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Put your database in archive log mode, and use RMAN to take hot backups. RAC is not required - RAC is a completely different solution for a completely different problem.
You didn't tell us your version, so here is the most recent (11.2) backup and recovery User's Guide: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/backup.112/e10642/toc.htm
Thanks Brian, Apologies for not mentioning version.Its 11gR2 on AIX 6.1. Will it be helpful if we use Secure backup ? Will it allow to take backup on tape without bringing down the instance?
What do you use today to get the cold backup to tape? Oracle Secure backup, as I understand it, is that "media management" layer. Similar products are Legato Networked and Symantec Netbackup. Any of these will work with RMAN and a database configured for archive logging to hot (no downtime) backup to tape. Secure Backup is not the magic piece that enables hot backup... rman and archive logging is.1 person found this helpful