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Six questions to determine your backup requirements

What questions should I ask before designing a backup and recovery solution for a 10 TB data warehouse?

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All of your questions boil down to trying to determine your backup requirements. And these questions don't really change for a multi-terabyte database.

1. Can you afford the downtime to perform a cold backup?

For a 10 TB database, the answer is most likely a 'no'. However, there are backup solutions on the market that can backup 4 TB per hour, which means that your backup window will be three hours for a cold backup. This solution is expensive, but it may change that answer to a 'yes'.

2. What is my recovery window?

The more data you have, the longer it will take to restore and recover the entire database. You might want to backup more often or employ incremental backups to reduce the recovery window.

3. Do I have READ ONLY data?

Backup times can be reduced by skipping READ ONLY tablespaces. These only need to be backed up once, after the tablespace is made READ ONLY.

4. What kind of archived redo log volume can I expect?

The more bytes of redo you generate, the more bytes of redo that you will have to apply in recovery. You can lessen this by backing up more often and/or employing incrementals.

5. Are there requirements to store the backups in special locations?

It is a good idea to have an offsite storage for a copy of your backups. That way, if your entire data center catches fire, you can go offsite to get your data. Many companies are starting to ensure that their data is stored offsite in some form.

6. Knowing these answers, what kind of backup platform do I need?

Where the backup eventually ends up can be a big concern. With larger databases, it gets harder to backup directly to a disk device. And with offsite concerns, one probably wants a copy of the backup on tape somewhere.

This was first published in March 2004

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