NetBackup Copilot for Oracle: Powered by the NetBackup Appliance

ESG Lab Spotlight
NetBackup Copilot for Oracle: Powered by the NetBackup Appliance
Date: February 2016 Author: Vinny Choinski, Senior Lab Analyst
Abstract: This ESG Lab Spotlight summarizes the benefits of using NetBackup Copilot from Veritas to protect Oracle
databases. It focuses on the combined storage and data protection efficiency the solution delivers and the visibility it
provides to both database and backup administrators.
The Challenges
Creating an effective and complete data protection solution can be a daunting undertaking for many organizations. The
number one priority should be obvious: the successful and timely recovery of business-critical application and platform
data. However, achieving efficient data protection storage management to meet various internal and external mandates
is also important. Because of the many moving parts, seamless integration of multiple disciplines is critical in creating a
data protection environment. In fact, according to the ESG research report, Data Protection Personas and Methods,
more than half of the organizations surveyed report that they now utilize workload owners such as database
administrators for daily data protection activities for their respective resources. 1
The Solution: NetBackup Copilot for Oracle
NetBackup Copilot for Oracle is an efficient, feature-rich solution for database protection. It integrates components of
the NetBackup application, Oracle Recovery Manager, and the NetBackup appliance to manage database backups. As
shown in Figure 1, Copilot uses a slice of the NetBackup appliance integrated storage pool to present a snapshot capable
NFS share to an Oracle database server as a backup target.
Figure 1. Solution Overview
Source: ESG Research Report, Data Protection Personas and Methods, February 2015.
The goal of ESG Lab reports is to educate IT professionals about data center technology products for companies of all types and sizes. ESG Lab reports are not meant
to replace the evaluation process that should be conducted before making purchasing decisions, but rather to provide insight into these emerging technologies. Our
objective is to go over some of the more valuable feature/functions of products, show how they can be used to solve real customer problems and identify any areas
needing improvement. ESG Lab’s expert third-party perspective is based on our own hands-on testing as well as on interviews with customers who use these
products in production environments. This ESG Lab report was sponsored by Veritas.
© 2016 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
ESG Lab Spotlight: NetBackup Copilot for Oracle: Powered by the NetBackup Appliance
Then the NetBackup application is granted access to communicate with the Oracle database through the Veritas plug-in
for Oracle Recovery Manager. A NetBackup database agent policy for Oracle is configured on the NetBackup appliance to
run native RMAN commands that back up the database to the NFS target. Once the backup completes, both the RMAN
catalog and the NetBackup database are updated with detailed backup information. In order to maintain efficiency and
accelerate the backup process, the solution leverages incremental merge capabilities from Oracle. To extend protection
beyond the NFS database files, NetBackup can be configured to take off-host snapshots that can be managed with
NetBackup Storage Lifecycle Policy (SLP) methodology.
ESG Lab Testing
ESG Lab Spotlight testing included a review of the solution architecture, a walkthrough of the configuration steps,
launching and running a backup job, and auditing existing backup job results. As shown in the Data Protection Storage
Efficiency figure, ESG Lab captured and analyzed backup job storage attributes. The data was collected using the jobs
monitor utility in NetBackup and displays
storage characteristics for a set of Oracle
data protection jobs. The chart represents
the difference in the amount of data
transferred between the Oracle server and
NetBackup as well as the amount of data
stored on the appliance for each of the two
backup jobs for a 10TB Oracle database.
Because the solution uses incremental
merge technology, there was a 94%
reduction in the amount of data
transferred across the network and stored
on the appliance for the second backup
job. It should be noted that even though
only changed blocks are transferred after
the first full, each backup represents a
complete recovery point. Then, once each backup job completes, the RMAN catalog and the NetBackup database are
updated with detailed information to simplify recoverability. Next, as shown in the 10TB Oracle DB Backup Duration
figure, ESG Lab analyzed duration data from the NetBackup jobs monitor utility for the same two backup jobs. Here, the
Copilot solution was able to significantly
shorten the time required to complete
the second backup job. As shown in the
figure, the backup duration or backup
window was reduced by 51.1% for the
second job. After the first full backup, all
subsequent jobs act like typical block
level incremental jobs and only need to
transfer changed blocks. The merge
functionality then combines the previous
backup data with the latest changes to
create complete recovery points. It
should be noted that with any
incremental forever-based backup
schema, time, capacity, and network
bandwidth savings will vary depending
on the change rate of the customer’s data set.
