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Backup Exec NDMP option

Created: 10 Sep 2013 • Updated: 12 Feb 2014 | 6 comments
Alex Zn's picture
This issue has been solved. See solution.


Read administration guide and see that NDMP is used to backup "NAS", here is example:

The Symantec Backup Exec NDMP Option uses the Network Data Management
Protocol (NDMP) to back up and restore Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices.

So i have a questions:

1. What kind of data does it realy backing up, files and folders ?
2. I have VMs that is running on NetApp, is it possible to back them up over NDMP to local attached tape library?

Operating Systems:

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ZeRoC00L's picture

1) NDMP backups the blocks from your storage device (in your case NetApp). This provides a very high backup speed, as the backup does not has to 'read' all files individualy. On the other hand Backup Exec will make an index of all files wich allows you to restore individual files

2) For this not the NDMP agent must be used, but the Agent for Vmware. This will make it possible to directy backup to tape over fibre/iscsi.

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Alex Zn's picture

1. So is that correct that only files, which is accessible via NAS (CIFS or NFS) may be backed up. No agent data like MSSQL, Share Point, Oracle etc.
2. In my case tape library is connected directly to NetApp storage, BE server could not Backup data to it because has no connection. So there is no way to backup to tape?

Colin Weaver's picture

2) Answer really depends on how you used the storage on the NAS with the VMs and what you want to achive


Scenario 1: Datastore in a LUN on NetApp

     Option 1: Attach library to media server, SAN zone the LUN to both ESX host and media server, do VMware Agent SAN backups with GRT enabled, gives abilitty to restore the complete VM or individual files/e-mails etc within the Vm

     Option 2: tape drive on media server with traditonal agent backups gives the ability to restore files and e-mails etc, but DR can be more complicated as you cannot restore a complete VM directly (although may be able to use SDR instead.) Also no SAN capability

     Option 3: Use NDMP option with tape drive on back of NAS. Result is a backup of the LUN as a single large file with only capability to restore the whole LUN, no individual file restore capability (or even individual VM capability if more than one VM is in the datatstore)

Scenario 2: Physical RDM held in LUN's on NetApp presented to VMware

     Option 1: tape drive on media server with traditional agent backups of the content of the Virtual machines (this allows you to get at individual files and e-mails) but the DR remians more complicated.

     Option 2: NDMP backup with tape drive on back of NAS. Again the LUN for the RDM is backed up as a single file so no granularity for restore

     Option 3: VMware backup will only be able to backup the non Physical RDM disks and will give a warning against the RDM volumes which results in an incomplete backup.

Basically the NDMP option is not very useful as soon as you have LUN's on a NAS as it sees it as a single large file, however whether or not the VMware agent can be used along with SAN transport depends on the storage configuration.

Alex Zn's picture

Is this is correct that:

1. if the data is accessible via CIFS or NAS, than i can backup data to tape device connected to Storage Subsystem and restore individual files from tape to Storage Subsystem.

2. In case of data is not accessible via CIFS or NFS i can only backup raw data from LUN and restore complete LUNs.

Colin Weaver's picture

 If you put the tape drive on the NAS and configuire it with NDMP option then every volume  located on the NAS can be writtn to the tape and restores of individual files form these voluems are then possible. However it will backup as part of the volume, files that might not normally be presented via CIFS shares (such as root volume on a NetApp for instance) However if a LUN is prsnet on the volume, it will be seen as just a large single file from the point of view of the actual file system on the NAS, hence anything to do with VMware on the NAS is seen as just one file (and as pointed out by teiva-boy if you backup this single large file it will not quiesce or snapshot the content of the VM correctly so is a bad idea)

Basically do yourself a favor if Vmware is on your NDMP NAS and move the library to the media server and forget about using the NDMP option and switch to the VMware / Virtual Agent (AVVI) - try to do this in a way that allows SAN Transport to work for teh best performance (oh and don't use RDM, put your VMFS Datastore in the LUN and put your VMs and VMDK files in the datastore.)

EDIT: One final point, GRT against VMware needs either backup to disk or a disk staging area on the media server to do a restore. As such recommeded practice is backup to disk and duplicate to tape, with tape being used for DR restore and the disk storage being used for day-to-day individual item restore requests.

teiva-boy's picture

NDMP does NOT improve backup speeds.  Far from it.  In fact, one of the slowest backup pieces in most environments is a NAS.  Many of my customers use Avamar to solve this issue, since it does a L1 forever.  NetBackup uses an "accelerator," to get around the slowness of NDMP NAS backups.

NDMP is made for file backups (CIFS/NFS mounts).  NDMP was created when NAS devices ran into a problem, with how to back them up when you can't install an agent on this proprietary closed system.  NDMP is a protocol that many NAS devices can speak, where an application can talk NDMP and tell said NAS to do certain things (e.g. snap LUN, copy LUN to SCSI ID or WWN and pipe output as stream)  NDMP is bascically SCSI commands encapsulated to a protocol the NAS can understand.

The slowest method is when the NDMP stream has to go through a backup server to a locally attached tape drive.  The fastest method is when you use a FC attached library connected to the NAS.

That said, it is NOT recommended to use NDMP to backup VM files hosted over NFS.  VMWare's recommendation is to use the vStorage API's that are part of the VMware virtual agent for BackupExec.  This way the VM's are properly quisesced, and can restore in a clean state.

There is an online portal, save yourself the long hold times. Create ticket online, then call in with ticket # in hand :-) "We backup data to restore, we don't backup data just to back it up."