Types of migration

If you’re looking to migrate your archive data to another storage medium, we can assist with the following services:

Tape to tape

We can help you migrate from one tape generation to another or consolidate multiple types of tape into one common format.

Alternative storage

Need to move your tape data to disk or another format of choice? We can migrate your data to any form of storage.

New backup system

If you are migrating to a new backup system we can assist in aligning all of your archive tape data so that it is compatible with your new infrastructure.

How it works

As part of a tape archive migration, we can convert and consolidate your archives onto one, unified platform of choice. Each project is tailored to your needs, but here’s just some of the services we can provide:

  • Recovery of any inaccessible data
  • Replication and de-duplication
  • Catalogue and indexing report for future data mapping
  • Development of custom software and tools for the retrieval of archived data
  • Conversion of your legacy media in a secure, efficient and cost-effective manner
  • Accurate bit-for-bit copy of the source data, supplied back to you in the required format

Find out more about our tape services in our information sheet .

Any tape format

From reel-to-reel to the latest LTO tapes, we can cater for any type of magnetic storage, no matter how new or old the technology is. Even if your media is damaged, our engineers can help using proprietary tape recovery techniques. Here are just some of the tape formats we support, in any generation. Can’t see yours? Don’t worry, we can still help you.

ReaderTapeTape capacity
3500 Series
3500 MP Series5 to 700 GB
AIT Series | SAIT Series
8mm (AIT)35 to 500 GB
Oracle (formerly StorageTek)
9800 Series | 10000 Series
9800 Series
10000 Series
40 to 1,000 GB
DLT Series | SDLT Series
DLT Series
SDLT Series
80 to 800 GB
Tandberg Data
DAT Series | LTO Series
SLR Series | VXA Series
4mm, 8mm (MP)
Ultrium (generation 1-5)
38 to 6000 GB
Quantum, HP, Sony
DDS Series | DAT Series
DDS 4 mm20 to 40 GB
IBM, HP, Quantum, Sony
LTO Series
Ultrium (generation 1-6)200 to 6000 GB

Any backup system

Our expertise doesn’t end with tape; we also provide additional services to assist with the migration of backup systems:

ARCserve®Veritas NetBackup™Veritas Backup Exec™Microsoft® Backup
Catalogic® DPX™Retrospect®CommVault®Data Protector
IBM®UltraBacEMC®and more

We support any backup software, so if you don’t see yours here we can still assist you.

Total data security

We’re trusted by thousands of organisations every year with even the most sensitive data. We can provide you with:

  • Full chain of custody
  • Strict security protocols
  • Data returned on encrypted media
  • Secure courier service

FAQ: Consolidate and migrate tape archives

You might have decided to replace or migrate your backup infrastructure, but you will still need to be able to access data on the legacy tapes as and when required.

Since the early 1950s, almost 40 different digital tape formats have been introduced to the market. While some of them still exist, the majority of them are long gone. However, this doesn't mean that they are no longer in use. In some companies, a variety of different tape formats co-exist side-by-side for legacy backups and long-term archiving. Problems usually occur when the old hardware (or backup software) is either obsolete or not functioning properly anymore. The importance of maintaining the ability to access your dark data on tapes should not be underestimated or forgotten.

Since there is no real standard on the best type of tape or backup storage system format that one should use for migration, you have the choice to pick the system and tape format which best suits your needs.

The best advice is to migrate to one of the three formats, which the big blue chip players on the market also support. These are:

  • LTO Ultrium
  • T10000
  • 3592

If you are thinking about migrating all of your current tape libraries to one consolidated tape platform, get help from the experts at Ontrack. They can advise you not only about what has to be done prior to the carrying out this process, but also about what risks and stumbling blocks may lie ahead of you.

Converting your tapes to another format is not as easy as it seems. Similar to a migration, you normally have to extract your tape backup data before you can convert the content to another format. Only specialised software and hardware can complete this process on-the-fly and getting your hands on this equipment is usually far too expensive just to carry out a single conversion.

The smartest thing to do is to let the specialists from Ontrack take care of the job for you. Since they use established processes in every kind of tape-related service, they offer not only a cost and time-efficient conversion, but also the assurance that the converted data remains intact regardless of the type of tape media that you are using.

First, you have to open your old data in your current backup system and tape format. Next, you need to extract the data out of the tape library to another storage place (presumably to your local NAS or SAN). Then you have to design a new tape backup system from scratch and import the data.

Later on, the data will be compressed in the backup systems data format and stored on the new tapes, which can also be a different type. The real problems occur when you either don't have the original tape devices, storage or backup system anymore or you are not able to access the tapes due to system or tape failure. Additionally, the old backup system architecture and environment has to be completely available with the same settings and in the same state as when the backup was created. This often includes the requirement of the domain controller or active directory settings, which is another difficult problem.

