Choose a backup scheme according to an acceptable MTTR (mean time to recover). For example, you can implement a three-level backup scheme so that a full or level 0 backup is taken monthly, a cumulative level 1 is taken weekly, and a differential level 1 is taken daily. In this scheme, you never have to apply more than a day's worth of redo for complete recovery.
When deciding how often to take full or level 0 backups, a good rule of thumb is to take a new level 0 whenever 20% or more of the data has changed. If the rate of change to your database is predictable, then you can observe the size of your incremental backups to determine when a new level 0 is appropriate. The following query displays the number of blocks written to a backup set for each datafile with at least 50% of its blocks backed up:
SELECT FILE#, INCREMENTAL_LEVEL, COMPLETION_TIME, BLOCKS, DATAFILE_BLOCKS FROM V$BACKUP_DATAFILE WHERE INCREMENTAL_LEVEL > 0 AND BLOCKS / DATAFILE_BLOCKS > .5 ORDER BY COMPLETION_TIME;
Compare the number of blocks in differential or cumulative backups to a base level 0 backup. For example, if you only create level 1 cumulative backups, then take a new level 0 backup when the most recent level 1 backup is about half of the size of the base level 0 backup.
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