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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Common Oracle Database Recovery Issues

I am amazed how many Oracle shops do not discover that their backups are bad until they are doing a mission-critical recovery. The most common causes of backup include:

  • Cold backups while the database is running – This is a very common Oracle backup error. When you restore the media, Oracle will not open the database because the system change numbers (SCN) in the file headers do not match.
  • Bad Media – Many Oracle backups do not check the media to ensure that the database has been successfully written to the backup tape or disk. I have seen many cases where the backup writes and empty of incomplete backup, or where parity checks exist. Some shops re-read their backups to ensure against parity errors.
  • No ARCHIVELOG mode – I have seen many shops who only discover that they cannot roll-forward until they attempt a recovery. Many DBAs have lost their jobs when they must tell management that many days of work has been lost forever.
  • Bad hot backups – There are many ways to perform a hot backup, and many of them will not work properly. Hot backups are tricky, and the prudent DBA will insist that the recovery from the hot backup is tested, or at least get a CYI memo from management if they refuse to test their Oracle recovery capabilities. Remember, someone IS going to be fired when a mission-critical database cannot be restored, and this memo could save your job.

The Oracle DBA is the custodian of the database and they must be prudent and cautious with their mission-critical system and always follow best-practices to ensure recoverability of the Oracle system.

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