Oracle RMAN vs Export?

RMAN and export both backup tables, and they both support flashback database, but there are some important differences:

  • Data Pump Export (expdp) – The export utility is a “logical” backup, usually done by specifying specific schemas, tables or full.  If you fail to do a “consistent” export, or if you fail to include related tables and use RESTRICTED and CONSISTENT mode (with referential integrity constraints), you may not be able to recover properly.  Export is often used as a supplement to RMAN, usually for the restore of specific tables.
  • Recovery manager (rman) – RMAN is designed for backup and recovery, an extension of the Enterprise Backup Utility (EBU).  RMAN takes full, physical, consistent backups of your database files..

Advantages & disadvantages of Export:

  • Free, and easy to use
  • Very slow, compared to RMAN (examines every data block)
  • Easy restore of a specific table
  • Does not require ARCHIVELOG mode

Advantages & disadvantages of RMAN:

  • RMAN has block-level media recovery
  • Has a catalog for backup tracking and a report utility
  • Fast – If you dedicate a backup device for each production disk, you can backup terabytes in the time it takes to backup any single disk.
  • Does hot or cold backups
  • Backups and restores can be done in parallel
  • Allows incremental backups (block change tracking)
  • Interfaces with media management systems (TMS)