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Introduction to Oracle DataGuard

Introduction to Oracle DataGuard
Oracle Data Guard ensures high availability, data protection, and disaster recovery for enterprise data. Data Guard provides a comprehensive set of services that create, maintain, manage, and monitor one or more standby databases to enable production Oracle databases to survive disasters and data corruptions. Data Guard maintains these standby databases as copies of the production database. Then, if the production database becomes unavailable because of a planned or an unplanned outage, Data Guard can switch any standby database to the production role, minimizing the downtime associated with the outage. Data Guard can be used with traditional backup, restoration, and cluster techniques to provide a high level of data protection and data availability. With Data Guard, administrators can optionally improve production database performance by offloading resource-intensive backup and reporting operations to standby systems.
Introduction to Oracle DataGuard
Data Guard Configurations
A Data Guard configuration consists of one production database and one or more stand by databases. The databases in a Data Guard configuration are connected by Oracle Net and may be dispersed geographically. There are no restrictions on where the databases are located, provided they can communicate with each other. For example, you can have a standby database on the same system as the production database, along with two standby databases on other systems at remote locations. You can manage primary and standby databases using the SQL command-line interfaces or the Data Guard broker interfaces, including a command-line interface (DGMGRL) and a graphical user interface that is integrated in Oracle Enterprise Manager.
Primary Database
A Data Guard configuration contains one production database, also referred to as the primary database that functions in the primary role. This is the database that is accessed by most of your applications. The primary database can be either a single-instance Oracle database or an Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) database.
Standby Databases
A standby database is a transactional consistent copy of the primary database. Using a backup copy of the primary database, you can create up to thirty standby databases and incorporate them in a Data Guard configuration. Once created, Data Guard automatically maintains each standby database by transmitting redo data from the primary database and then applying the redo to the standby database. Similar to a primary database, a standby database can be either a single-instance Oracle database or an Oracle RAC database.
The types of standby databases are as follows:
Physical standby database
Provides a physically identical copy of the primary database, with on disk database structures that are identical to the primary database on a block-for-block basis. The database schema, including indexes, are the same. A physical stand by database is kept synchronized with the primary database, through Redo Apply, which recovers the redo data received from the primary database and applies there do to the physical standby database. As of Oracle Database 11g release 1 (11.1), a physical standby database can receive and apply redo while it is open for read-only access. A physical standby database can therefore be used concurrently for data protection and reporting.
Logical standby database
Contains the same logical information as the production database, although the physical organization and structure of the data can be different. The logical standby database is kept synchronized with the primary database through SQL Apply, which transforms the data in the redo received from the primary database into SQL statements and then executes the SQL statements on the standby data base. A logical standby database can be used for other business purposes in addition to disaster recovery requirements. This allows users to access a logical standby database for queries and reporting purposes at any time. Also, using a logical standby database, you can upgrade Oracle Database software and patch sets with almost no downtime. Thus, a logical standby database can be used concurrently for data protection, reporting, and database upgrades.
Snapshot Standby Database
A snapshot standby database is a fully updatable standby database. Like a physical or logical standby database, a snapshot standby database receives and archives redo data from a primary database. Unlike a physical or logical stand by database, a snapshot standby database does not apply the redo data that it receives. The redo data received by a snapshot standby database is not applied until the snapshot standby is converted back into a physical standby database, after first discarding any local updates made to the snapshot standby database. A snapshot standby database is best used in scenarios that require a temporary, updatable snapshot of a physical standby database. Note that because redo data received by a snapshot standby database is not applied until it is converted back into a physical standby, the time needed to recover from a primary database failure is directly proportional to the amount of redo data that needs to be applied.
Role Transitions
An Oracle database operates in one of two roles: primary or standby. Using Data Guard, you can change the role of a database using either a switch over or a fail over operation.
A switch over is a role reversal between the primary database and one of its standby databases. A switchover ensures no data loss. This is typically done for planned maintenance of the primary system. During a switchover, the primary database transitions to a standby role, and the standby database transitions to the primary role.
A failover is when the primary database is unavailable. Failover is performed only in the event of a failure of the primary database, and the failover results in a transition of a standby database to the primary role. The database administrator can configure Data Guard to ensure no data loss. The role transitions described in this documentation are invoked manually using SQL statements. You can also use the Oracle Data Guard broker to simplify role transitions and automate failovers using Oracle Enterprise Manager or the DGMGRL command-line interface.
Data Guard Broker
The Data Guard broker is a distributed management framework that automates the creation, maintenance, and monitoring of Data Guard configurations. You can use either the Oracle Enterprise Manager graphical user interface (GUI) or the Data Guard command-line interface (DGMGRL) to:
Create and enable Data Guard configurations, including setting up redo transport services and apply services
Manage an entire Data Guard configuration from any system in the configuration
Manage and monitor Data Guard configurations that contain Oracle RAC primary or standby databases
Simplify switchovers and failovers by allowing you to invoke them use either a single key click in Oracle Enterprise Manager or a single command in the DGMGRL command-line interface.