If you are converting to a newer format because of [[tape and/or backup media problems]], more consideration should be given in the planning phase in case of obstacles that may arise from these issues.

This is when the experts from Ontrack can help you. Not only do they have all the necessary equipment and software for migrating data from an old tape backup system to a newer one, but they also offer data audits and data health checks, so you can be sure that the material you want to migrate is intact no matter what type of tape media you are using.

Simply put, you must restore your tape archives and then extract the data. Then you can either import the content into the new backup environment, after you recreated the archive structure, or if your new backup system allows it, you can copy or import the complete archives into the new data structure.

There are several options available to organisations  when it comes to dealing with upgrading your archive systems, each one with its own considerations. In any case, restoring and migrating an old archive structure which includes data is not an easy task. Each backup system has its own way of saving data in its tape library and onto the tapes themselves, so you must dig deep into the manuals in order to achieve a problem-free new backup environment.

Additionally, problems may arise when a client software is not available or if the paths to them have changed or are not working properly. This is often the case when only snapshots or dumps were taken instead of a full backup and the source consists of database files. In such a case, getting expert help is a better way of dealing with this issue. Our specialists have all the required knowledge and equipment for all the current and old software and hardware for tape and backup solutions. They use standardised processes for tape services, meaning that it is both time and cost-effective for you.

This depends on what you mean by a backup tape migration.

If you want to migrate your current backup files from one tape format to another, such as from LTO 2 to LTO 4, most backup software products have special commands implemented so you can perform this task quite easily without any major problems. In most cases, all you need is a tape drive in the new format to which you can copy the backup.

On a disk-to-disk backup approach, usually Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) are very useful. Backup software writes to virtual tape devices, like it would do with a real tape library, which is normally equipped with a mechanical tool and several physical tape devices. In addition every VTL has a unique internal structure and separate database, which stores contents inside the virtual tapes. From the outside, they look like large files with a totally different stream of data than how a tape disk dump (dd) may appear. What is even worse is that several VTLs also heavily duplicate the data that is written to them.

If you want to migrate these backup files that are currently stored on the VTL, there are functions implemented in most professional backup solutions to copy them back to the server or even to a second physical tape storage/library.

If you want to migrate your current backup files stored on tape from one backup software solution to another, this is not an easy thing to achieve successfully. If you are not familiar with the underlying structures of both software products involved, you will most likely end up exhausted and in the worst case scenario, left with a crashed backup system and no backups at all.

For a seamless and quick process, it is best to contact our tape data recovery service experts. We can advise you on the best course of action no matter what type of tape media you are using.

Normally you can just extract the data stored in the backup, which is located on a tape set, and then save the original data on to a different storage space large enough to hold the content. This can be done by the backup software by inputting several commands and functions.

However, trying to access really old backup software solutions can be difficult, if you cannot find any working hardware which it may have run on before. Even if you find the old working hardware, it can still be tricky. Sometimes the data recovered is so old, that the applications used to present the databases in a meaningful way no longer exist. Additional work is required to open files with recent software applications, which may only be 10 years old.

Additionally, when trying to perform a data migration from tape sets to hard disk, the biggest threat is that the tapes will just not work because they are too old. They could be either corrupt, inaccessible or the data itself which is stored on tape is corrupt. In any case, maintaining the ability to access your tapes, in one way or another, should not be a forgotten task.

Whether you experience difficulties trying to access the tapes or the data stored on them, our experienced tape data recovery experts can help. They have all the necessary equipment - both software and hardware - and experience with successful tape recoveries from a range of tape media.

Changing or migrating your current backup software to a new backup software solution or product is not an easy task. You might say that executing some backup software commands that start a general restore from tapes to server can cause no problems. However, many of our clients have told us that the application always crashed doing when trying to do it. The backup software usually tries to recover files, entire servers and databases extremely fast, but it does not support a process of switching to different backup software.

Currently there is only one product on the market that can help you migrate from TSM and NetBackup. However, for other backup software solutions there are no such applications available. Therefore, you have to do your migration job the traditional way: extract all the data stored in your current backup solution to an appropriate storage space; build the new backup system (both hardware and software) from scratch, create the archive architecture and import the new backup system. Additionally, all necessary clients, policy details and schedules, and tape inventories and catalogues have to be generated.

A task this bit can become overwhelming, even for an IT department in a large corporation, as it is very time-consuming. You should consider contacting a specialist tape migration service provider - make sure they have experience in successfully completing several migration projects for all kinds of enterprises, regardless of industry or size.

