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Donald K. Burleson

Oracle Tips


Hot Backups

A hot backup, or one taken while the database is active, can only give a read-consistent copy but doesn’t handle active transactions. You must ensure that all redo logs archived during the backup process are also backed up. The hot backup differs from the cold backup in that only sections of the database are backed up at one time. This is accomplished by using the ALTER command to modify a tablespace’s status to backup. Be sure that you restore the status to normal once the database is backed up or else redo log mismatch and improper archiving/rollbacks can occur.

While it is quite simple (generally speaking) to do a cold backup by hand, a hot backup can be quite complex and should be automated. The automated procedure should then be thoroughly tested on a dummy database for both proper operation and ability to restore prior to its use on the production database(s).

 Limitations on hot or on-line backups:
      ·     The database must be operating in ARCHIVELOG mode for hot backups to work.
·     Hot backups should only be done during off or low-use periods.
·     During the hot backups the entire block containing a changed record, not just the changed record, is written to the archive log, requiring more archive space for this period.
The hot backup consists of three processes:
1.      The tablespace data files are backed up.
2.      The archived redo logs are backed up.
3.      The control file is backed up.

The first two parts have to be repeated for each tablespace in the database. For small databases, this is relatively easy. For large, complex databases with files spread across several drives, this can become a nightmare if not properly automated in operating system specific command scripts.

Source 1       

Example of script to generate a hot backup script on UNIX.

The above-mentioned script is available in Mike Ault’s Oracle DBA Made Simple by Rampant TechPress.

The output from the script for my test database is shown in Source 2.

Source 2       

Example of output from the hot backup script generator.

The above-mentioned script is available in Mike Ault’s Oracle DBA Made Simple by Rampant TechPress.

 A similar script for and NT is shown in Source 3. You will need to verify that the target directories exist or modify the scripts before running them. The NT script assumes a backup staging area is being used that is then backed up to tape.


Example NT Oracle Hot Backup Script Generator

The above-mentioned script is available in Mike Ault’s Oracle DBA Made Simple by Rampant TechPress.


Example Recovery Script Generator for NT

The above-mentioned script is available in Mike Ault’s Oracle DBA Made Simple by Rampant TechPress.

Once you have generated the scripts to generate the online backup and recovery files, document them. The next section is an example documentation procedure for the NT online backup and recovery scripts.

The above text is an excerpt from Mike Ault’s Oracle DBA Made Simple by Rampant TechPress

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