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Resend : Fwd: Is a SUSPEND really necessary with EMC SnapView

From: Hemant K Chitale <>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 21:31:12 +0800
Message-Id: <>


Resending this email : Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 22:13:23 +0800 To: From: Hemant K Chitale <> Subject: Is a SUSPEND really necessary with EMC SnapView

There has earlier been discussion [with me asking questions about SnapShot/SnapCopy implementations and later also responding to questions] about how an Oracle Hot Backup is done with SnapShot/SnapClone mechanisms. In my organisation I do have a few SnapClone implementations on Hitachi and EMC SANs. I use BEGIN BACKUP and END BACKUP before and after the split but donot use a SUSPEND.
Recently a colleague of mine tested an EMC SnapView SnapClone of a productiondatabase using the steps on primary BEGIN BACKUP split END BACKUP on secondary STARTUP MOUNT {OPEN fails with Recovery Required, asexpected} RECOVER DATABASE OPEN Run "dbv" on all datafiles However, later, when we started querying the clone data we found corrupt indexes. ANALYZE TABLE VALIDATE STRUCTURE CASCADE failed for a few tables. That is when I came in to the picture. I found an EMC doc on 8i [and also another doc on 9i the EMC engineer sent me] specifically state why a SUSPEND is required. Both EMC engineers at my site categorically stated that they use BEGIN BACKUP and END BACKUP but not a SUSPEND at other sites. Yet the EMC docs state that a SUSPEND is required. How have your experiences been ?
{as for the "corrupt database" I have asked the DBA, SysAdmin and EMC engineers to schedule another test, still without the SUSPEND as the EMC engineers swear that it is not required}. 'pdf[1] Page 16 "The use of ALTER SYSTEM SUSPEND is often questioned in backup scenarios where use of different SNAP or mirror-splitting technologiesis leveraged to perform “instantaneous”, or very rapid, data duplication. With hot backups, the physical data content of the various Oracle files continue to change even after a tablespace has been placed into hot backup mode. Oracle relies on the ordering sequence of how various OS writes to the files are organized to ensure that the logical content relationship of the files on durable media allow a correct recovery to be performed in the event of unexpected server or storage system failures. When the Oracle files are distributed over a number of system disk devices, a common practice in most Oracle deployments to minimize the impact of single device failure, and to improve general I/O performance, the different “devices” have to be duplicated together. However, when we are starting the SnapView sessions on the different devices, they are not started atomically. Timing windows may exist as a result. The set of Oracle files being snapped may appear to have lost the required I/O order sequencing. The ALTER SYSTEM SUSPEND command suspends physical I/Os to the various Oracle database files until ALTER SYSTEM RESUME is executed. With I/O suspended to the various database files, there will be a temporary quiescence of OS level I/O to the various Oracle files. During this window, the physical content of all the Oracle files would be content-consistent. When all the required SNAP sessionsare successfully started within this window, everything should then be working correctly."

I realise that my colleague, when attempting the RECOVER database, probably used the Online Redo Logs
which were actually 'fuzzy' and that he should have issued an ALTER SYSTEM ARCHIVE LOG CURRENT
and BACKUP CONTROLFILE after the END BACKUP and then used the ArchiveLog and Controlfile to
run an incomplete recovery.

Yet I still wonder why the EMC document states that a SUSPEND is necessary while the EMC engineers
say that they don't use a SUSPEND. I am also setting up an IBM ESS FlashCopy and all the IBM docs I see
use the BEGIN BACKUP and END BACKUP, not a SUSPEND {only one uses a SUSPEND to split a PPRC
Hemant K Chitale
Oracle 9i Database Administrator Certified Professional


Received on Tue Aug 24 2004 - 08:28:21 CDT

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