NetApp NDMP with Symantec BackupExec

Some time ago I uploaded a bunch of photos from the data center, where you can find our backup setup. We connect Sun StorageTek SL500 tape library directly to NetApp filer to perform backups of the virtual infrastructure using NDMP protocol. As opposed to LAN backup, NDMP allows you to offload LAN from backup traffic. Look at the following picture:

Here BackupExec only sends NDMP control commands to NDMP host, which in its turn send data to directly attached tape library. We use slightly more complicated 3-way backup architecture:

We have two filers in high availability cluster. And each of the filers has its own hard drive shelves and data. Filer under number 3 on the picture is the primary source of backup data and data from filer 2 is backed up occasionally. Since filer 2 has no connection to the library, when backup is initiated it is send via LAN from filer 2 to filer 3 and then to the tape library.

NetApp configuration

NDMP configuration involves several steps. First of all enable ndmpd on NetApp and set version 4, which Symantec BackupExec works with:

ndmpd on
ndmpd version 4

Then it’s a generally good idea to restrict NDMP access only to particular hosts and interface, because by default access is allowed from anywhere. In our setup NDMP traffic goes through completely isolated management network. We added two IP addresses to allowed hosts. First is the backup server and second is the partner filer:

options ndmpd.access hosts=ip_1,ip_2
options ndmpd.access if=manage_if

Then I’d recommend to create separate user for NMDP backups, change its group to Backup Operators and create special ndmp password which you will use to connect from BackupExec:

useradmin useradd backup
useradmin user modify backup -g “Backup Operators”
ndmpd password backup

As a last recommendation I suggest changing preferred network interface for data connections. By default for data traffic filer uses the same network interface from which it receives control commands. But if you have separate network for filer to filer communications its preferable to use it. In our configuration it’s the same management interface so for us it doesn’t make any difference:

options ndmpd.preferred_interface manage_if

Additionally you can use the following command to list your tape library robots:

storage show mc

Do the same configuration for all filers, if you have more than one.

BackupExec configuration

For NDMP to work in BackupExec you should obtain a licence key and install NDMP Option module. Then go to Devices section, click Add NDMP Server. In Add NDMP Server dialog box specify server name and logon account. If you have more than one filer, do it for each one.

That’s it. Now you have filer volumes in backup selection lists, tapes in Media section and you are ready to do backups.


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2 Responses to “NetApp NDMP with Symantec BackupExec”

  1. Desi Says:


    thanks for the helpful article. Is it fine to use NetApp NDMP + FC library + FC switch?
    What are the differences by such configuration?

    Thanks in advance for your reply

    • niktips Says:

      It depends on what you want to achieve and on how you perform backup now. If in your current configuration you push backup traffic from a filer to a backup server and then back from a backup server to a tape library, then obviously yes.

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