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Database Backups

With fssnap and NetWorker

Or how to...

...using the Solaris filesystem snapshot (fssnap) utility and EMC Legato NetWorker.

Most librarians understand the benefits of minimal downtime -- we want our patrons and staff to be able to access our online systems all the time, even when the library isn't open.

A cold backup is the least complex approach to backing up (and restoring) a relational database management system (RDBMS) like Oracle. A cold RDBMS backup can be restored like any other file restore.

This approach will be illustrated with two cases:

However, this is not meant to be a general backup tutorial. It is assumed that the user already has a good grasp of backup technologies. If you don't understand what the supplied backup scripts do, do not use them.

Note also, that for the Voyager example, this tutorial assumes that the Oracle database resides in the /m1 filesystem.

In a nutshell

This is what the custom NetWorker backup scripts do:

Because the database is shutdown before taking the snapshot, you are backing up a quiescent database. Since it just takes a few minutes to take a filesystem snapshot, the database is only down for about ten minutes.

The Voyager fssnap/ufsdump script is provided for those sites that don't have NetWorker. The principle is exactly the same. Note however, that with ufsdump it is not necessary to mount the snapshot to back it up.

About fssnap

The Solaris "fssnap" utility allows you to create a temporary read-only snapshot of a file system for backup purposes.

If you are new to using fssnap, you should read and be very familiar with (at a minimum) this documentation:

About NetWorker

EMC Legato NetWorker is an enterprise backup application. Oracle/Sun essentially rebrands NetWorker as their StorageTek Enterprise Backup Software (EBS).

! ! Important ! !

You will definitely want to create multiple NetWorker clients, so that your database does not get shut down for every filesystem backed up on that server. Create one backup client just for the database filesystem (e.g. /m1 or /exlibris) and another backup client for all the other filesystems on that server. Do NOT use the predefined "All" saveset.

Note too, that in the NetWorker client, you do not actually want to specify "/m1" or "/exlibris" as the save set filesystem -- you will be specifying the temporary mount point of the snapshot of that filesystem (e.g. the "/m1-snap" or "/exlibris-snap" mount points used in the script examples). If you don't specify the temporary mount point of the filesystem snapshot, then you will be inadvertently backing up a hot database and your backup will be worthless.

If you are new to running a custom backup script via NetWorker, you should read and be very familiar with (at a minimum) this documentation: