SIRIS, ALTO, and NAS: Universal VM Backup



This article discusses the Universal VM Backup functionality for protecting virtual machines.


  • Datto SIRIS


Universal VM Backup allows you to protect virtual machines that host operating systems incompatible with Datto's standard agentless or agent-based methods.

You can protect the following types of systems with Universal VM Backup:

  • VMs with old and new operating systems that Datto does not currently support via other methods
  • Virtual appliances where the OS or filesystem are unknown, such as the following:
    • vCenter
    • VoIP systems
    • Security appliances
    • Network Appliances

In a disaster scenario, you can restore a Universal VM Backup locally to your ESX hypervisor by using either the Virtualize via Hypervisor or Export Image restore options. You can restore cloud backups via Cloud Virtualization or Image Export.


Before a Datto appliance can take a Universal VM Backup, it must have a connection to your production hypervisor. For hypervisor connection steps, see the article Connecting A Datto Appliance To A VMware Hypervisor. Like standard agentless backups, Universal VM Backups are for use with ESX hypervisors. Datto does not currently support Hyper-V for agentless backups.

Virtual machines running supported operating systems must use Datto's standard agent-based or agentless solutions, which provide a greater range of restore options. Universal VM Backups are a fallback method when other options are not available.

To check if your system is supported by our standard options for Windows, Linux, or Mac, see the Additional Resources section at the end of this article.

Pairing a target system for Universal VM Backup

You can pair a target system for Universal VM Backup in the same way that you pair standard agentless systems.

1. From the GUI of your Datto appliance, click the Protect tab.


figure1.pngFigure 1: Protect a System (click to enlarge)

3. Click the drop-down arrow next to the hypervisor name. You will see a list of machines on that hypervisor. On the right, you'll see the operating system and [Universal VM Backup] next to the machines that can only be protected by using this method. Select the machines that you wish to protect.

figure2.pngFigure 2: Select Systems (click to enlarge)

If you don't see your hypervisor listed, click the link for the Add Hypervisor Wizard to add it.

 4. The rest of the pairing process is the same as for agent-based systems. See the Protecting a System: Set Local Backup and Retention article for more information.

5. When the process is complete, you will return to the Protect page, where you will see your new systems listed.

figure3.pngFigure 3: System listing on the Protect page (click to enlarge)

Backup Process

The backup process for Universal VM Backups is similar to our standard agentless and agent-based options, but with some limitations.

  • Backups are device-level, so the entire machine is backed up. You cannot exclude any volumes.
  • Local Verification and Screenshot Verification are not available.
  • File-level and volume-level restores are not supported.

Restoring a VM locally

Two methods are available to restore local Universal VM Backups to your hypervisor. Click the links below for more information on each technique.

Restoring a VM from the Datto Cloud

Two methods are available to restore Universal VM Backups from a backup in the Datto Cloud via the New Recovery Launchpad. Click the links below for more information on each technique.

Because this feature can back up any platform, Datto Technical Support's ability to troubleshoot restored operating systems may be limited.


What restore methods are available with Universal VM Backups?

Two options are available for restores; Virtualize via Hypervisor or Export Image.

Can I restore to Hyper-V?

Universal VM backup creates VMDK files for restoration to ESX hypervisors. Datto does not support Microsoft Hyper-V at this time.

Can I encrypt my backups?

Yes. Universal VM Backups can be encrypted just like standard agent-based and agentless backups.

Can I choose which volumes I back up?

No. Universal VM Backup creates an image of the entire machine. Volume level backup is not supported.

How does retention work with Universal VM Backups?

You can retain Universal VM Backups in the same way as traditional backups. You can set a backup and retention schedule for local and cloud backups via the Datto device GUI.

Can I run screenshots of my backups?

No. Screenshot verification is not supported. 

Can I verify my backups?

You can't verify Universal VM Backups in the same way as traditional agent-based and agentless backups. Images can be exported as VMDK files and tested on a hypervisor.

Can I archive a backup chain from Universal VM Backups?

Yes. Backup chains created with Universal VM backup can be archived in the same manner as traditional backup methods.

Additional Resources

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