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Difference between RMAN and traditional backup methods

What is the difference between RMAN and the traditional backup methods (like hot/cold backup and import and export)? What are the major benefits of RMAN that make it more prominent than traditional backups?

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RMAN is Oracle's backup and recovery utility. Before RMAN, DBAs had to use their own scripts to perform the backups. With RMAN, backups become as easy as:

BACKUP DATABASE;
RMAN reduces the complexity of backup and recovery. RMAN can determine what needs to be backed up or restored and figure out the best way to do this. With Oracle 10g, RMAN backups can be automatically scheduled to the Flash Recovery Area so that you do not have to think about backups any more. OEM in 10g can be used to perform a manual backup if you need it.

RMAN has many other features that the traditional hot and cold backup scripts cannot perform. Those features include, but are not limited to:

  1. Ability to perform incremental backups.
  2. Ability to recover one block of a datafile.
  3. Ability to perform the backup and restore with parallelization.
  4. Ability to automatically delete archived redo logs after they are backed up.
  5. Ability to automatically backup the control file and the SPFILE.
  6. Ability to restart a failed backup without having to start from the beginning.
  7. Ability to verify the integrity of the backup.
  8. Ability to test the restore process without having to actually perform the restore.

This was first published in February 2006

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