Posts Tagged ‘backup sets’

Backup Concepts

Database Backup


A whole database backup includes all data files and at least one control file.

Full backups make a copy of every data block within the files being backed up that contains data.

Partial database backups may include zero or more tablespaces, zero or more data files, and may or may not include a control file.


Incremental backups make a copy of all data blocks that have changed since some previous backup. Oracle Database 10g supports two levels of incremental backup (0-1). A level 0 or baseline backup is equivalent to a full backup and contains all data blocks. A level 1 incremental backs up all database blocks changed since the level 0 backup. To restore using incremental backups, the baseline backup must first be restored, and then the incremental.

Offline backups or Cold backups(also known as consistent backups) are taken while the database is not open. They are consistent because at the time of the backup, the SCN data file headers matches the SCN in the control files.

Online backups (also known as hot or inconsistent backups) are taken while the database is open. The backups are inconsistent because with the database open there is no guarantee that the data files are synchronized with the control files. Inconsistent backups require recovery in order to be used. For online backup, ARCHIVELOG mode should be enabled.


Modes of Backups


If the database is in noarchive log mode, online redo logs can be overwritten without making sure they are saved. This implies that a database cannot be recovered fully (it can be rolled forward to the last transaction) even if backups were made.


If the database is in log archive mode, the database makes sure that online redo logs are not overwritten before they have been archived. Database can be recovered to the last

Types of Backups

i. Physical Backup

Physical backups are backups of the physical files used in storing and recovering your database, such as datafiles, control files, and archived redo logs.

ii. Logical Backup

Logical backups contain logical data (tables or stored procedures) exported from a database with an Oracle export utility and stored in a binary file, for later re-importing into a database using the corresponding Oracle import utility.


Backup Types based on Physical Backup

For performing backup and recovery based on physical backups, you have two solutions available:

  • Recovery Manager (RMAN), a tool (with command-line client and Enterprise Manager GUI interfaces) that integrates with sessions running on the Oracle server to perform a range of backup and recovery activities, as well as maintaining a repository of historical data about your backups
  • The traditional user-managed backup and recovery, where you directly manage the files that make up your database with a mixture of host operating system commands and SQL*Plus backup and recovery-related capabilities

Recovery Manager isthe preferred solution for database backup and recovery. It can perform the same types of backup and recovery available through user-managed methods more easily, provides a common interface for backup tasks across different host operating systems, and offers a number of backup techniques not available through user-managed methods.


Image Copies and Backup Sets


Image copies are duplicates of data or archived log files (similar to simply copying the files using OS commands).

Backup sets are copies of one or more data or archived log files. With backup sets, empty data locks are not stored, thereby causing backup sets to use less space on disk or tape. Backup sets an be compressed to further reduce the space requirements of the backup.

Image copies must be backed up to disk whereas Backup sets can be sent to disk or directly to tape.


RMAN Fundamentals

Using RMAN gives you access to several data backup and recovery techniques and features not available at all with user-managed backup and recovery.

  • Incremental backups, which provide more compact backups (storing only changed blocks) and faster datafile media recovery (reducing the need to apply redo during datafile media recovery)

  • Block media recovery, in which a datafile with only a small number of corrupt data blocks can be repaired without being taken offline or restored from backup

  • Unused block compression, where RMAN can in some cases skip unused datafile blocks during backups

  • Binary compression, which uses a compression mechanism integrated into the Oracle database server to reduce the size of backups

  • Encrypted backups, which uses encryption capabilities integrated into the Oracle database to store backups in an encrypted format

A complete list of feature differences between RMAN and user-managed backup and recovery can be found in "Feature Comparison of Backup Methods".

RMAN also reduces the administration work associated with your backup strategy. RMAN keeps an extensive record of metadata about backups, archived logs, and its own activities, known as the RMAN repository. In restore operations, RMAN can use this information to eliminate the need for you to identify backup files for use in restores in most situations. You can also generate reports of backup activity using the information in the repository.

Primary storage for RMAN repository information is in the control file of the production database. You can also set up an independent recovery catalog, a schema that stores RMAN repository information for one or many databases in a separate recovery catalog database.

RMAN Backup Destinations: Disk and Media Managers

RMAN can create and manage backups on disk and on tape, back up backups originally created on disk to tape, and restore database files from backups on disk or tape.

Devices used for tape backup are often referred to as SBT (System Backup to Tape) devices. RMAN interacts with SBT devices through software known as a media management layer, or media manager.

Types of Oracle Database Backup under RMAN

There are several ways of distinguishing among physical backups, according to the state the database was in when the backup was created, what parts of the database were actually backed up, and how the resulting backup was stored.

Consistent and Inconsistent Backups

Physical backups can also be divided into consistent and inconsistent backups. Consistent backups are those created when the database is in a consistent state, that is, when all changes in the redo log have been applied to the datafiles. A database restored from a consistent backup can be opened immediately, without undergoing media recovery. However, a consistent backup can only be created after a consistent shutdown, that is, not after a crash or a SHUTDOWN ABORT.

For reasons of availability, the Oracle database is designed to work equally well with an inconsistent backup, a backup taken while the database is open. However, when a database is restored from an inconsistent backup, it must undergo media recovery, so that the database can apply any pending changes from the online and archived redo log before the database is opened again. Because archived logs are required for media recovery, using inconsistent backups requires that your database be run in ARCHIVELOG mode.

Full and Incremental Backups

Full backups are backups which include datafiles in their entirety. Full backups can be created with Recovery Manager or with operating system-level file copy commands. Incremental backups are based on the idea of making copies only of changed data blocks in a data file. In recovery, extracting entire changed blocks from an incremental backup can substitute for application of redo for individual datafile updates during the time covered by the backup, shortening recovery times considerably. Incremental backups can only be created with RMAN.

See Also:

"About RMAN Full and Incremental Datafile Backups" for more details about the different ways to back up datafiles.

Image Copies, Backup Sets and Backup Pieces

The results of an Oracle database backup created through RMAN can be either image copies or backup sets. An image copy is a bit-for-bit identical copy of a database file. RMAN can create image copy backups, although in the process, RMAN will check the contents for corruption, something that native operating-system file copy utilities cannot do. RMAN records image copies it creates in the RMAN repository, so that it can use them when restoring your database.

RMAN can also store its backups in an RMAN-specific format called a backup set. A backup set is a collection of files called backup pieces, each of which may contain the backup of one or several database files. A backup task performed in RMAN can create one or more backup sets, which are recorded in the RMAN repository. Backup sets are also the only form in which RMAN can write backups to media manager devices like tape libraries. Backup sets are only created and accessed through Recovery Manager.