By default, control file autobackups are turned off, and no control file autobackups are performed. If CONFIGURE CONTROLFILE AUTOBACKUP is ON, then RMAN automatically backs up the control file and the current server parameter file (if used to start up the database) in one of two circumstances: when a successful backup must be recorded in the RMAN repository, and when a structural change to the database affects the contents of the control file which therefore must be backed up.
This means that the control file is backed up in the following situations:
After every BACKUP command issued at the RMAN prompt.
At the end of a RUN block, if the last command in the block was BACKUP.
The first channel allocated during the backup job creates the autobackup and places it into its own backup set. The control file autobackup may be written to disk or tape.
The control file is also automatically backed up after database structural changes such as adding a new tablespace, altering the state of a tablespace or datafile (for example, bringing it online), adding a new online redo log, renaming a file, adding a new redo thread, and so on. Losing this information would compromise your ability to recover the database.
This backup is performed by the server process itself, rather than one of the RMAN channels. This type of autobackup, unlike autobackups that occur after a successful backup, is always created on disk. You can use CONFIGURE CONTROLFILE AUTOBACKUP FOR DEVICE TYPE DISK to set the location for this disk based control file autobackup. Note that a failure of the automatic control file autobackup after a structural change never causes the associated structural change to fail. For example, if you add a datafile, and if the resulting control file autobackup fails, then the datafile addition is still successful.
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