8 Common RMAN Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 15 March 2023

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Data recovery tools aid in restoring deleted, unreadable, lost, corrupted, damaged or formatted data, and Oracle Recovery Manager (Oracle RMAN) is a utility that professionals can use to recover data. Most industries hire database managers and other tech experts to handle the storage, organisation and recovery of data. Learning what questions, you can expect from hiring managers involving Oracle RMAN can help you in the interview process. In this article, we provide a list of in-depth RMAN interview questions, share sample responses to help you draft your own and offer tips to help you prepare.

8 RMAN Interview Questions And Example Answers

Reviewing RMAN interview questions that prospective employers might ask can prove useful in preparing for the interview round of the job application process. These questions help hiring managers determine your skills, knowledge, experience and expertise in the field. Here are a few questions and their example answers that can help you get ready for the interview:

1. What is RMAN and how do you install it?

Your interviewers may ask you this question to gauge whether you possess a basic understanding of the tool. Consider explaining what the term means and the functions it performs.

Example answer: 'RMAN, or recovery manager, is an Oracle Database client that automates the management of your backup plans and executes backup and recovery operations on your databases. RMAN streamlines the job of database administrators by controlling the backup, restoration and recovery of the production database's files. This tool connects with sessions operating on an Oracle database to conduct a variety of backup and recovery tasks, including maintaining an RMAN repository of historical backup data.

Oracle RMAN does not require any additional installation. The program installs itself, by default, along with the Oracle database. You can use the tools and databases that are part of the RMAN environment for data backup. RMAN is accessible via Oracle Enterprise Manager or the command line.'

2. What are consistent and inconsistent backups in RMAN?

Your interviewers may ask you this question to test your understanding of the backup process and to see if you are suitable for the role. Provide a concise answer that describes what the terms mean.

Example answer: 'When the database is in a consistent condition, a consistent backup takes place. This refers to a backup of the database that occurs after a transactional, normal or immediate shutdown. A consistent backup is not possible if you shut down the database using the abort option. An inconsistent backup is one that RMAN generates while the database is operational. Oracle typically executes media recovery before it can open a database restored from an inconsistent backup to implement any outstanding modifications from redo logs. When the database is in noarchivelog mode, you cannot create an inconsistent backup.'

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3. How does RMAN work?

Interviewers may ask this question to determine if you possess a working knowledge of RMAN and gauge your level of expertise. Try to demonstrate your proficiency in Oracle recovery manager by providing a detailed answer.

Example answer: 'The RMAN client manages RMAN backup and recovery operations for a target database. It utilises the target database control file to hold information about its operations and also to collect metadata about the target database. RMAN allocates server sessions on the target instance and instructs them to execute the operations when you connect the RMAN client to a target database. The target database's server sessions handle the work of backup and recovery. By launching a server session on the target or auxiliary database instance, a channel creates a link between the RMAN client and the instance.

The RMAN client can establish a connection to the target database to complete a database backup. You can instal the RMAN client on any host linked to the target host using Oracle Net, which can connect to a target database. You assign an explicit or implicit channel for backup to the selected database. An RMAN channel is equivalent to one database server session and represents one stream of data to a device. This session dynamically gathers information about the files from the target database control file before creating a backup or while restoring.'

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4. What is a snapshot control file, and why does RMAN create one?

This is a basic question related to RMAN that interviewers may ask you to gauge whether you possess a strong understanding of the various components of the subject. Explain what you know about the term in a brief answer.

Example answer: 'The snapshot control file is a copy of a database control file that RMAN makes at a location that is particular to the operating system. RMAN prepares the snapshot control file to maintain a consistent control file to use for either re-syncing the recovery catalogue or backing up the control file.'

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5. What does the term database incarnation mean?

The interviewer might ask you this question to understand if you know what a new incarnation in RMAN means. In your response, define the term briefly and demonstrate your understanding of it.

Example answer: 'When you access the database after any incomplete recovery or recovery using a backup control file, you can reset the online redo logs. An updated reset database is the new database incarnation. The reset database command instructs RMAN to add a new database incarnation record to the recovery catalogue. It lists the most recent incarnation in this new incarnation record.'

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6. What are the files that RMAN can and cannot back up?

Interviewers may want to know how knowledgeable you are regarding RMAN's limitations. Prepare a concise answer to this question that focuses on the key details.

Example answer: 'RMAN's BACKUP command supports backing up database files, including data files, control files and the server parameter file (SPFILE) and archived redo logs. It can also create copies of previous backups that RMAN has created, such as data file and control file image copies and backup sets consisting of SPFILEs, control files, data files and archived logs. RMAN cannot create the backup of the pfile, redo logs, network configuration files, password files, external tables and the contents of the Oracle home files.'

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7. Share an instance where you experienced a loss of data. How did you handle the situation?

Interviewers frequently ask this question during interviews to learn how candidates can handle potential issues, comprehend their recovery processes and gauge their suitability for high-pressure work environments. You can use the STAR method to explain the situation, task and action you took and the result you got. This is an effective way to respond to this kind of question. If possible, provide an example to show how you managed to rectify the problem.

Example answer: "Any time I start a data migration assignment, I make extensive backups and check them for loss or damage. Possessing a proper backup helps solve the issue if data loss occurs. After carrying out a test migration, I once found that the data was not transferring properly throughout the system. On troubleshooting, I found the client's database had become corrupt. I had overlooked numerous instances of duplicate file names used for a variety of purposes.

I combined Oracle Data Recovery Advisor (DRA) with Oracle Recovery Manager (RMAN) to address the data corruption issue, and I successfully recovered the files."

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8. Have you ever faced a conflicting situation at your workplace? What happened, and how did you resolve it?

Interviewers may want to know how you handle conflicts and solve problems to help them determine whether you are fit for the role. This can be a great way to demonstrate your communication, time and project management, problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Include an instance when you successfully handled the situation.

Example answer: "A project I once worked on included strict time constraints. The team wanted to optimise our process, but my teammate and I had different opinions about the methods. I asked my teammate why he thought his approach was preferable before presenting my own. After this exchange of ideas, I understood that the difference between our methods was that we each focused on our own proficiencies.

We divided the tasks between us based on our areas of expertise so that both of us were able to use our preferred techniques without hindering our productivity. We finished the project on schedule."

Tips To Prepare For An Interview

Here are a few tips that can help you during an interview:

  • Revise the general material available on RMAN to ensure that you remember the key elements.

  • Practise using RMAN and the relevant associated technologies to help you succeed in the practical portion of the interview.

  • Review interview questions that hiring managers might ask, including questions that might not apply to RMAN, such as general questions, brainteasers and questions regarding your education and salary expectations.

  • Prepare your answers and practise them in front of a mirror to help boost your confidence.

  • Attend mock interviews to familiarise yourself with the interview process.

  • Stay up to date on industry trends and the latest developments in technology.

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Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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