At this point, you have two decisions to make. Do you perform user-managed backups (UMBs) or use Recovery Manager (RMAN) to do your backups? I prefer RMAN as it has many more options for both backup and recovery. But RMAN is more complex than UMBs. For information on UMBs, I highly recommend reading this UMB manual. If you choose to use RMAN instead, then read this RMAN guide.
I do prefer RMAN. And when you upgrade your database to Oracle 10g, you'll enjoy all of the great new features available only in RMAN.
To automate your backups in Oracle 9i, you will use your server's automated scheduling routine. On Unix, you can use cron to run your backup script. In Windows, you can use 'at' to run your backup script. Oracle 10g lets you easily schedule backups in Enterprise Manager, but for 9i, I stick with my server's script scheduling routine.
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