Best Practice for NetBackup Appliance Copilot for Oracle Incremental Merge Feature

Best Practice for NetBackup Appliance Copilot for Oracle Incremental Merge Feature

  • Article ID:100039145
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  • Product(s):Appliances


Background Information:

Oracle databases support a wide range of transaction processing configurations that are commonly broken down into two major categories:  On-line Transaction Processing (OLTP) and On-line Analytical Processing (OLAP). 

OLTP can be characterized as an environment where a large number of short on-line transactions occur.  These transactions may be initiated directly from the database or can be initiated from an application that uses the database as a data repository.  In OLTP environments the size of the database itself does not typically change but the data in the database does.

Another popular configuration is an OLAP database.  OLAP is characterized by a relatively small volume of transactional changes or no changes at all. Queries can be very complex and involve aggregations but the changes to the database itself are typically very low, or even zero.

To improve backup performance, Oracle has created the Incremental Merge feature.  Oracle’s Incremental Merge technology eliminates the need for subsequent level 0 (full) backups after the initial level 0 backup is completed.  Oracle has provided guidance and recommends that the Incremental Merge feature only be considered when both of these scenarios are encountered:
  • The source database is large enough that a level 0 backup could have significant impact on network, disk or server resources.
  • The change rate of the Oracle database between backups is 3 percent or less.
Oracle provides more detail of these recommendations in an Oracle white paper that can be found here.


NetBackup engineers have performed extensive performance testing to identify and recommend the most efficient backup method to be used for specific transaction processing profiles such as OLTP and OLAP.  The backup method that Veritas recommends is highly dependent on the transaction processing profile (i.e. – rate of change) of the target database. 

Veritas testing has indicated that, with OLTP databases that have a high rate of change, a strategy of using standard full backups combined with subsequent incremental backups to the NetBackup Copilot share performs best.  In this case, the simplified NetBackup Copilot for Oracle “backup to disk and sweep” methodology is still used, but periodic full backups are required.  This method offers the best compromise for achieving the maximum backup performance in an OLTP environment that has a high rate of change, while minimizing the impact that backups have on the target database.

For OLAP databases and OLTP databases with a low rate of change, the NetBackup Copilot for Oracle Incremental Merge feature is highly recommended.  The Incremental Merge feature offers that fastest and most efficient protection technology, as this method is a true incremental (level 1) forever process.  NetBackup’s Copilot for Oracle Incremental Merge removes the requirement of performing subsequent level 0 (full) Oracle backups.  This recommendation is in alignment with Oracle’s recommendations as previously noted.

Veritas highly recommends that comprehensive testing of all NetBackup for Oracle technologies occurs in an Oracle database development environment, and that this environment replicates the data change that occurs in production.  It is highly recommended that this testing be performed before any specific database protection method is implemented in production.


NetBackup Appliance engineering continues to work on and develop advanced data protection solutions for Oracle databases.  In subsequent NetBackup releases, support for the Incremental Merge feature will be expanded to include additional transaction processing profiles.

A copy of this information can be found in the attached document (see the Download Attachments link).



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