Two days ago we "found out" that our old, not taken care of, horribly neglected, Oracle DB server was extremely important to our business.

The only person who knew anything about this server was fired 2 years ago, so it's been running since without maintenance.

Being both relatively new in the office as well as in charge of the whole server infrastructure, I need to get to know this server, with zero Oracle experience.

My questions to you are:

  1. Backups: I've read up a lot about RMAN, Import/Export etc. but I'm having a hard time finding a good overview. What would I need to backup and how do I restore said data if the machine blows up?
  2. Maintenance: is there something about maintenance that I specifically need to know?
  3. Labbing: is it possible for me to download a copy of this and learn on my local linux machine?

If you think these tasks, for me without any experience, are to daunting, you're free to say so because we've been looking at hiring a consultant for this specific situation. Obviously I'd rather like to learn and solve it myself.

Any pointers to documentation, manuals etc. are very much appreciated!

[I'm not too sure if this is a DBA or ServerFault question actually, I believe it's a very thin line between the two but if you feel this thread is misplaced, feel free to move it.]

1 Answer 1


first think about what it costs if the database gets lost. For this there are several levels.

  1. lost completely and forever because of lack of backup
  2. lost production because you perform a restore without being able to recover last TX.
  3. lost production because the site was unavailable

For all scenarios there are solutions. Normally I work for sites that won't allow the loss of any data. Most of the times they also want protection against unplanned downtime. This is the ultimate protection. As most things, it also has a price. Most protection has the highest cost. But if you need this, there will be a business case for it. That is why you should start with the question what dataloss costs your company. This will give you a budget.

For documentation start with DBA Essentials A very nice third party solution for DR can be found here dbvisit standby

Hiring support from a good dba can make a huge difference for your company. A good dba has your business in mind when he/she proposes solutions. Your question a asking a bit much. You need dba support. For an overview pick the Oracle concepts guide. Read it and use it to help you hire a good dba.

  • That's a very good reply, thank you very much. At the moment we also have big MySQL servers which we replicate and then take hourly/daily backups on, a solution like this but with Oracle would be optimal, but I guess it's a bit far fetched for myself, and I do understand I am asking a bit much, but I shall keep your recommendations in mind, thank you.
    – Lars
    May 1, 2012 at 9:28
  • Lars, if your situation is not too complex, take a look at dbvisit for replication and DR solutions. They made it amazingly simple to setup. Feel free to ask further, always willing to help.
    – ik_zelf
    May 1, 2012 at 10:03
  • That looks very neat, do you know about a rough price or they have support that helps you set it up? Thank you.
    – Lars
    May 1, 2012 at 11:34
  • I have no commercial info about it. You can easily setup a sandbox and try it for free. Their support is good and responsive. I never had any spam after registration on their site.
    – ik_zelf
    May 1, 2012 at 12:54
  • 1
    Good answer, I would emphasize focusing on backup and recovery before considering DR solutions. Read chapter 9 (Performing Backup and Recovery) of the 2 Day DBA manual - docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/server.112/e10897.pdf. Do it today and only when you are sure you have good backups proceed to the Concepts Guide and other suggestions. May 1, 2012 at 13:14

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