Enable fast-start failover to fail over automatically when the primary database becomes unavailable. When fast-start failover is enabled, the Data Guard broker determines if a failover is necessary and initiates the failover to the specified target standby database automatically, with no need for DBA intervention. In addition, Oracle Enterprise Manager automates and simplifies:
Creating a physical or logical standby database from a backup copy of the primary database
Adding new or existing standby databases to an existing Data Guard configuration
Monitoring log apply rates, capturing diagnostic information, and detecting problems quickly with centralized monitoring, testing, and performance tools
Data Guard Protection Modes
In some situations, a business cannot afford to lose data regardless of the circumstances. In other situations, the availability of the database may be more important than any potential data loss in the unlikely event of a multiple failure. Finally, some applications require maximum database performance at all times, and can therefore tolerate a small amount of data loss if any component should fail. The following descriptions summarize the three distinct modes of data protection.
Maximum availability This protection mode provides the highest level of data protection that is possible without compromising the availability of a primary database. Transactions do not commit until all redo data needed to recover those transactions has been written to the online redo log and to the standby redo log on at least one synchronized standby database. If the primary database cannot write its redo stream to at least one synchronized standby database, it operates as if it were in maximum performance mode to preserve primary database availability until it is again able to write its redo stream to a synchronized standby database. This protection mode ensures zero data loss except in the case of certain double faults, such as failure of a primary database after failure of the standby database.
Maximum performance This is the default protection mode. It provides the highest level of data protection that is possible without affecting the performance of a primary database. This is accomplished by allowing transactions to commit as soon as all redo data generated by those transactions has been written to the online log. Redo data is also written to one or more standby databases, but this is done asynchronously with respect to transaction commitment, so primary database performance is unaffected by delays in writing redo data to the standby database(s).This protection mode offers slightly less data protection than maximum availability
mode and has minimal impact on primary database performance.
Maximum protection This protection mode ensures that no data loss will occur if the primary database fails. To provide this level of protection, the redo data needed to recover a transaction must be written to both the online redo log and to the standby redo log on at least one synchronized standby database before the transaction commits. To ensure that data loss cannot occur, the primary database will shut down, rather than continue processing transactions, if it cannot write its redo stream to at least one synchronized standby database. All three protection modes require that specific redo transport options be used to send redo data to at least one standby database.
Summary of Data Guard Benefits
Data Guard offers these benefits:
Disaster recovery, data protection, and high availability: Data Guard provides an efficient and comprehensive disaster recovery and high availability solution. Easy-to-manage switchover and failover capabilities allow role reversals between primary and standby databases, minimizing the down time of the primary database for planned and unplanned outages.
Complete data protection
Data Guard can ensure zero data loss, even in the face of unforeseen disasters. A standby database provides a safeguard against data corruption and user errors. Because the redo data received from a primary database is validated at a standby database, storage level physical corruptions on the primary database do not propagate to the standby database. Similarly, logical corruptions or user errors that cause the primary database to be permanently damaged can be resolved.
Efficient use of system resources
The standby database tables that are updated with redo data received from the primary database can be used for other tasks such as backups, reporting, summations, and queries, thereby reducing the primary database workload necessary to perform these tasks, saving valuable CPU and I/O cycles.
Flexibility in data protection to balance availability against performance requirements
Oracle Data Guard offers maximum protection, maximum availability, and maximum performance modes to help enterprises balance data availability against system performance requirements.
Automatic gap detection and resolution
If connectivity is lost between the primary and one or more standby databases (for example, due to network problems), redo data being generated on the primary database cannot be sent to those standby databases. Once a connection is reestablished, the missing archived redo log files (referred to as a gap) are automatically detected by Data Guard, which then automatically transmits the missing archived redo log files to the standby databases. The standby databases are synchronized with the primary database, without manual intervention by the DBA.
Centralized and simple management
The Data Guard broker provides a graphical user interface and a command-line interface to automate management and operational tasks across multiple databases in a Data Guard configuration. The broker also monitors all of the systems within a single Data Guard configuration.
Integration with Oracle Database
Data Guard is a feature of Oracle Database Enterprise Edition and does not require separate installation.
Automatic role transitions
When fast-start failover is enabled, the Data Guard broker automatically fails over to a synchronized standby site in the event of a disaster at the primary site, requiring no intervention by the DBA. In addition, applications are automatically notified of the role transition.
View More:
Overview of Backup Optimization
Configuring the Backup Retention Policy
RMAN Channels

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