Datto Cloud Continuity Review

Lacks VLAN support and does not have Hyper-V integration.

What is our primary use case?

Backup.  For local backup, it works well. Thank you StorageCraft.  For the Cloud - we have given up that strategy.  We don't even consider the local virtualized recovery, because the performance is ridiculous.

How has it helped my organization?

Easy to manage and work with.  I would say it did not improve our organization, and in fact has created a challenging, tedious, high maintenance solution if you factor in DR testing, and local recovery performance is abysmal.  Clients are not happy.

What is most valuable?

Enables you to spin-up VMs with screen shots, sent by email (when it works).  This helps us validate a good backup.  Nothing else positive to add.

What needs improvement?

  • No Hyper-V integration
  • VirtualBox performance is terrible, although KVM is now rolling out
  • Large agent to install on each VM (due to lack of Hyper-V support)
  • Unreliable agents - known to cause VMs to reboot, especially older Windows 2008 systems
  • Lack of VLAN support
  • Cloud recovery is missing flexibility and the ability to create virtual firewalls or VPNs based on IPsec.  Only OpenVPN is supported at this time.
  • Their cloud recovery option is tedious, a manual process that has to be planned up to 2 weeks for a validation process.
  • You really need to test it thoroughly to understand its limitations and issues.
  • Datto chose to build their own cloud, instead of leveraging AWS, Azure or GCP.  It looks, feels and behaves like a beta product (lacks maturity).
  • As expected, customer service, products are in disarray after the reverse acquisition of AutoTask.  I recommend that you stay away from Datto.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I would give customer service a rating of 9/10. They provided decent customer service.

Technical Support:

I would give technical support a rating of 9/10. They are helpful and knowledgeable with their product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We evaluated Intronis/Barracuda. We did the switch due to:

  • Poor technical support
  • Missing features
  • Unreliable backups
  • Unreliable recoveries
  • Very slow download of complete images for recovery

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy.

What about the implementation team?

We used an in-house team, who have an excellent knowledge of the product.

What was our ROI?

We had an ROI after two years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

They have an expensive, monthly cloud backup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Unitrends for a similar appliance approach. Cloudberry.  StorageGuardian and R1Soft by Continuum.  We are still looking for the best MSP friendly solution, that is more cost effective than Veeam.

What other advice do I have?

Avoid it until it matures. I would wait until they support:

  • Hyper-V: If that is important to you
  • VLANs: To capture backups outside of a single LAN
  • Cloud Recovery: Virtual firewall, VPN appliance. Better security and controls.

Datto is now merged with AutoTask.  This may have an impact on roll-out of new features, capabilities, as their focus will be integration with their in-house RMM.

Hyper-V Integration: Datto has VMware ESXi integration – direct hypervisor level backup of each virtual machine works well. Unfortunately, it cannot do the same with Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  Keep in mind that Datto is geared towards the SMB market, where Hyper-V is quite popular. Each Hyper-V VM must install the rather heavy agent (StorageCraft + VirtualBox component).

Lack of VLAN: Datto does not have the ability to create virtual interfaces, or VLAN tagging. This becomes an issue if you have a VM located in another network or DMZ – the backup will have to be routed to the datto appliance. This is often the case with Hyper-V guests, as the issue is exacerbated by the inability to backup natively at the hypervisor.

VirtualBox: Simulated disaster tests clearly show that the datto appliance cannot really replace a busy server. This becomes painfully obvious with SQL servers, SharePoint, and Exchange. Datto uses a low-end ZOTAC “PC” grade appliance, and often times with SATA drives and insufficient RAM when compared to a server. How can it truly measure up to a real server with 128GB of RAM, RAID-5 or 10 with 8+ HDD? The answer: it does not. Datto is now rolling out KVM support, so expect better performance.

Cloud Recovery: This has to be done with assistance from Datto support, in both real and simulated conditions. To simulate a disaster and cloud recovery, you need to schedule ahead of time (10 business days, last I checked) to obtain an engineer. Now, the recovery point will also be about two weeks old at this point, which for testing purposes is not a major issue. Unfortunately, the interface that Datto provides is quite primitive. You have the ability to console into the VM, and some port forwarding (For RDP, HTTP), but that’s it. Networking needs to be defined ahead of time (such as DMZ VMs, or VLANs). You will also need to reconfigure all the networking under Windows and Linux. There is no Firewall or VPN virtual appliance provided. In a real-world, complete disaster scenario, a client would have limited access to their “cloud servers” – unless you have a remote desktop server in your topology. Not only is your recovered infrastructure at greater risk/exposure to the Internet from the lack of a specialized Firewall, you also have to deal with limited connectivity. Anyone who takes the cloud recovery as a serious option, needs to plan and anticipate that need. You will need an OpenVPN client, or similar to connect securely to your "cloud" recovery area.

I really wanted to like Datto. Their marketing is slick, no doubt about it. I expect that certain limitations are due to the fact that Datto does not own the backup technology used – it is based on StorageCraft.  All Datto does is a web interface wrapper, built on Zotac generic brand appliances.  They leverage opensource in almost every other aspect, but unfortunately they have weak implementations.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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