How is our Tape Drive support for Windows Server 2008 going?

Hi all,

Just to keep you updated with progress – we’re making good headway on our Tape Drive backup engine for Server 2008. It’ll be a partial replacement for NTBackup, primarily targeted at Server 2008 users, but also useful for past operating systems.

Features that we’re adding in include AES256 encryption and Zip-style compression. Both these features were not available in NTBackup.

Currently we’re doing speed testing to make sure that the backup speed is only limited by the speed of the tape drive. We’re finding that encryption can be done in real-time, but compression is adding significant overhead, and we’re working on improving that.

Our tape drive engine will be capable of backing up local files, folders and VSS aware applications, such as Exchange 2007, Hyper-V guests, and so on. It will also be able to backup network shares.

We’re still targeting a July beta release date, and things are progressing quite well.

Thanks for your patience on this… we’re effectively replacing NTBackup here, which has been developed over more than 10 years, and we’re attempting it in 6 months! I’ll keep everyone posted on progress.



7 thoughts on “How is our Tape Drive support for Windows Server 2008 going?”

  1. Hi Tom – yes, our ZIP engine will absolutely support disk based devices, including USB and eSATA disk, local disk, NAS, and even DVD and FTP server.

    And that’s in addition to Tape drive support.

    And we’re confident that our engine will be the best ZIP based backup system available. Development is progressing smoothly, and we should have a prototype ready in about a month’s time.


    • Here’s some encouragement I think this feature will be well worth the effort. It is a major missing feature of windows 2008. Carrying around USB drives or using smaller capacity RDX is not always appropriate.

      One question – how open standard will the backup be. I.e. can I read the tape with backup exec or NTBackup.

      Keep up the great work
      These blogs and wbadmin are the best sources of info on backup on the web



  2. Hi Mike,

    The tape format that we will use will be incompatible with NTBackup – because the NTBackup format doesn’t cater for encryption or compression. Well, actually the format does, but not NTBackup’s implementation of it.

    Instead, we’re going to use the ZIP-64 format, popularised by WinZIP. We’ll also be publishing our format, so that any data recovery company can read the data. Also, we’ll be releasing a tool that can take the ZIP file off tape, and put it onto a HDD.

    So yes, it really will be an open format, meaning that you can be confident of retrieving your data well into the future, even without BackupAssist.



  3. Hi all – we’re getting closer to a public beta of this… in fact, it’s already being tested privately by several of our close clients/resellers, and a public beta should be less than 3 weeks away.

    In the meantime, I need to point out one flaw in the original blog post (which has been corrected). I mentioned that we could back up and restore System State. That feature won’t actually be in the initial release.

    In fact, we’re wondering whether to include this feature at all, because:
    – For disaster recovery, we are strongly recommend that everyone use the drive imaging features – especially given that the cost of an external hard drive is less than $150 each
    – We don’t fully understand the impact of restore situations, especially when it comes to Active Directory, clusters, synchronization, etc.
    – We see the best practices as imaging for disaster recovery, and tape for data archival backup.

    For the hard-core System State fanatics, there’s actually a way of scripting a System State backup through wbadmin.exe on Server 2008:

    wbadmin start systemstatebackup -backupTarget:X: -quiet

    This will enable you to back up system state to a designated drive.

    I’ll provide more details as they come to hand…

  4. Hi all – this feature has now been released in v5.3 of BackupAssist.


    To set up your job, make sure you choose the “ZIP” option in the first step of the wizard. You can then select “Tape” as your destination.


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