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Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonMarch 21, 2015

Question:  What is the difference between the RMAN catalog and nocatalog mode?  Should I always use the nocatalog mode with a single database?

Answer:  The RMAN catalog and nocatalog arguments are used to indicate whether an operation is to be stored in the RMAN catalog schema.  The default for the "rman" command is nocatalog.

The RMAN recovery catalog is a schema stored in a database that tracks backups and stores scripts for use in RMAN backup. For most all backup operations, you will want to connect to both the database and the backup recovery catalog, using the "catalog" option.

According to the docs, the RMAN catalog command is used in these circumstances:

  • Add metadata about a user-managed datafile, control file, or archived log copy to the recovery catalog and control file.
  • Record a datafile copy as a level 0 backup in the RMAN repository, which enables you to use it as part of an incremental backup strategy.
  • Record the existence of user-managed copies of Oracle release 8.0 or later databases created before RMAN was installed.
  • Record the existence of the last user-managed datafile copies made after the final shutdown in Oracle version 7 and before running the migration utility.

Here are examples of the RMAN catalog command:

RMAN> CATALOG ARCHIVELOG 'u01/app/oracle/oradata/mysid/rman/bkup5534.arc'

RMAN> CATALOG BACKUPPIECE 'u01/app/oracle/oradata/mysid/rman/bkup5534.bkp'
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