Use NDMP to manage NAS filers
Rick Cook

NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol) is an open-standard protocol for enterprise-wide backup that is being increasingly used to manage backup of devices such as NAS filers. It is designed to provide a simple, consistent system-wide way of backing up remote devices. Although some NDMP implementations, notably from co-developer Network Appliances, allow NDMP-managed backups over a network, the first version of the standard assumes that the backup device is local to the filer.

NDMP provides a standard interface for both devices and storage management software, eliminating the need for vendors in both categories to support multiple interfaces and operating systems. In operation NDMP reads from a disk or tape and produces an NDMP data stream that can be read or written by another NDMP device. The NDMP architecture also supports separating the control and database functions from the file system and the devices. Normally the control and associated database are handled by the storage-management software, which is usually centrally located and may handle many filers and file systems.

For more information on NDMP, including the latest versions of the specification and which products support NDMP, see the NDMP web site at

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Additional Resources:
1. What are the advantages of NDMP appliances?
NAS expert Randy Kerns addresses this user-subitted question, "what are the significant advantages of NDMP NAS appliances over Windows 2000 with SAK and vice versa?" Randy's answer includes a link to where you will find a good explanation of network data management protocol.,289625,sid5_cid420531_tax286193,00.html

2. Who are the leading online backup providers?
A user posed these questions to searchStorage backup/recovery expert Jim Booth recently: "Who are the leading online backup providers today? Who would you suggest using and why? What is their recovery solution?",289625,sid5_cid403073_tax286189,00.html

3. What do I need in the way of disaster recovery?
It would be easy, particularly these days, to be swept up in a frenzy of disaster recovery (DR) implementation. But look before you leap, experts advise. Do enough planning, at enough levels of the company, to know what your business really requires to keep running. And be brutally honest about whether you can devote in-house resources to the issue or if you should look around for someone else to manage the process for you.,289483,sid5_gci778014,00.html

4. Where can i get NDMP downloads?
Here they are! Versions 2-5 at your fingertips as well as NDMPcopy from the NDMP industry group.,289503,sid5_stpsimple,00.html?query=Download++and+NDMP&

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in November 2001

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