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Don Burleson Blog 








Oracle RMAN vs. Export?

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Question:  I've been using data pump (the export utility) to backup my database, but I wonder if I should be using RMAN instead.  They both do backups, so what's the advantages of each?

Answer:  Yes, RMAN and export both backup tables, and they both support flashback database, but there are some important differences:

  • Data Pump Export (expdp) - The export utility is a "logical" backup, usually done by specifying specific tables.  If you fail to do a "consistent" export, or if you fail to include related tables and use RESTRICTED and CONSISTENT mode (with referential integrity constraints), you may not be able to recover properly.  Export is often used as a supplement to RMAN, usually for the restore of specific tables.
  • Recovery manager (rman) - RMAN is designed for backup and recovery, a extension of the Enterprise Backup Utility (EBU).  RMAN takes full, physical, consistent backups of your database files..

Advantages & disadvantages of Export:

  • Free, and easy to use
  • Very slow, compared to RMAN (examines every data block)
  • Easy restore of a specific table
  • Does not require ARCHIVELOG mode

Advantages & disadvantages of RMAN:

  • RMAN has block-level media recovery
  • Has a catalog for backup tracking and a report utility
  • Fast - If you dedicate a backup device for each production disk, you can backup terabytes in the time it takes to backup any single disk.
  • Does hot or cold backups
  • Backups and restores can be done in parallel
  • Allows incremental backups (block change tracking)
  • Interfaces with media management systems (TMS)

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The landmark book "Oracle Backup & Recovery: Expert secrets for using RMAN and Data Pump " provides real world advice for resolving the most difficult Oracle performance and recovery issues. Buy it for 40% off directly from the publisher.



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