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back to article Database down! DBA ninjas to the rescue

Database administrators (DBAs) may not be given much attention ninety-nine per cent of the time. But when the database fails for some reason, they become ninjas, (hopefully) restoring the data, recovering the firm's ability to do business, and generally saving the day. This all assumes that you've backed up your database …

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Business Continuity

If you really want full DR protection against "fire, flooding and other acts of god." then use Oracle Data Guard, which maintains a near-realtime copy of the DB at another site, ready to go. You'll probably need a full backup as well.

As always, though, you should never start with the backup software and try to figure out what protection it can give you. One thing I hate getting is a call from a customer syaing "I've bought product XXXX, how do I use it to protect my business?" Proper business continuity practice is to work out what level of protection your business needs, and then choose the right solution. It might be weekly cold backups, daily online backups, Data Guard, or some combination of them all.

If you do the risk analysis and the business disruption calculations properly you shouldn't need ninjas.

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Re: Business Continuity

Two other points...

A mirrored system offsite is great for a physical disaster, but doesn't help against corruption or user error; as the corruption or mistakes have generally been synced by the time you realise. I'm not saying it is a bad option, but it shouldn't be the only option.

I've experienced that 1st hand with a customer that thought 2 mirrored machines with RAID arrays was "a backup". It isn't, it is just redundancy in the event that one of the machines fails.

The second point, especially for environmental disasters is the 3-2-1 rule:

NO DATA EXISTS unless:

3 - copies of those files exist

2 - at least 2 different types of medium are used to store the files

1 - at least 1 copy is stored off site.

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No ... there are 4/5 things that are important to back up in an Oracle database

Aside from the spfile, control file, and datafiles you really want to have a think about backing up the Oracle database, online redo logs, and for any sort of 'hot' backup the relevant archive logs.

These are mentioned in the later parts of the article but really should be in the earlier list of stuff that is important.

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Flashback

Assuming we're talking about recent enough Oracle version it is worth looking into Flashback which allows to do simple point in time queries (useful for recovering from a mistake when information is still in redo logs. For a small performance hit you can run in full flashback mode which uses flashback logs which enable further functionality including restore points.

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