Disk to disk to tape backup (D2D2T) in BackupAssist

Hi all,

I was asked recently if Disk-to-disk-to-tape backup was possible in BackupAssist.

The answer is YES, if your tape drive sits on a Windows 2003, XP or 2000 machine. Note: Our support for tape drives in Server 2008 is still in development, and is due out in July.

There are two main scenarios for this:

  1. Replicate your file system to disk on a dedicated backup server, and then to tape (tape drive is installed on the backup server) – you can even backup multiple servers to the one backup server, then take those backups to tape.
  2. Replicate to disk on the same server, and then to tape (tape drive installed on same server)

In both situations, the setup is the same:

On each of your source servers

  1. Set up a “File Replication” backup job in BackupAssist. Choose your destination device (for same server D2D2T, it will be a local or external hard drive; for backup server D2D2T choose a NAS / network location). Select the “Mirror” scheme, so that your destination will be a mirror of the source. Select your files and folders to replicate, and complete the wizard.
  2. If you are also backing up VSS aware applications (eg. Exchange 2003/7, SQL 2005/8), go to the “Open files” tab and check the checkbox to enable VSS writer support. This means that your applications will be in a consistent state when backed up.

On your server with the tape drive installed

  1. Set up a “NTBackup” job in BackupAssist. Then choose the Tape Drive destination, choose your media rotation strategy, select the paths to backup, and complete the wizard.
  2. Modify the job run time to give the File Replication job(s) plenty of time to complete before the Tape job starts.

Licensing requirements

This setup requires one BackupAssist license per source server, and also one on the server with the tape drive.

If you are performing the D2D2T on the one server, then only one license is required.

Recommended scenarios

We recommend this strategy when your primary concern is backing up and protection data – that is, files and folders, and VSS aware applications.

The BackupAssist File Replication Engine will not backup System State in the way that NTBackup.exe or wbadmin.exe will – so if you need to protect the System State, you will need to set up a different job to do this.

7 thoughts on “Disk to disk to tape backup (D2D2T) in BackupAssist”

  1. D2D2FTP? Once backing up to disk, can that single file be uploaded to an FTP site? That is the exact requirement we have for some remote servers.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Yes – Under Server 2003, using NTBackup, you can choose the “FTP” location. You can then choose what FTP server to upload to, and also where to put the intermediate Disk-based backup.

    So you can do exactly what you want to do in this case.

    On a side note – I should also mention that FTP is not bandwidth efficient, so if you have say 40 GB of data, then 40GB will be uploaded every day. However, if you use our Rsync backup method, which is bandwidth efficient, then only incremental in-file deltas are uploaded. I can do a separate blog post on this if it’s of interest to you.


  3. Thank you for your response Linus. If you did a blog post on Rsync backup, that would be great.

    However, I will note that the biggest problem we have now is that some of these servers are Server 2008, therefore with no NTBackup, we can’t do a single file backup at this point. I was told by your sales team that a single file backup to tape would also support sending it over FTP which would have been what we were looking for, although it does seem that RSync would be a better option.

  4. The point of D2D2T is to get the tape streaming despite the filesystems being slow.
    Just mirroring the filesystem won’t get you there.

    An LTO-5 tape needs to be fed at 50 MB/s (or more with hardware compression), and getting that much data out of your average NTFS filesystem is not an easy task.
    Failing to do so, the tape drive will start “shoe-shining”, and the lifetime of both the tape and the drive will greatly suffer.

    Real D2D2T helps by storing the backup data in an intermediate format, which is very similar to what raw data on the tape will be (while the filesystem data is pretty much randomly distributed on disk).

    So real D2D2T would still be welcome!


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