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Deleting Local and Cloud Data



This article explains what happens when you use the Delete all Local and Delete all Cloud data deletion features on a Datto appliance.

For a general overview of how to use the feature, see our SIRIS, ALTO, and NAS: Manage Recovery Points article.


  • Datto ALTO
  • Datto SIRIS



Sometimes partners must delete backed-up data as an administrative function. Some example scenarios include:

  • When storage on the Datto device runs low
  • When storage space in the Datto Cloud runs low
  • When the data is redundant or out-of-date
  • When a device's dataset becomes corrupted
  • When removing a device from service

Deleting local data

The term Local Data refers to information stored on the Datto device's storage drives. All data resides locally before replicating to the Datto Cloud. You can delete local data in three ways:

  • Deleting individual data snapshots
  • Running retention on the agent
  • Deleting all local data

Deleting individual data snapshots

  • Each backup your Datto device takes is a unique data snapshot, also called a recovery point. Each recovery point contains all the information necessary to restore all the data present at the time of the backup. You can choose to delete one, some, or all of an agent's recovery points.
  • Individual recovery points are often deleted to create free space when local storage on the Datto device nears capacity.

Forcing retention on an agent

  • Retention is the process of deleting recovery points according to a preset schedule. The Force Retention feature removes all local recovery points that have passed their retention date.
  • A common reason to force retention is to free storage space on a full Datto device.

Deleting all local data

  • This option removes all local recovery points for all agents on the Datto device.
  • Removing local data is commonly done when a partner takes the Datto device out of service or repurposes it for use with a different organization.
  • Deleting all local data for a protected system will disassociate the offsite backups from your Datto appliance, resulting in the creation of a new offsite chain. You will not be able to see the old cloud backup chain or manage it directly. To restore from or remove an orphaned cloud data chain, contact Datto Technical Support.

Deleting cloud data

The term Cloud Data refers to data stored offsite, within the Datto Cloud. Data replicates to the Cloud to protect it from the destruction of the physical Datto device. You can still use it to restore to a hypervisor, virtual host, or a new physical machine if a disaster occurs.

Deleting cloud data is commonly done when a Datto Partner takes the Datto device out of service or repurposes it for use with a different organization. You can also delete cloud data if the size of one or more snapshots is causing billing tier overages, or if you've identified ransomware in a snapshot and need to remove the backup containing the infected data.

Effects and repercussions of data deletion

Datto recommends contacting Technical Support before deleting data from your device. Deleted data may be impossible to recover.

Effects of local data deletion

  • The device deletes locally stored data already synced to the Datto Cloud. You can recover this data from the Datto Cloud via file restore or image export.
  • Large data sizes may require a Reverse RoundTrip to repopulate to the device.
  • If you delete local data before the device syncs it to the Datto Cloud, it will not be recoverable. 

Effects of Datto Cloud data deletion

  • If data no longer exists in the Datto Cloud, but it is still stored locally on your appliance, you can recover it by performing a local file restore or local image export
  • You cannot retrieve data deleted from the Datto Cloud, but no longer stored locally on the Datto device. 

I can't delete specific snapshots. Why is that?

Your Datto appliance will only allow you to delete snapshots that it considers non-essential to the integrity of the backup chain. There are two types of essential snapshots which your device will prevent you from manually removing:

  • Connecting points: A connecting point is a crucial snapshot which your Datto appliance uses to maintain consistency between the local and offsite backup chains. Connecting points allow the device to evaluate the data change between the last snapshot sent offsite and the most recent one, and request a cloud synchronization file consisting only of the incremental differences between the two. If you were to remove the connecting points from a backup chain, your device would send a full base image offsite every time it replicated data to the Datto Cloud.

  • Snapshots pending replication: If a snapshot on your device is marked for offsite replication, you will not be able to delete it until the replication process completes.

To permanently remove all backup points for a selected system, you must first archive the backup chain.

I deleted data, but I didn't get as much space back as I expected. Why not?

Datto appliances use Inverse Backup Chain technology to ensure maximum integrity of your backup chain.

When you remove an individual snapshot, your Datto device will evaluate the data it contains to see if any other snapshots in the Inverse Backup Chain rely on the information it contains. If it finds that any other snapshot references any of the data in the snapshot, it will preserve it, and remove only the data unique to the selected backup point. For example, a 12 MB snapshot might contain 7 MB of data referenced by other backup points in the chain; if you were to delete this snapshot, you would only recover 5 MB.

When you delete all local or all cloud data, the same principle applies; your Datto appliance will remove all of the unique data contained in the backups while preserving the critical data needed to maintain the connecting points between your local and cloud chains.

You can learn more about Inverse Backup Chain technology and how it affects space reclamation in our Explaining the Inverse Chain and Investigating Large Recovery Points article.

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