In order to make the migration process from TSM to another product as smooth as possible, you have to keep several aspects in mind. Firstly, you have to "unpack" your specific data out of your current backup to another storage place so you can access it. To accomplish this, you can use the tools provided by the TSM.

If you only want the original data, you just extract and export it out of TSM.

If you want to import the whole library and metadata with the data stored inside into the new system, you will have severe problems as there are no products on the market which will copy the TSM metadata in a new system. Hopefully, your tapes are not damaged nor have corrupt data, if your only backup is stored on tape.

If this is the case, or even if you want to perform a "simple" migration, you can contact us. We can recover lost data out from a tape storage system, and we can also help with the difficult task of migrating a TSM system to a new hardware environment. Having carried out this task for many tape clients, recovering data and migrating from TSM has never been easier.

While normal transitions from old to new hardware and/or from an old NetBackup release to a newer one are not easy, any experienced IT administrator with several years of experience can complete this project.

On the other hand, some migration projects can be really challenging. For example, when you want to switch from your current Windows platform to UNIX, you are definitively on your own! Since Symantec does not provide support on NetBackup migration projects, you will be making the transition at your own risk.

If you have a large storage system containing lots of different tapes and hard disks as well as virtual backups, even a tiny mistake in the migration process can result in the worst case scenario, namely causing the whole storage system to fail. Also, performing updates or applying patches on the backup software in use can cause serious problems. If such a situation arises, chances are that not only will valuable data be lost, but also information that is necessary for the whole system to run.

Whether you want to replace your hardware and your NetBackup version or you have already damaged your system trying to migrate, you can contact our tape specialists for help.

NetWorker is one of the most advanced backup storage solutions on the market. As with other solutions, the migration of an existing NetWorker system to another product is extremely problematic.

The best approach to such a project is to get access to the data stored inside NetWorker with the built-in recovery function. In doing so, the compressed NetWorker files will be extracted to another storage space from where you can import the data into the new system. Normally, it is nearly impossible to import the metadata managed by NetWorker into the new hardware and backup solution. In most cases, you have to build the metadata of the new system from scratch and import the content into the appropriate folders or archives. Furthermore, NetWorker has a lot of features integrated into the system which makes it - if problems arise during the migration process - difficult to recover the backup.

Whether the NetWorker backup system is based upon tapes or hard disks, or a combination of both, the integration of deduplication and virtualisation of backup files when recovering a NetWorker backup is a complicated task. Only specialised professionals can - if a backup is damaged - recover the backup and rescue the data inside. In such a case, we review the accessible data and search for references, which lead to the original structure of the underlying and compressed data files, whether they were stored in virtual machines or deduplicated for faster use and file size reduction.

Migrating data from an existing CommVault backup solution to another system will normally be done the traditional way. You need to access or create a full back up with the CommVault system and retrieve all the data which are stored inside the managed tape library. When you have restored all of the data and archives onto another storage space (usually on disks from your local SAN/NAS), you have to build the new backup system (both hardware and backup software) from scratch, create the archive structure and import the data into the new backup system. Additionally, all necessary clients, policy details and schedules as well as tape inventories and catalogues have to be generated.

If you consider changing to a new system, some hardware and backup solution providers offer specialist migration services which, in some cases, will result in a significant part of the total migration cost. When migrating your existing CommVault system to a new solution, we use standardised processes to successfully migrate existing backup and legacy archive systems to new environments without changing the integrity of the stored data and archive structure.

In contrast to other backup storage software solutions, CommVault offers an easy way to migrate from other products. Its External Data Connector enables future or new clients of its current Simpana backup software to import the metadata which is stored inside a backup as well as details which are required regarding the current TSM, NetBackup or NetWorker storage structure, such as client information, policy details, job information, policy schedules and tape inventories. With this information available, IT professionals then can translate the old clients to Simpana clients, deploy the client hardware and inherit the defined policies from the old TSM, NetBackup or NetWorker system.

In the unlikely event that a migration doesn't work because of hardware or software failures, this can result in problems that even a talented IT administrator cannot solve by themselves. Broken tape library linkage or tape catalogue files make it hard even for experts to recover the original structure of the entire backup system and the attached tape library. If a migration from TSM, NetBackup or NetWorker backup to CommVault stops midway through, then you can find yourself in deep trouble. In most cases, our experts can recover the data lost during the failed process and they can complete the migration.

You could import old NetBackup or NetWorker tapes to build a recent catalogue, then either restore the data so you can access the content stored on tapes and disks and import it into Tivoli. Beforehand, you have to build the system from scratch, deploying all the policy domains, jobs and structures. You can also try one of the special software solutions that are on the market, which can import NetBackup or NetWorker backups without the need for restoration. However, if this connector software doesn't work properly and the import fails, you will have even more problems.

