the proprietary protocol that Microsoft Outlook uses to communicate with Microsoft Exchange.

Metadata (VSS)

A Writer Metadata Document contains the list of all of a writer's components, any one of which might participate in a backup. This differs from the requester's Backup Components Document, which contains only those components explicitly included for a backup or restore operation.

MSG (Outlook Mail Message) File

MSG is the file extension for the Microsoft Exchange mail document. As part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products, the MSG file format is widely used by all Microsoft infrastructure solutions. 

MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit)

Communications protocol of a layer is the size (in bytes) of the largest protocol data unit that the layer can pass onwards. MTU parameters usually appear in association with a communications interface (NIC, serial port, etc.). Standards (Ethernet, for example) can fix the size of an MTU; or systems (such as point-to-point serial links) may decide MTU at connect time.

NAS (Network-Attached Storage)

File-level computer data storage connected to a computer network providing data access to heterogeneous clients. 

NAT (Network Address Translation)

In computer networking, network address translation (NAT) is the process of modifying IP address information in IP packet headers while in transit across a traffic routing device.

NFS (Network File System)

Any file system that allows access to files from multiple hosts sharing via a computer network.

NIC (Network Interface Controller)

Computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network, can be either virtual or physical.

NIC Teaming (NIC Bonding)

A networking term to describe various methods of combining (aggregating) multiple network connections in parallel to increase throughput beyond what a single connection could sustain, and to provide redundancy in case one of the links fails.


NTFS supersedes the FAT file system as the preferred file system for Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. NTFS has several improvements over FAT and HPFS (High Performance File System), such as improved support for metadata, and the use of advanced data structures to improve performance, reliability, and disk space utilization, plus additional extensions, such as security access control lists (ACL) and file system journaling.

NTP (Network Time Protocol)

Network protocol for synchronizing the clocks of computer systems over packet-switched, variable-latency data networks that operates on UDP port 123.

Paravirtualized Network Controller

Virtual Box does not virtualize common networking hardware (that is supported by common guest operating systems out of the box).Virtual Box then expects a special software interface for virtualized environments to be provided by the guest, thus avoiding the complexity of emulating networking hardware and improving network performance.


A division of a logical database or its constituting elements into distinct independent parts.

PPPoE (Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet)

Network protocol for encapsulating Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) frames inside Ethernet frames.

Production Machine

An active or running system which can be either a workstation or server; can also be either physical or virtual.

PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) Boot

An environment to boot computers using a network interface independently of data storage devices (like hard disks) or installed operating systems.


Defines the policies of persistent data and records management for meeting legal and business data archival requirements.A data retention policy weighs legal and privacy concerns against economics and need-to-know concerns to determine both the retention time, archival rules, data formats, and the permissible means of storage, access, & encryption.

RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)

A proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, which provides a user with a graphical interface to another computer.

RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization)

The term refers to the return of a product, usually during its warranty period, and often in exchange for a replacement product of the same type.

RMM (Remote Monitoring & Management)

Software packages used by MSPs to remotely monitor system status & manage processes without requiring to be on-site.


Datto’s Round Trip program is designed to help Datto Partner’s get data off-site quickly in the event that their units local data is greatly out of sync with their off-site data.This is process is executed jointly by both using a hard drive or NAS to sync locally with a Datto Device and use of the mail system to receive & process data previously synced to the Roundtrip Drive or Device.


Rsync is a software application and network protocol for Unix-like and Windows systems that synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate.


An open-source re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, originally developed by Andrew Tridgell.As of version 3, SAMBA provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients and can integrate with a Windows Server domain, either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or as a domain member. It can also be part of an Active Directory domain.


Computer bus interface for connecting host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives and optical drives.Serial ATA was designed to replace the older parallel ATA (PATA) standard (often called by the old name IDE), offering several advantages over the older interface: reduced cable size and cost (7 conductors instead of 40), native hot swapping, faster data transfer through higher signalling rates, and more efficient transfer through an (optional) I/O queuing protocol.


ShadowSnap is a Datto exclusive backup agent co-developed with StorageCraft that is available exclusively to Datto partners for use with Datto Business Continuity Devices.


