November 11, 2016

Advanced Screenshot Verification Explained

By Andrew Burton

Backup is obviously an essential part of a business continuity strategy, but backups are useless if you can’t restore from them. That’s why backup testing is so important. Datto’s Screenshot Verification technology was designed to give users a fast, easy way to verify that backups were successful.

With Screenshot Verification, a Datto BDR solution automatically test boots servers it is protecting and takes a screenshot of the OS login screen confirming the VM is bootable. If the test boot fails, details are provided to the user explaining what went wrong. Datto was the first to market with automated backup verification in 2011 and now it is pretty much a standard BDR feature. At DattoCon EMEA, Datto announced a major enhancement to Screenshot Verification, making it possible to verify even the most complex server backups.

Advanced Screenshot Verification takes backup testing a step further than verifying a successful boot. In addition, it runs a PowerShell or bash script on the VM to verify that applications, such as MySQL, SQL Server and Exchange, are configured properly and can be started successfully. This enables Datto Partners to deliver an even higher level of disaster readiness to their clients. This gives partners peace of mind because they know they are able to meet agreed upon BDR service agreements. And in turn, it builds trust and fosters the MSP/client relationship.

Advanced Screenshot Verification relies on the capabilities of Datto’s Instant Virtualization and Inverse Chain Technology to quickly mount and test virtual machines. Instant Virtualization is Datto’s “instant recovery” or “recovery in place” technology. This functionality allows users to mount and run applications from a backup instance of a VM. With Inverse Chain Technology, each completed backup has no dependencies on other backups, so the system does not need to reconstruct from a backup chain in order to perform a backup test. This allows test boots and scripts to be run very quickly.

Backup testing has long been a challenge for managed service providers. It was time consuming, and in some cases, required system downtime. For these reasons, many MSPs tested backups infrequently, if at all, and when a restore was truly needed, they often failed. Thankfully, things have improved considerably. Today, Datto Partners can be certain that restores will go off without a glitch. Advanced Screenshot Verification delivers automated backup testing with application-level visibility as often as every five minutes.

Advanced Screenshot Verification is available on Datto devices running the Ubuntu 16.04 OS. In order to access it on devices running an earlier version of Ubuntu, you must follow one of the upgrade paths. Datto Partners can get up-to-date information on upgrades via the Datto Community Forum.

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