New tool speeds Oracle data recovery process

3PARdata has a new software product in its bag of tricks. The company claims that its Virtual Copy DBA tool can back up and restore databases faster than tape and cheaper than traditional disk.

3PARdata Inc. on Tuesday announced a new way to get to database backup data faster than tape and cheaper than traditional disk. The company, based in Fremont, Calif., announced the availability of Virtual Copy DBA, a software tool that enables Oracle backups and recoveries using disk-based snapshots.

3PAR focused on recovering applications with this software release.

"Today, trying to recover from tape is far too slow, but trying to recover from disk is too expensive," said David Scott, 3PAR's president and CEO.

Scott said users might believe they have things in hand, but restoring large databases from tape can be a nightmare that takes hours or days. "Lots of companies believe they have a fast recovery program, until they use it," he said.

The process is this: first, snapshots use "copy-on-write" technology, enabling an image of the database to occupy a small amount of disk space. This process makes it economically feasible to store hundreds of snapshots on a limited amount of disk. Second, dual read-write capability enables the immediate mounting of a recovered database image, which speeds the restore process. Finally, Virtual Copy DBA automates and coordinates administrative backup and recovery commands issued at the Oracle database and storage consoles, 3PAR said.

This unique 3PAR capability allows multiple point-in-time snapshots to be taken daily or hourly to create a spectrum of recovery images, thus minimizing the playback of database logs and substantially improving recovery time.

Steve Duplessie, president and founder of the Enterprise Storage Group Inc., Milford, Mass., explained that 3PAR's software can take instant snapshots of backup data, store a huge number of copies of the data and make the data writable.

"That means I can snapshot a live database, make a copy for backup and a copy for testing that gets migrated to another server and can be written to or read from," Duplessie said. "Others can do it, but not in those kinds of numbers, and the fact that they can turn a read-only file into a [writable] version means that restoring data can be simply re-pointing the database to the snapshot volume and letting the database take off."

Duplessie said that, normally, you would have to restore the entire read-only snapshot to a new volume that has read/write capability, which takes a lot of time from tape and less time from disk. "Big Oracle shops have to like this," he said.

3PAR said the product has been certified by the Oracle Storage Compatibility Program (OSCP).

Veritas Software Corp. has also given 3PAR's Virtual Copy DBA its seal of approval. The company has qualified 3PAR Utility Storage in an Oracle9i Real Application Cluster environment with Veritas Database Edition/Advanced Cluster for Oracle9i.

Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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