NDMP supports a number of topologies and configurations between backup applications and storage systems or other NDMP servers providing data (file systems) and tape services.
In the simplest configuration, a backup application backs up data from a storage system to a tape subsystem attached to the storage system. The NDMP control connection exists across the network boundary. The NDMP data connection that exists within the storage system between the data and tape services is called an NDMP local configuration.
A backup application can also back up data from a storage system to a tape library (a medium changer with one or more tape drives) attached to another storage system. In this case, the NDMP data connection between the data and tape services is provided by a TCP/IP network connection. This is called an NDMP three-way storage system-to-storage system configuration.
NDMP-enabled tape libraries provide a variation of the three-way configuration. In this case, the tape library attaches directly to the TCP/IP network and communicates with the backup application and the storage system through an internal NDMP server.
NDMP also supports storage system-to-data-server and data-server-to-storage system three-way configurations, although these variants are less widely deployed. Storage system-to-server allows storage system data to be backed up to a tape library attached to the backup application host or to another data server system. The server-to-storage system configuration allows server data to be backed up to a storage system-attached tape library.