In a distributed computer environment such as a PC local area network, a backup tape device and a tape server are used for recording data from the nodes in the network for backup purposes and for controlling the flow of data. The tape server keeps track of a list of nodes which are collecting data for backup purposes. The tape server sequentially polls each node on the list and causes blocks of data from the nodes to be multiplexed and tagged as to the node origin of each block of data and causes the multiplexed blocks to be recorded by the tape device in an interleaved format. The tape location at which the blocks are recorded on tape are sent to the nodes and recorded in the node backup database. The backup data can therefore be restored since the tape locations of the blocks are known to the nodes.