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Database backup procedures documentation

Posted on 2013-02-06
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Is there any general best practice on what to document around your database backup and restore procedures? To what extent and what information do you record in the documentation, or as a senior DBA, if you wanted to check your junior DBA's were effectively documentating backup/restore procedures for business critical databases, what would you expect them to document to ensure another admin could pick up the DBA for that database, and in the case of a restore would no exactly what to do.
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Question by:pma111
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slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 1000 total points
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As far as documentation, you may be required to document your backup strategy.  For example, types of backups, schedule, retentention, tape rotation, etc...

Many shops have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for tasks that needs to be performed on a routine basis.  Recovery if typically one of them.

These should be routinely tested.  How often is typically written in policy somewhere.

I normally have a non-DBA test the SOPs with some supervision.

Database recovery typically isn't something you want to rely 100% on idiot-proof procedures.  It is pretty much impossible to write procedures that will work in every situation.  A non-DBA trying a recovery from a scripted document can easily cause more problems.  What may be a simple recovery can corrupt the entire database by not knowing what you are doing.

I typically have a line at the top of my procedures that the person reading this should contact Oracle Support first thing.
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by:pma111
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Can you give some examples of other things that fall into SOP's specific to server and database management/administration....
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 38859492
Unfortunately, no.  Every organization is different and has different policies in place that need to be followed.

Some shops require a step-by-step SOP that must be followed to the letter for every procedure performed.

Some are a little more liberal on the level of detail.

Recovery SOPs are pretty difficult because there are so many things that can happen and each one likley has a unique set of steps that need performed.

At a high level it should give the reader the necessary information like how to contact Oracle Support.  How/Where to recover tape backups.  Where to look for errors to help diagnose what might have happened.

Mine has the big bold dislaimer at the top:  If you don't know what you are doing, don't do anything!  Contact Oracle Support!
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by:pma111
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I appreciate every organisation is different but I was just after a few ideas of what would routine procedures would typically require documented SOP's
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by:David
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Perhaps in addition to the backup operational steps and jobs:

* Document the data audit trail -- once data passes the firewall, where does it go? How long is it required to be stored, and using what media? And my professional favorite, what steps to ensure it is expunged at the regulated time?  For example, the FAA used to require paper records of airplane manufacturing data up to ten years.
* In the event of conflicting legal requirements, what takes precedent?

HTH
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by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
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>>what would routine procedures would typically require documented SOP's

This question was on backups.  Disaster recovery is definitely a procedure that needs proper documentation and regular testing.

You should also have prcedures on upgrads and installs.

I also agree with the data retention and expungement.
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