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Question 46 :

Why and when should I backup my database? (for DBA)

Answer :

Backup and recovery is one of the most important aspects of a DBAs job. If you lose your company's data, you could very well lose your job. Hardware and software can always be replaced, but your data may be irreplaceable!
Normally one would schedule a hierarchy of daily, weekly and monthly backups, however consult with your users before deciding on a backup schedule. Backup frequency normally depends on the following factors:
. Rate of data change/ transaction rate
. Database availability/ Can you shutdown for cold backups?
. Criticality of the data/ Value of the data to the company
. Read-only tablespace needs backing up just once right after you make it read-only
. If you are running in archivelog mode you can backup parts of a database over an extended cycle of days
. If archive logging is enabled one needs to backup archived log files timeously to prevent database freezes
. Etc.
Carefully plan backup retention periods. Ensure enough backup media (tapes) are available and that old backups are expired in-time to make media available for new backups. Off-site vaulting is also highly recommended.
Frequently test your ability to recover and document all possible scenarios. Remember, it's the little things that will get you. Most failed recoveries are a result of organizational errors and miscommunications.


Question 47 :

What strategies are available for backing-up an Oracle database? (for DBA)

Answer :

The following methods are valid for backing-up an Oracle database:
Export/Import - Exports are "logical" database backups in that they extract logical definitions and data from the database to a file.
Cold or Off-line Backups - Shut the database down and backup up ALL data, log, and control files.
Hot or On-line Backups - If the databases are available and in ARCHIVELOG mode, set the tablespaces into backup mode and backup their files. Also remember to backup the control files and archived redo log files.
RMAN Backups - While the database is off-line or on-line, use the "rman" utility to backup the database.
It is advisable to use more than one of these methods to backup your database. For example, if you choose to do on-line database backups, also cover yourself by doing database exports. Also test ALL backup and recovery scenarios carefully. It is better to be save than sorry.
Regardless of your strategy, also remember to backup all required software libraries, parameter files, password files, etc. If your database is in ARCGIVELOG mode, you also need to backup archived log files.


Question 48 :

What is the difference between online and offline backups? (for DBA)

Answer :

A hot backup is a backup performed while the database is online and available for read/write. Except for Oracle exports, one can only do on-line backups when running in ARCHIVELOG mode.
A cold backup is a backup performed while the database is off-line and unavailable to its users.


Question 49 :

What is the difference between restoring and recovering? (for DBA)

Answer :

Restoring involves copying backup files from secondary storage (backup media) to disk. This can be done to replace damaged files or to copy/move a database to a new location.
Recovery is the process of applying redo logs to the database to roll it forward. One can roll-forward until a specific point-in-time (before the disaster occurred), or roll-forward until the last transaction recorded in the log files. Sql> connect SYS as SYSDBA
Sql> RECOVER DATABASE UNTIL TIME '2001-03-06:16:00:00' USING BACKUP CONTROLFILE;


Question 50 :

How does one backup a database using the export utility? (for DBA)

Answer :

Oracle exports are "logical" database backups (not physical) as they extract data and logical definitions from the database into a file. Other backup strategies normally back-up the physical data files.
One of the advantages of exports is that one can selectively re-import tables, however one cannot roll-forward from an restored export file. To completely restore a database from an export file one practically needs to recreate the entire database.
Always do full system level exports (FULL=YES). Full exports include more information about the database in the export file than user level exports.