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Oracle Backup, Recovery & Test Data Management: Actifio vs Legacy Vendors

oracle backup recovery test data management

Even top cloud vendors like Salesforce & Amazon use Oracle database for one or more critical apps. The odds of finding an enterprise running a mission-critical application without an Oracle database is extremely low.

Like your mobile phone’s storage growth every month with more photos & songs, so is the growth of Oracle databases because of the digitized economy. Thus, most organizations are inspecting their legacy data management solution for backup, recovery, and test data management.

Let’s compare legacy solutions vs. Actifio.

Backups: Recurring Full (Legacy) vs Incremental Forever (Actifio)

My iPhone has more than 5000 photos. After the first backup, it never has to do a FULL backup. It backs up just the new photos, i.e. incremental forever backup. Shouldn’t it be the same way for your mission-critical databases?

While most legacy vendors can perform incremental forever backup for file systems and VMs, they force recurring full backups for databases, at least once a week, as shown in picture 1.

Oracle backup recovery test data management

In some situations, DBAs perform recurring full and incremental dumps to disk and expect the legacy backup software to sweep from the disk, as shown in picture 2.

oracle backup recovery test data management

In both the solutions above, the recurring full backups lead to a large backup window and high-performance impact on production databases. Larger the DB size, larger the impact.

Actifio Sky protects Oracle databases with an incremental forever approach using Oracle RMAN and Block Change Tracking APIs. After the first full backup, with all subsequent backups, Actifio Sky backs up just the changed blocks.

oracle backup recovery test data management

This reduces the backup window and IO load on production databases by up to 20x. As shown in Picture 3, after each incremental backup, it also synthesizes a point-in-time “virtual” full that helps with instant recoveries as described later.

Recoveries: Large RTO (Legacy) vs Instant (Actifio)

Have you ever download movies from Netflix? Probably not…unless you want to watch offline. With Netflix, you just stream the movie “instantly”. When you need to recover a 10+TB sized DB, don’t you wish you could recover the DB “instantly”?

Unfortunately, legacy solutions suffer from large recovery times (RTO).

oracle backup recovery test data management

As shown in Picture 6a, their RTO is large because they have to:

  1. rehydrate backups (like “unzip” or “undedup”) from their proprietary dedup backup format and
  2. restore, i.e. transfer data to the recovery server.

oracle backup recovery test data management

As shown in Picture 6b, it’s worse if you use “dump and sweep” approach because it requires 2x data movement.

Actifio Sky, on the other hand, mounts the backup image instantly, within minutes, to a recovery server. Note that the backup image is in its native Oracle format, so there is no “data conversion” needed.

Oracle backup recovery test data management

Thus the recovery time (RTO) of a 1 TB DB or a 50+ TB DB is essentially the same, i.e. just a few minutes.

For Oracle ASM environments, it takes it to the next level and delivers zero downtime restore after instant recovery.

Oracle backup recovery test data management

As shown in picture 8, post-instant-mount, while the Oracle DB is online and performing real transactions, Actifio leverages ASM rebalance to sync the data to production storage seamlessly. Once the background sync is done, the Oracle database switches to production storage, thus delivering a zero downtime restore.

Test Data Management (TDM): No Solution (Others) vs Industry Leading Solution (Actifio)

Dev, QA, DevOps, SecOps, Analytics, and many other teams need copies of production databases, as shown in Picture 9, for testing, analytics, root cause analysis, etc. They need to provision clones instantly and refresh in a self-service manner.

oracle backup recovery test data management

Administrators need role-based access control and automated masking of sensitive data. None of the legacy vendors can satisfy these requirements. Thus many enterprises end up with data subsetting tools, or invest in complex scripts on top of storage snapshots, or invest in other point tools for database cloning.

Just like people have replaced multiple point tools like a flip-phone, pager, calculator, e-dictionary with a smartphone, enterprises want a single data management solution that can handle database cloning for test data management(TDM), in addition to backup and DR.

Borrowing on this concept, Actifio Sky satisfies not only backup & DR needs but also all the test data management critical capabilities demanded by enterprises.  It “reuses” the backup copy to provision “virtual” database clones instantly in minutes. See picture 10. These virtual clones don’t consume any extra storage except for the incremental writes that may happen during testing in test environments.

oracle back recovery test data management

To summarize, Actifio Sky delivers an enterprise-grade data management solution that:

  1. Reduces backup window and DB impact by up to 20x with incremental forever backups
  2. Recovers even 100+ TB sized databases instantly, in minutes.
  3. “Reuses” backups for a scalable test data management solution.

There are many more differentiated functionalities such as long-term data retention, instant recoveries from object storage, data immutability, recovering full machines in any public cloud, protecting and recovering any public cloud VMs.   For a detailed discussion, connect with an Actifio data management expert.

Redefining Oracle Data Management

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