Understanding how IBM TDP for SAP for Oracle works with SAP DB to take online backups

IBM Tivoli Data Protection for SAP for Oracle  is integrated with the database-specific utilities of Oracle (RMAN) and SAP BRTools to protect the SAP system database, redo logs and other important operating system files. Data Protection for SAP improves the availability of SAP database servers and reduces administration workload with automated data protection features that are designed specifically for SAP environments.

Overview of IBM Tivoli Data Protection (TDP) for SAP for Oracle 

1) Data Protection for SAP and Tivoli Storage Manager provide a reliable, high performance, and production-oriented solution that enables back up and restore of Oracle-based SAP systems. It is integrated with SAP backup and recovery utilities BRBACKUP, BRARCHIVE, BRRESTORE, and BRRECOVER, and applies SAP backup and recovery procedures. Data Protection for SAP is optimized for SAP databases and therefore provides efficient management of large data volumes. Data Protection for SAP backs up and restores data files, control files, and online or offline redo logs. 

2) Other important files such as SAP and Oracle executable files can also be backed up using the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Backup-Archive Client. This is important and useful for disaster recovery purposes, as all SAP and Oracle executable files must be available before using Data Protection for SAP to restore and recover the database during disaster recovery scenario.

Also Read: How TDP for Oracle DB works with RMAN

3) The SAP database administration function provides four tools known as the BR*Tools for Oracle databases. These SAP database administration tools offer all the functions necessary to administer a database. Oracle also provides a Recovery Manager (RMAN) administration utility which is required to perform an incremental backup starting from TDP SAP Version 6.
  • BRBACKUP: Provides online or offline partial or full backups of tablespaces.
  • BRARCHIVE: Provides back ups of archived redo log files.
  • BRRESTORE: Provides system-guided restore of Oracle backups.
  • BRRECOVER: Provides recover capabilities.
TDP SAP for oracle overview

IBM Tivoli Data Protection for SAP integrates with SAP BR*Tools and Oracle RMAN utilities to provide unattended, 24-hour, 7-days-per-week production backup and restore tasks.

4) Although Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP for Oracle provides extensive storage capabilities, business-critical databases might demand even faster recovery operations. Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP and the IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager (formerly known as IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Advanced Copy Services) provide backup and restore capabilities for the SAP database on IBM FlashCopy devices such as storage (SAN) devices. These products can minimize downtime of the production systems by exploiting point-in-time copy functions exploited by these products.

5) Tivoli Data Protection for SAP also provides the Administration Assistant which is used
to increase administrator productivity. The Administration Assistant can control multiple instances of Data Protection for SAP, it communicates with Data Protection for SAP through TCP/IP, and typically resides on a different server. It is used to configure a Data Protection for SAP instance, monitor data transfer performance, monitor backup status of the SAP system, and monitor Tivoli Storage Manager server activity related to SAP. In addition, the Administration Assistant can remotely monitor and administer all Data Protection for SAP instances through an applet running on a Web browser.

IBM Tivoli Data Protection (TDP) for SAP Basic Functions and Features

Data Protection for SAP operates as an transparent link between Oracle and BR*Tools and Tivoli Storage Manager. Data Protection for SAP provides two adapters.

1) Backint Interface (initSID.bki)
Backint (initSID.bki) is an executable file which is called directly by SAP and is used to perform full database backups (online and offline) and also back ups control and redo log files.  The BR*Tools record the status of the Oracle data file backups and log file backups by using tables contained within the Oracle database and system data. This information enables SAP to automatically restore the correct data files and their specific database transaction log files (redo log files), if necessary. The data files reside in the Oracle database (Oracle Instance). Data Protection for SAP runs as a separate process, independently from the database. It receives the data through the BACKINT interface and saves the data to the Tivoli Storage Manager server.

Also Read: How IBM TDP for MSSQL Works ?

2) orasbt.dll
This shared media management library is dynamically linked by Oracle RMAN. When a backup is performed using this shared library, SAP communicates through Oracle RMAN instead of Data Protection for SAP. Incremental backups are also available when using RMAN with this shared library.

IBM Tivoli Data Protection (TDP) for SAP Basic Functions and Features

Both adapters share the initSID.utl profile file. This file contains information that describes how to perform backups and restores and can be customized for the Data Protection for SAP environment. Both adapters also communicate with the Tivoli Storage Manager server through an API that is shared with other IBM Data Protection products. These adapters require that the Data Protection for SAP ProLE background process is running.

Different types of Backup operations available in Tivoli Data Protection for SAP

To protect your SAP oracle database, you can use one of these backup strategies to backup the database and redo log files to TSM server storage.

SAP Database backup using SAP BRTOOLS utility
  • The SAP BR*Tools utility BRBACKUP informs Oracle which data is to be backed up. It then places the database in the proper 'online' or 'offline' backup state.
  • BRBACKUP calls Data Protection for SAP through the BACKINT interface with a list of all files to be backed up.
  • Data Protection for SAP reads all requested files from the database and reports back to BRBACKUP. BRBACKUP adds these files to the repository that contains all processed backups.
  • BACKINT saves the data to the Tivoli Storage Manager server.
  • The BR*Tools update the file repository with status information about the files.
Also Read: 11 tips to increase restore performance

 SAP Database backup using Oracle RMAN utility
  • The BR*Tools utility BRBACKUP informs Oracle RMAN which data is to be backed up. It then places the database in the proper online or offline backup state.
  • The Oracle server process loads Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP and communicates with it through the Oracle Media Management API.
  • Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP reads the requested data from the database and reports back to BRBACKUP. BRBACKUP adds this data to the repository that contains all processed backups.
  • Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP saves the data to the Tivoli Storage Manager server.
  • The BR*Tools update the file repository with status information about the data. RMAN uses a control file to maintain its own repository for a separate recovery catalog database.
For protecting large sized SAP databases, a special configuration for Tivoli Storage Manager for ERP can also be used to off-load backups to Tivoli Storage Manager from FlashCopy backups created with IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager.

Administration Assistant
1) Each system hosting an Administration Assistant component can be running UNIX, Linux, or Windows. Separate configuration files are maintained by the Server (assist.cfg) and Database Agent (dbagent.cfg) component. User profiles ensure that a client user can access the data of only those SAP database servers for which permission has been granted. 

2) An SAP system landscape generally contains several SAP systems, such as production, development, Quality and education systems. A single Administration Assistant Server component can monitor many SAP database servers. The Administration Assistant client is started from a browser by invoking the URL of the Server component host.

3) The Administration Assistant provides a number of feature that help you to configure, manage, and monitor the data protection environment.
  • Monitor Operations
  • View Performance Data
  • Simulate backup / restore
  • Configure of SAP systems backup profiles
  • Request problem support
  • Manage report templates
  • Administer users.

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