Q

Backing up a 2.2 TB database

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We have a 2.2 TB Oracle database on an HP-UX 11.0 V-class server with direct attached storage that we are trying to back up. We use Veritas Netbackup 3.4.1 with Oracle-RMAN cold database backup. The backups fail after about 10 hours of run time. We do back up smaller databases using the same method and network architecture successfully. The servers are fiber attached to a switch, and then directly to STK tape drives. We have made the required changes that Veritas support has asked for (size-data-buffers, etc...). Any input would be helpful, we haven't had a successfull backup since the database has grown to over 2T, and I'm getting nervous!

I'd be getting nervous too! As you may already know, a solid, tested backup and recovery solution is one of the DBAs paramount activities. And backup/recovery principals become even more complicated with Very Large Databases (VLDB). I can't solve your problem about your backup failing since I am unfamiliar with the Veritas backup solution. But I can provide some hints.

  1. Make sure you use RMAN for your backups. Backups of this size can become quite a large task to manage. RMAN really helps with this problem.
  2. The downtime window can become too large to backup a VLDB. This will most likely mean hot backups, with the database running. RMAN doesn't care wether the backup is hot or cold.
  3. Hopefully, you can separate the data that doesn't change into their own tablespace(s). This way, you can back up these tablespaces once, set them to READ ONLY, and not back them up again. Then, have your weekly, or monthly, backup cover the tablespaces that are still in READ WRITE mode.
  4. Instead of FULL backups, look at backing up a portion one week and then another portion next week. This way, you spread your backups out over time. This is where RMAN really comes into play, managing all of those backups for a quick and easy recovery.

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This was first published in March 2003

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