© 2016 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
ESG Lab Spotlight: NetBackup Copilot for Oracle: Powered by the NetBackup Appliance
Why This Matters
ESG research indicates that over the last four years, improving backup and recovery has ranked in the top five
most-cited IT priorities among surveyed companies.2 Overall solution efficiency can play a major role in the
health of a data protection environment. Slow backup speeds and inefficient data processing can impact
backup windows, and unmanaged storage growth can increase cost. These factors can quickly derail any
improvement initiatives.
ESG Lab validated that with its Copilot solution, Veritas is working hard to improve Oracle data protection.
With a workload-centric focus, Veritas has smartly integrated the right features from its existing portfolio to
improve data protection for Oracle databases by driving increased backup performance and delivering
intelligent data protection storage for reliable recoveries.
Finally, ESG Lab explored the Copilot for Oracle data protection workflow. As shown in Figure 2, the process starts with
the ability of the NetBackup appliance to present an NFS backup target to the Oracle database server. Next, a database
backup policy is configured within the NetBackup application. The policy communicates with Oracle Recovery Manager
and issues native RMAN commands to initiate Oracle database backups. The solution leverages Oracle incremental
merge technology to create an incremental forever backup schema. The process starts with an initial level-0 backup and
progresses with level-1 from that point forward. All changes since the initial level-0 are merged into the latest backup
image. Next, NetBackup leverages InfoScale functionality available as part of the integrated appliance to create
snapshots of the NFS backup images. Each backup and snapshot is added to both the RMAN catalog and the NetBackup
database. The snapshot data can then be managed with SLPs to automatically move backup data to the most efficient
storage media including, disk, dedupe-disk, tape, cloud, or even offsite replicated devices. This schema benefits both
DBAs and backup administrators by allowing each group to use the tools that are most familiar. The DBAs can use their
own utilities coupled with a simple file share, with more recovery points, that they don’t have to manage. The backup
administrators use NetBackup, which now has all the copies for short- and long-term retention and recovery.
Figure 2. Protection Workflow Overview
Source: ESG Research Report, 2015 IT Spending Intentions Survey, February 2015.
© 2016 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
ESG Lab Spotlight: NetBackup Copilot for Oracle: Powered by the NetBackup Appliance
The Bigger Truth
It’s clear Veritas is not starting from scratch with NetBackup Copilot for Oracle. In fact, the company is combining key
features from its vast backup portfolio to create an efficient, intuitive solution for Oracle data protection. The solution
includes advanced data protection storage management capabilities delivered through the tightly integrated NetBackup
appliance; comprehensive backup/recovery administrative capabilities via the NetBackup application; and most
importantly, strong database protection expertise acquired through years of database agent development.
However, it’s not just about the technology. The lines between the data protection specialist, IT operations, and the
workload owner are beginning to blur. For many organizations, it is common to have workload owners such as database
administrators perform daily data protection activities for their respective resources and Veritas understands this.
NetBackup Copilot extends the comprehensive data protection management functionality of the NetBackup appliance
to the Oracle workload and removes any fear that the data is unprotected by providing visibility to both the workload
owner and the backup administrators.
With NetBackup Copilot for Oracle, ESG Lab believes that Veritas is reaping the rewards from years of solid data
protection product development. By focusing on customer challenges around Oracle database protection, Veritas was
able to deliver a comprehensive solution by simply fine tuning and integrating its existing technologies. ESG Lab also
believes that if it can stay on top of vendor changes specific to workload protection, integrate those changes into its core
products, and extend support to other challenging workloads and platforms, Veritas will continue to be a leader in the
data protection space.
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© 2016 by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.