July 10, 2017
When Datto’s CEO Austin McChord issued a bounty in 2011, Justin Giacobbi answered the call. Datto needed to develop a new way to send backup snapshots to the cloud, and Justin and Spencer Mortensen made Austin’s vision of SpeedSync a reality.
Sending snapshots to the cloud is no simple task. Datto SIRIS and ALTO appliances are standalone backup and disaster recovery devices. They capture backups of server systems as often as every 5 minutes. If you think about the size of a typical server, backups can be quite large. With Datto, this data then needs to get to the Datto cloud for true off-site protection. And yet average bandwidth is generally no more than 100 Mbps for a small or medium business, and that bandwidth is shared among all Internet services. If not managed properly, backups can clog office bandwidth and create real business problems.
In the coming weeks and months, Justin worked around the clock to put together a solution that would meet the needs of the growing company. Burning the midnight oil, it became clear that the team needed to grow to keep up with the demands of the growing customer base. That’s when Spencer Mortensen came into the picture.
Over the next two years, Spencer worked on SpeedSync to make it more reliable and configurable, realizing the technology vision started by Justin.
“We looked at it as an entire ecosystem, with a control center and thousands upon thousands of devices uploading data to servers,” said Spencer.
This wasn’t a problem like sending a single file, this needed to be an integrated system of components that would scale - after all, SIRIS and ALTO are typically managing backups for more than one server. The system needed three basic parts: client side management, a cloud controller, and cloud storage. Thinking further, it became clear that client-side management needed to handle prioritization of uploads, endpoint selection, and negotiation of transfers - and this had to be accomplished inside the computing and I/O constraints of the appliance.
Then the appliances needed to work with the Datto Cloud. The cloud controller needed to be aware of and manage all backup requests, negotiate, and then pass these requests on to available cloud storage nodes, which then had to receive, store, and reconstruct backup images.
Thanks to Austin’s initial vision, and the countless hours of hard work put in by Spencer and Justin, a patent was submitted in 2014 and finally granted in 2017. Datto’s CTO, Robert Gibbons, was Datto’s patent attorney at the time and worked with Spencer to write the patent to safeguard Datto’s system for replicating data to the cloud. According to Robert, the patent was crucial because “we had a major innovation on our hands and it was moving data at a scale and efficiency that very few companies can achieve.”