A Data Guard configuration consists of one production database and one or more standby databases. The databases in a Data Guard configuration are connected by Oracle Net and may be dispersed geographically. There are no restrictions on where the databases are located, provided they can communicate with each other. For example, you can have a standby database on the same system as the production database, along with two standby databases on other systems at remote locations.
You can manage primary and standby databases using the SQL command-line interfaces or the Data Guard broker interfaces, including a command-line interface (DGMGRL) and a graphical user interface that is integrated in Oracle Enterprise Manager.
A Data Guard configuration contains one production database, also referred to as the primary database, that functions in the primary role. This is the database that is accessed by most of your applications.
The primary database can be either a single-instance Oracle database or an Oracle Real Application Clusters database.
A standby database is a transactionally consistent copy of the primary database. Using a backup copy of the primary database, you can create up to nine standby databases and incorporate them in a Data Guard configuration. Once created, Data Guard automatically maintains each standby database by transmitting redo data from the primary database and then applying the redo to the standby database.
Similar to a primary database, a standby database can be either a single-instance Oracle database or an Oracle Real Application Clusters database.
A standby database can be either a physical standby database or a logical standby database:
Physical standby database: Provides a physically identical copy of the primary database, with on disk database structures that are identical to the primary database on a block-for-block basis. The database schema, including indexes, are the same. A physical standby database is kept synchronized with the primary database, though Redo Apply, which recovers the redo data received from the primary database and applies the redo to the physical standby database.
A physical standby database can be used for business purposes other than disaster recovery on a limited basis.
Logical standby database: Contains the same logical information as the production database, although the physical organization and structure of the data can be different. The logical standby database is kept synchronized with the primary database though SQL Apply, which transforms the data in the redo received from the primary database into SQL statements and then executing the SQL statements on the standby database.
A logical standby database can be used for other business purposes in addition to disaster recovery requirements. This allows users to access a logical standby database for queries and reporting purposes at any time. Also, using a logical standby database, you can upgrade Oracle Database software and patch sets with almost no downtime. Thus, a logical standby database can be used concurrently for data protection, reporting, and database upgrades.
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