5 Myths of Oracle Database Backup

5 Myths of Oracle Database Backup

Oracle Database is one of the most popular, and widely used, business database servers. In fact, so far it’s topped the database popularity charts for five years in a row. Millions of companies store their most critical data – ERP, CRM, finance databases, and more – in Oracle Database servers and systems.

Given how widely used and business critical these systems are, it’s no wonder there’s so much discussion and so many opinions about how best to protect an Oracle Database. Unfortunately, some of the ideas circulating about protecting these databases are simply incorrect and can result in unproductive processes, unreliable backups, and insecure data protection plans. Make sure your business data is secure by recognizing the most common myths about Oracle Database backups and avoiding the:

1. RMAN is the only way to back up Oracle DB

Oracle Database “purists” will insist that only the vendor’s tool can properly and reliably back up the database. While RMAN (Recovery Manager) is undoubtedly a reliable and proven option, it is not the only way. Modern backup software vendors have worked for years to ensure that such a popular database will be fully protected by their backup solutions. Additionally, Oracle Database supports multiple operating system frameworks, like Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service), ensuring that system-wide disk snapshots contain a consistent image of the database.

For example, in Windows, Microsoft VSS sends a freeze signal to the database engine (version 10g and above), which in turn, saves all the pending transactions and report that data is frozen. Leading backup software, integrated with VSS, takes a disk snapshot in less than a second and immediately thaws the database via the same framework. There’s no connection breaking or denial of service, and the process is transparent to users and applications.

2. RMAN is the wrong way to back up Oracle DB

The opposite camp of backup administrators insists that RMAN is a very limited tool and should not be used in production. They argue that most backup tools provided by vendors are extremely limited, complex, and slow – basing their assertion on the example of built-in backups in Windows, Linux, and popular applications.

However, sometimes RMAN is the only proper way to back up a database. For example, if you use raw partitions or ASM, only the latest update of RMAN will ensure that your database is properly backed up. Even if your backup software claims supporting raw partitions or ASM out of the box, one small update of the database engine can introduce optimizations that can break third-party backup software.

3. Backup of Oracle DB data is enough

This very common misconception stems from the fact that the data in your database may be 1,000 times more valuable than the server itself. While it’s true that you can always install a new operating system and database engine in the event of data loss, it’s a mistake to ignore the time and money associated with downtime and recovery.

In fact, the time spent to reinstall and reconfigure your system can end up costing your business a lot of money — $8,851 per minute on average.

To defend your business from this huge potential expense, you need to back up your database data and your database server software – including the server’s operating system and configuration. The best way to achieve this is with a disk-imaging backup solution. These solutions will allow you to restore the entire server in a fraction of the time it takes for a manual reinstallation.

4. Restoring single tables/partitions/items is easy and safe

Many backup solution vendors are touting the ability to recover granular data safely and easily. However, there’s a reason for the “R” in the “RDBMS” acronym for your Oracle DB. It stands for “Relational”.

For example, say your ERP database has the CUSTOMER table with customer data and an ORDER table with order data. If you restore a week-old CUSTOMER table, but keep the ORDER table as-is, you will have orders referring to customers who may be missing from the CUSTOMER table, creating all sorts of havoc due to table inconsistency. Restoring a single table can also cause issues with indices, views, and other mechanisms in the database.

Unless you’re sure what you are doing, dedicate some time and restore the entire database whenever possible.

5. An Oracle DB server can only be restored to the same hardware

Interestingly enough, this myth is linked to the incorrect belief that Oracle Database cannot run on virtual machines. In fact, the Oracle Database engine works perfectly on VMs with one caveat as described in the Oracle support policy, “Oracle has not certified any of its products on VMware virtualized environments”. All this means is that if you have an issue, you may need to have it addressed by VMware support.

Alternatively, you can also choose to use Oracle VM Server virtualization or third-party backup solutions instead of VMware – to protect your virtual machines and databases.

Try it for yourself! Check out Acronis Backup Advanced today and experience the reliable and proven backup solution for your Oracle Database.