Even if they do manage to get the tape drives directly attached, they won't gain anything by not using NDMP. The only native backup utility in ONTAP is 'dump' and if you look at the NDMP backup process, it's just using dump. As mentioned in another reply, NDMP gives the user the ability to manage the tapes. If the customer is looking to avoid spending money on a backup application, there are open source Unix/Linux backup applications. However, most use NDMP...and believe me, you get what you pay for - especially when it comes to doing restores. Most people look at backup applications and only consider how fast and reliable the backup is. Backup applications need to be evaluated on the difficulty, reliability, and time-to-recover it takes restore data because that's what you buy them for.