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Hot backup to tape vs. disk

We normally back up to disk first, then to tape. What's the advantage of using RMAN and backing up straight to tape?

We have a couple of small databases with hot backups and a 160 GB database (all on NT). We backup to disk first, then to tape. Now we have a 350 GB Unix Oracle database that needs hot backups. A single stream hot backup script to disk takes 15 hours on our HP-UX system and the OS folks are promoting RMAN and straight to tape. Without the RMAN complicating things, what opinions are bouncing around on hot backup (Unix), 350 GB database, to tape vs. to disk?
As long as you are using Oracle9i or 10g, then I would highly recommend that you use RMAN to perform your backups. When RMAN was first introduced, I was put off by its seemingly complex and cumbersome interface. But once you get past the learning curve, you'll wonder how you ever lived backing up the databases with the old cold or hot backup scripts. RMAN has many features that make it well worth while. Once you get past the learning curve, RMAN doesn't complicate things, it improves them. I have some notes that can help you learn RMAN on my Web site (http://www.peasland.net) under the white papers section.

Otherwise, you can continue to perform your hot backup directly to disk and then have them cut to tape. Keep in mind that you have to have enough disk to hold your backup. For larger databases, this can become an impossibility. You also have to be responsible for managing all the pieces of your backup when you attempt recovery (something that RMAN handles for you).

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