Recovery Manager

Oracle has had the Recovery Manager (RMAN) since Oracle 8. It is installed along with the database. RMAN is a database client. The client can be run from the command line or Enterprise Manager. One main feature is cross platform backup and restore. RMAN automates a lot of the administration of backups. It can do point in time table recovery. It also can detect corruption in backups.

RMAN backups are stored as backup sets. It can do incremental as well as full backups. RMAN works with a media manager. That would be the system that controls the devices where backups are stored. For example, one media manager might control your tape drive.

An important facet of RMAN operation is the recovery catalog. This is a database schema where RMAN activity is recorded. It tracks the file names of all database files. It stores the location of redo logs. It can be used if the control file is lost.

RMAN is started by running the rman executble. You CONNECT TARGET to log into a database. The user needs SYSDBA privileges, although you do not explicitly state AS SYSDBA. The BACKUP command will start the backup. Unique file names are generated for backup files. The files are proprietary and specific to RMAN only.

You can do a hot backup while the system is running. The database must be in ARCHIVELOG mode. This results in what they call an inconsistent backup because it will require redo logs. Backups can be full or incremental. Incremental backups start at level 0 which is equivalent to a full backup. The VALIDATE command checks whether there is any backup corruption.

You can put RMAN commands in a file. Run it with the @ sign, just like SQL*Plus. Use the LIST BACKUPS for a report. Or use the REPORT command for a more comprehensive report. DELETE will explicitly get rid of old backups. Any backups older than the retention period are automatically deleted. Recovery involves a RESTORE DATABASE along with a RECOVER DATABASE command.