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We are investigating the possibility of using image based backup solution for a test SAP oracle 11g database server. We are using VMware to host our entire SAP VM server environment.  The system we are considering to use image based backup and replication is a  SAP VM DB server running Windows Server 2008 R2, SAP ECC6, Oracle 11g.  WWe are currently using Netbackup with SAP agent that calls BRtools for our SAP production backups. We are currently testing backup/replication of this server using a product called Veeam backup and replication version 6.  The testing has been successful so far.   My question is does SAP approve of this methodology and is anyone else using this approach for image based backup/replication of SAP DB servers?

The advantages to this approach are obvious for DR protection.  With a server replication job we can replicate a live SAP DB server to our DR site multiple times a day and switch over to our DR site within minutes.  We can also test the backups in a isolated environment with interrupting our production site within minutes. 

Veeam and VMware uses Microsoft VSS services to backup servers that run database applications compliant with MS VSS including MS SQL server.  It relies on coordination between VSS requestors, writers, and providers to quiesce —or “quiet”—a disk volume so that a backup can be successfully obtained without data corruption.

VSS comes into play any time a transactional-based application is installed to a Windows server that requires backups. Those applications can be Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory, Oracle, or any of a number of applications which require open access to files on disk.

You can use Oracle 11g the universal installer to install Oracle VSS writer service on oracle 10.2.0.3 and above.   see note: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B28359_01/win.111/b32010/vss.htm

Supporting documentation:VMware and Microsoft VSS,  What You Need to Know:
http://veeampdf.s3.amazonaws.com/whitepapers/vmware_and_microsoft_vss.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJI4MX44AEVG3NBLA&Expires=1337964932&Signature=qgk6oJ%2BYATMasupEO9OBJrPmIkY%3D

Installing Oracle VSS writer on 10g:

Oracle Metalink 580558.1

Installing Oracle VSS writer for use with 9i and 10g databases
On the 9i or 10g database host:
 
1) Install “InstantClient” from 11g Oracle Universal Installer (requires ~190 MB). This installs the minimum files required to run the VSS writer.
 
2) Create sqlnet.ora in Instant Client’s %ORACLE_HOME%\network\admin and include the following line:
    SQLNET.AUTHENTICATION_SERVICES = (NTS)
 
3) Create a Oracle VSS writer service using following command:
 
 
C:> oravssw <SID> /i /userid:<username> /password:<password>
 
 
The username and password is the OS user who has SYSDBA login privilege using OS authentication, i.e. part of ORA_DBA user group. If the username belongs to a domain, you should use the complete qualified user name with domain (for example, if user “Testusr” is in “NewDomain”, username should be NewDomain\Testusr).
 
4) To verify that writer is now configured for instance <SID>, run ‘vssadmin list writers’. It should list a new VSS writer with the name ‘Oracle VSS writer – <SID>”. This Oracle writer will service all VSS requests to the database managed by instance <SID>.

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