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Using Volume shadow copy service to perform Oracle Database cold backup (Windows 2003,2008 servers only)

server rack In this article we will show how you can use advantages of Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy service (VSS) to backup Oracle Database. This method is useful for all versions of Oracle DataBases running on Windows 2003 server and later platforms.

VSS provides a mechanism for creating consistent point-in-time copies of data known as shadow copies. VSS allows you to back up files even if they are opened or locked during backing up. The read-only volume shadow copy (snapshot) is created at a single point in time and is synchronized across the whole volume set. When the snapshot is ready, the backup application can read any file from the shadow copy without interfering with other applications writing to those same files. Snapshot creation is a quick procedure, it usually takes a few seconds, and this excellent feature can be used to perform Oracle Database cold backup.

The backup can be done as follows:

  • Shutdown Oracle server for a short time;
  • Create read-only snapshot of a volume with Oracle DataBase files;
  • StartUp Oracle server;
  • Start backup process of Oracle DataBase files from the shadow copy. The shadow copy will include Oracle DataBase files in closed state, because the DataBase was shutted down at the time of snapshot creation;
  • Delete shadow copy when the backup will be created.
The main disadvantage of this method is that the Oracle Database must be stopped for a short time to create a snapshot of offline database files.
All five steps can be fully automated for executing as a single unattended backup job using d_back as backup tool. Take a look at the screenshots of the backup profile:

directory with oracle datafiles

Directory D:\ORADATA contains all Oracle DataBase files, including control files and redo log files. This directory must be included into backup profile with all it subdirectories. Pay Attention on Path properties: to activate VSS feature you must check option Backup Files that are in Use or Locked.

database start/stop commands
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