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online backup with slapcat?

I am using openldap-2.2.15 on RHES3. We run an online backup of our LDAP server each night based on the output of ldapsearch. However, we are considering an offline backup using slapcat using:

stop slapd
start slapd

I like slapcat because it's fast and can be used to backup internal slapd attributes. However, the caveat to using slapcat is that it only works against a database that is closed.

Some questions:

1. is there a way to run slapcat against a live system, i.e., to perform an online backup?

2. if not, can we get near-slapcat speed and all of the internal attributes that slapcat can backup using ldapsearch or a comparable tool?

3. is there an even better way to backup openldap databases?