Acronis Image - IM server.
Does imaging the IM server while running using Acronis is a recomended procedure or not.
Any valuable input on this would be appreicated.
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To get an overview over where Oracle has its datafiles execute this SQL statement in e.g. SQL*Plus:
SQL> select member from v$logfile union select name from v$controlfile union select name from v$datafile;
If I were to image the above IM I would have to image *BOTH* C: and E: at the same time (or else the Oracle instance might increase the SCN during the backup and make it invalid)
I'm not sure a drive imaging software would know that it would have to take the C: and E: file system snapshots simultaneously for the procedure to work with Oracle's ruleset.
I sincerely recommend adhering to our documented procedures.
1) IM Backup (hsBAR.exe) which can be run with IM services up and running.
2) Cold (with operating system shut down) drive image backups. Be sure to dump all partitions with IM data and Oracle files during the same shutdown; or else restore may (will) fail.
IM runs Oracle internally; you can not just backup an Oracle instance as it was your digital photo gallery (eg drag 'n drop all files to a USB drive). Certain rules applies for Oracle to accept external file manipulation - I mean no offence, but I recommend that you read up on that on Google, etc, or keep to officially documented procedures.
Yes, we back up an IM using Acronis. But, Stefan's advice is quite correct. Acronis is not supported on any 800xA node and does not always run perfectly.
Specifically, Acronis must "snapshot" the drive before it takes a backup. This process is not entirely seamless and can sometimes disturb the 800xA services. Similar issues can occur with Oracle databases. For this reason we never back up more than one server at a time in a redundant configuration.
An Acronis backup is great if you want to quickly restore a failed computer to it's exact pre-failure state. However, you also need to take IM backups using the standard ABB tools and scheduled 800xA exports using the Maintenace Structure. For an IM node or 800xA server node, you can take an Acronis backup every month or so, or immediately if you change the installed software. Take IM data backups with the ABB history tool every few days or at least once a week. Make sure you hold at least twice that period in your basic history so you do not loose data. You can then restore the node using an Acronis backup and the apply the backed up history data to that node.
It is also important to "practice" restoring a node at some point. Acronis is a good product, but is not 100% reliable. Make sure you know how to restore a node properly and that you allways have a verified backup.
I just wanted to give an example of what might happen to Oracle if you restore an IM with an image backup that was not taken or put back properly:
Output in Oracle's ALERT file [c:\oracle\diag\rdbms\adva\adva\trace\alert_adva.log]:
ORA-01242: data file suffered media failure: database is in NOARCHIVELOG mode
ORA-01122: database file 'x' failed verification check
ORA-01110: data file 'x' '<path to datafile>'
ORA-01208: data file is an old version not accessing current version
ALL datafiles witin an IM Oracle instance need to be within the same sequence number (SCN) - below I've linked an article I found on the matter.
Since IM runs Oracle without archive logging (Archive Log Mode) an ORA-01208 is fatal and you need to restore a proper IM Backup (hsbar.exe) or find another set of disk images with identical SCN numbers throughout all Oracle datafiles.