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If RMAN copy copies the archived redo logs when they are full, what happens to the current redo log in the event of a failure (hardware failure, etc.)? Isn't there always an active redo log that is not an archive_log?

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Yes, if the database is open in read-write mode there is always a number of changes to database that reside only in the current redo log and not in any archived log. If you want protect the current redo against hardware-related corruption, you need to add redundant storage (with either a remote replication or local mirror). If you want to protect the current redo from OS-related corruption, you need a "physical standby" database (the marketing term is DataGuard) with "SYNC LGWR" feed.

RMAN would not be useful to you, it is not designed for a a rolling backup of current redo.

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The first thing RMAN does it automatically perform an ALTER SYSTEM ARCHIVE LOG CURRENT to switch logfiles so that the active log at the point the backup was started will be included.

It doesn't do this in all backup situations, but this answers your question.

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