If the original data structure - both the files inside the backup and the NetBackup or NetWorker policies, schedules and other solution data - is damaged by the process, it is hard to carry out a restore to the original state to begin the project again, or to make a traditional restore and import into TSM. In this case, our experts can both recover the lost data and migrate your old NetBackup or NetWorker system to TSM.

It is a difficult task to perform a migration from TSM to NetWorker. Any migration here will cause you sleepless nights. That is because several precautions have to be taken into account.

Since TSM is the bigger solution and its backup data is different, there is no internal or external software that can help you with a migration. You have to create or have a backup ready and extract the data using the restore function. You also have to import the content into the NetWorker solution. Additionally, you have to build the NetWorker software architecture from scratch for your specific environment and backup tasks. TSM makes a backup of the data from its nodes to the storage groups and then migrates the data to tape(s), whereas NetWorker stores the data only in the nodes. Also, NetWorker can store data directly to tape while TSM also saves its data on server storage first and transfers it into the tape library later. This all has to be taken into account when you set up the new NetWorker architecture design, lay out policies and schedule backup jobs.

In the case that your migration project is time-sensitive, the experts from Ontrack can help you in the process of extracting the data out of TSM, search and read of the tape catalogue and library lists so that you can extract only the important data that you require, check the data integrity, as well as other tape and migration related services. We can also provide the entire process of migrating your existing TSM environment to NetWorker as a service.

There is no easy way to migrate backups from CommVault to TSM, NetWorker or NetBackup. The most common solution to migrate your backups from CommVault - whether it is one of the older software packages or the new Simpana release - is to use your existing CommVault to restore your data to a new location and recreate a backup using TSM, NetBackup or NetWorker. Even though there are some software solutions on the market which offer to "translate" the CommVault metadata to TSM, NetWorker or NetBackup, it is a timely and costly process. And, if the process fails when using one of these software tools, it is possible to damage or lose valuable data or CommVault settings.

In addition, CommVault - like all other backup software solutions - uses a special data format, which compresses the data stored in the backup. When the data structure is destroyed, it is a difficult task to recover the backup structure as well as the data. It is like finding a needle in a haystack. In this case it is wise to get advice from experts before the start of the migration project. Not only can they recover the data lost during a bad migration, but they can also provide the whole migration process as a service.

Achieving a successful migration of Time Navagator, CA ARCserve or Data Protector backups or archives is a difficult task. Currently, there are no tools on the market that serve as an interpreter for the structure and/or the data to import them into a new CommVault system. Since the flagship CommVault product, Simpana, is especially designed as an archive storage solution, it would be wise to develop a detailed backup plan for the whole enterprise before establishing a unique Simpana archive structure. The migration is carried out the usual way, by creating or restoring an existing backup out of the current Time Navagator, CA ARCserve or HP Data Protector software solution and importing the data into the new CommVault solution.

If you experience problems or if you just don't have the resources or time to perform this timely and costly project, you can contact our backup migration experts at Ontrack.

Performing a migration from CommVault to Time Navagator, CA ARCserve or Data Protector is usually done the traditional way. You restore or create the backup of your existing data inside your current CommVault software and then import the extracted data into your new solution. This is both a timely and costly process as you have to create the whole new backup or archive system from scratch with all policy domains, jobs and structures included. Additionally, you have to change or apply the paths to the existing or new hardware such as server, disk and tape storage devices or drives as well as the whole tape library.

Since there is no "converter" extension software for easy exports and imports from one system to the other - you must either do it yourself or get help from a tape migration service provider, such as Ontrack. Since we offer standardised workflow migrations for CommVault to/from other backup software solutions like Time Navagator, CA ARCserve, Data Protector, TSM, NetBackup and others, we can prove to be both cost and time-effective as a support service. We can manage the process, so you can be sure that the data which is migrated is unchanged as we comply with the strictest rules and regulations for evidence handling, as well as for audits and compliance.


Find out if your data is physically accessible with the Ontrack tape audit service. We can also provide visibility on what has been stored past its retention period.

Tapes auditing


Get a comprehensive and accurate overview of your hard to access archive data. Ontrack offers indexing, cataloguing and categorisation of your storage media to ensure your legacy data stays organised and compliant.

Tapes cataloguing


Whether you are migrating from one IT service provider to another or found that your tape formats are no longer supported by your current hardware or software, Ontrack can help migrate your data to a new system or storage medium.

Tapes migration


Have you received an emergency legal or regulatory data restoration request? Ontrack can help you quickly retrieve granular information from your tape archives ensuring you are able to comply with legal and government requests.

Tapes restoration

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