ShadowProtect Server provides fast and reliable disaster recovery, data protection and system migration to get servers back online as quickly as possible.ShadowProtect is a stand-alone solution that can be used with any Datto Device models, it is also used as a depedent module included in the ShadowSnap Agent for Datto Business Continuity Devices.


Datto's flagship product line offering both local and cloud based instant virtualization with screenshot verification of backups.Backups are created by the ShadowSnap Agents and stored in Datto's ZFS Filesystem providing the exclusive Inverse Chain Technology to store backup data.


A larger version of the ALTO product line that offers field upgrade-ability and also offering hybrid virtualization as well as cloud based virtualization.Backups are created by the ShadowSnap Agents and stored in Datto's ZFS Filesystem providing the exclusive Inverse Chain Technology to store backup data.

SMB (Server Message Block) Path

SMB is a network file sharing protocol. Communication over SMB occurs mainly through a series of client requests and server responses.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

A standard internet protocol for managing devices on IP networks. Devices that typically support SNMP include routers, switches, servers, workstations, printers, modem racks, and more. At this time, SNMP is unsupported on Datto appliances.

Speed Sync

A Datto exclusive off-site synchronization process that allows Datto SIRIS & SIRIS Lite Devices to prioritize agent backups to sync off-site, ensuring that the more critical systems are secured off-site before other lower priority systems.

SSH (Secure Shell)

Network Protocol which part of TCP/IP that allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel between two networked devices. 

STC Backup Engine

StorageCraft’s Shadow Copy Provider which is used to provide a crash consistent state backup in case the Microsoft Shadow Copy Provider fails.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)

One of the core protocols of the Internet Protocol Suite. TCP is one of the two original components of the suite, complementing the Internet Protocol (IP), and therefore the entire suite is commonly referred to as TCP/IP. TCP provides reliable, ordered delivery of a stream of bytes from a program on one computer to another program on another computer. TCP is the protocol used by major Internet applications such as the World Wide Web, email, remote administration and file transfer. Other applications, which do not require reliable data stream service, may use the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), which provides a datagram service that emphasizes reduced latency over reliability.

UDP (User Datagram Protocol)

One of the core members of the Internet Protocol Suite, the set of network protocols used for the Internet.With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol (IP) network without requiring prior communications to set up special transmission channels or data paths.

UNC (Uniform Naming Convention)

Specifies a common syntax to describe the location of a network resource, such as a shared file, directory, or printer.

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

A file format which represents a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in the virtual environment.The contents of a VHD are similar to what is found on a physical HDD.VHD's contain disk partitions and a file system, which in turn can contain files and folders.VHD is typically used with Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor technologies.

VM (Virtual Machine)

A Virtual Machine or VM is a completely isolated guest operating system installation within a normal host operating system.

VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk) 

VMDK is a file format used for virtual appliances developed for VMware compatible hypervisors. The format is a container for virtual hard disk drives to be used in Virtual Machines like VMware Workstation or Virtual Box.VMDK is an open source file format.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing)

Graphical desktop sharing system that uses the RFB protocol to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse events from one computer to another, relaying the graphical screen updates back in the other direction, over a network.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

Private network that interconnects remote (and often geographically separate) networks through primarily public communication infrastructures such as the Internet.

VSS (Volume Snapshot Service or Volume Shadow Copy Service)

A Microsoft technology included in 21st century versions of Microsoft Windows which allows recording manual, automatic backup copies, & snapshots of data.VSS can perform even if it has a lock on a specific volume at a specific point in time over regular intervals.

VSS Writers

Controls how data for specific processes or services are set to a consistent state at the beginning of a volume snapshot operation and maintain that consistency throughout the process.


A combined file system and logical volume manager designed by Sun Microsystems. The features of ZFS include data integrity verification against data corruption modes, support for high storage capacities, integration of the concepts of filesystem and volume management, snapshots and copy-on-write clones, continuous integrity checking and automatic repair, RAID-Z and native NFSv4 ACLs. ZFS is implemented as open-source software, licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

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