VMware Solutions Discussions

Incremental NDMP at a volume level using Backup Exec 2010


I'd like to see if anyone out there could provide some clarification on something.

I have a client with a FAS2040 with several volumes that are assigned to an ESXi cluster via NFS.  They are using SMVI for local backup but they have the need to write to tape for off site disaster recovery.  We are going to use the enhanced NDMP option through Backup Exec 2010.  My question is as follows:

1.) In this model, is it possible to do an incremental backup of these volumes using NDMP?

My plan is to write a level 0 backup on the weekend and then do level 1 backups during the week.

I'm a little confused because I was under the understanding that NDMP is a block level copy but the documentation refers to the incremental determination based on "file dates".  In a block level copy, Backup Exec shouldn't really know anything about files.  How could it do a block level incremental?  I'm assuming that Backup Exec is talking to the Netapp and saying, I backed up from Snapshot A on Sunday, I need all of the changes from that snapshot up until now.

I want to make sure it's truly an incremental and the combination of Backup Exec and Netapp is smart enough to truly do a NDMP block level incremental backup.

Thanks in advance for any replies.



I have not come across incremental NDMP are you sure you are not thinking of dump which is similar?  To be fair the ufsdump format which they are both based on is described by Solaris as "incremental file system dump", so it is a fair question.

A bit of google gave me some good leads which pointed me back to this.  {Yes I always talk to myself in posts.  Dude, that has to be a bad sign.  Damn, their are two of us in here now?  Must be really losing it...}


ndmpcopy [options] source destination

source and destination are of the form [filer:]path

[-sa username:password]
[-da username:password]
[-st { text | md5 }]
[-dt { text | md5 }]
[-l { 0 | 1 | 2 }]


-l { 0 | 1 | 2 }
The incremental level to be used for the transfer is restricted to 0, 1 or 2 only. The default level used is 0. You can do a level 0 transfer at any time, following which you can sequentially do one level 1 and one level 2 transfer.

It must be this feature which backup Exec is using to create the increamentals - so yes it must work but test for peace on mind.  "Call it client training"

Details of what is happening in dump and NDMP here - https://kb.netapp.com/support/index?page=content&id=3011854

So yes NDMP is block level as in it is inode aware but it then maps a file system {directories, permissions} onto these blocks, ie a logical backup.  Where as SnapMirror to tape (SM2T) just takes the raw blocks as fast as possible from the volume, including fragmented space and just writes them to tape fast as possible,

- Learn something every day.  {Stop talking to yourself or they will send the people in white coats "again!"}

Hope it helps



So if I am reading that document correctly, I doesn't look like I can do a level 0 on a Saturday and then continue to do level 1 backups all week. It says you can do one level 1 backup and one level 2 backup sequentially after a level 0. Which isn't what I wanted to hear. Can anyone clarify if that is indeed correct?



Have you seen this yet?


Should answer what you need.

Bed time for me



No, I had not seen that thread.  I did contact that individual to see if he was able to run level 1 NDMP backups multiple times in a row.  Thanks for sharing!



If you attach to a netapp snapshot to do your NDMP backup then the snapshot itself incremental from the previous one. At that point you should be

able to grab the entire content and you ll be doing incremental backups. Correct?




I always though a snapshot backup would be all the data in the snapshot and not just the inodes which make up the snapshot.  ie A full backup.