|Oracle® Database Administrator's Guide
10g Release 2 (10.2)
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This chapter explains how to create and maintain the control files for your database and contains the following topics:
See Also:Part III, "Automated File and Storage Management" for information about creating control files that are both created and managed by the Oracle Database server
The database name
Names and locations of associated datafiles and redo log files
The timestamp of the database creation
The current log sequence number
The control file must be available for writing by the Oracle Database server whenever the database is open. Without the control file, the database cannot be mounted and recovery is difficult.
The control file of an Oracle Database is created at the same time as the database. By default, at least one copy of the control file is created during database creation. On some operating systems the default is to create multiple copies. You should create two or more copies of the control file during database creation. You can also create control files later, if you lose control files or want to change particular settings in the control files.
You specify control file names using the
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter in the database initialization parameter file (see "Creating Initial Control Files"). The instance recognizes and opens all the listed file during startup, and the instance writes to and maintains all listed control files during database operation.
If you do not specify files for
CONTROL_FILES before database creation:
If you are not using Oracle-managed files, then the database creates a control file and uses a default filename. The default name is operating system specific.
If you are using Oracle-managed files, then the initialization parameters you set to enable that feature determine the name and location of the control files, as described in Chapter 11, "Using Oracle-Managed Files".
If you are using Automatic Storage Management, you can place incomplete ASM filenames in the
DB_RECOVERY_FILE_DEST initialization parameters. ASM then automatically creates control files in the appropriate places. See "About ASM Filenames" and "Creating a Database in ASM" for more information.
Every Oracle Database should have at least two control files, each stored on a different physical disk. If a control file is damaged due to a disk failure, the associated instance must be shut down. Once the disk drive is repaired, the damaged control file can be restored using the intact copy of the control file from the other disk and the instance can be restarted. In this case, no media recovery is required.
The behavior of multiplexed control files is this:
The database writes to all filenames listed for the initialization parameter
CONTROL_FILES in the database initialization parameter file.
The database reads only the first file listed in the
CONTROL_FILES parameter during database operation.
If any of the control files become unavailable during database operation, the instance becomes inoperable and should be aborted.
Note:Oracle strongly recommends that your database has a minimum of two control files and that they are located on separate physical disks.
One way to multiplex control files is to store a control file copy on every disk drive that stores members of redo log groups, if the redo log is multiplexed. By storing control files in these locations, you minimize the risk that all control files and all groups of the redo log will be lost in a single disk failure.
It is very important that you back up your control files. This is true initially, and every time you change the physical structure of your database. Such structural changes include:
Adding, dropping, or renaming datafiles
Adding or dropping a tablespace, or altering the read/write state of the tablespace
Adding or dropping redo log files or groups
The methods for backing up control files are discussed in "Backing Up Control Files".
The main determinants of the size of a control file are the values set for the
MAXINSTANCES parameters in the
CREATE DATABASE statement that created the associated database. Increasing the values of these parameters increases the size of a control file of the associated database.
Your operating system specific Oracle documentation contains more information about the maximum control file size.
Oracle Database SQL Reference for a description of the
CREATE DATABASE statement
This section describes ways to create control files, and contains the following topics:
The initial control files of an Oracle Database are created when you issue the
CREATE DATABASE statement. The names of the control files are specified by the
CONTROL_FILES parameter in the initialization parameter file used during database creation. The filenames specified in
CONTROL_FILES should be fully specified and are operating system specific. The following is an example of a
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter:
CONTROL_FILES = (/u01/oracle/prod/control01.ctl, /u02/oracle/prod/control02.ctl, /u03/oracle/prod/control03.ctl)
If files with the specified names currently exist at the time of database creation, you must specify the
CONTROLFILE REUSE clause in the
CREATE DATABASE statement, or else an error occurs. Also, if the size of the old control file differs from the
SIZE parameter of the new one, you cannot use the
The size of the control file changes between some releases of Oracle Database, as well as when the number of files specified in the control file changes. Configuration parameters such as
MAXINSTANCES affect control file size.
You can subsequently change the value of the
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter to add more control files or to change the names or locations of existing control files.
See Also:Your operating system specific Oracle documentation contains more information about specifying control files.
You can create an additional control file copy for multiplexing by copying an existing control file to a new location and adding the file name to the list of control files. Similarly, you rename an existing control file by copying the file to its new name or location, and changing the file name in the control file list. In both cases, to guarantee that control files do not change during the procedure, shut down the database before copying the control file.
To add a multiplexed copy of the current control file or to rename a control file:
Shut down the database.
Copy an existing control file to a new location, using operating system commands.
CONTROL_FILES parameter in the database initialization parameter file to add the new control file name, or to change the existing control filename.
Restart the database.
This section discusses when and how to create new control files.
It is necessary for you to create new control files in the following situations:
All control files for the database have been permanently damaged and you do not have a control file backup.
You want to change the database name.
For example, you would change a database name if it conflicted with another database name in a distributed environment.
Note:You can change the database name and DBID (internal database identifier) using the DBNEWID utility. See Oracle Database Utilities for information about using this utility.
The compatibility level is set to a value that is earlier than 10.2.0, and you must make a change to an area of database configuration that relates to any of the following parameters from the
MAXINSTANCES. If compatibility is 10.2.0 or later, you do not have to create new control files when you make such a change; the control files automatically expand, if necessary, to accommodate the new configuration information.
For example, assume that when you created the database or recreated the control files, you set
MAXLOGFILES to 3. Suppose that now you want to add a fourth redo log file group to the database with the
ALTER DATABASE command. If compatibility is set to 10.2.0 or later, you can do so and the controlfiles automatically expand to accommodate the new logfile information. However, with compatibility set earlier than 10.2.0, your
ALTER DATABASE command would generate an error, and you would have to first create new control files.
For information on compatibility level, see "The COMPATIBLE Initialization Parameter and Irreversible Compatibility".
You can create a new control file for a database using the
CREATE CONTROLFILE statement. The following statement creates a new control file for the
prod database (a database that formerly used a different database name):
CREATE CONTROLFILE SET DATABASE prod LOGFILE GROUP 1 ('/u01/oracle/prod/redo01_01.log', '/u01/oracle/prod/redo01_02.log'), GROUP 2 ('/u01/oracle/prod/redo02_01.log', '/u01/oracle/prod/redo02_02.log'), GROUP 3 ('/u01/oracle/prod/redo03_01.log', '/u01/oracle/prod/redo03_02.log') RESETLOGS DATAFILE '/u01/oracle/prod/system01.dbf' SIZE 3M, '/u01/oracle/prod/rbs01.dbs' SIZE 5M, '/u01/oracle/prod/users01.dbs' SIZE 5M, '/u01/oracle/prod/temp01.dbs' SIZE 5M MAXLOGFILES 50 MAXLOGMEMBERS 3 MAXLOGHISTORY 400 MAXDATAFILES 200 MAXINSTANCES 6 ARCHIVELOG;
CREATE CONTROLFILE statement can potentially damage specified datafiles and redo log files. Omitting a filename can cause loss of the data in that file, or loss of access to the entire database. Use caution when issuing this statement and be sure to follow the instructions in "Steps for Creating New Control Files".
If the database had forced logging enabled before creating the new control file, and you want it to continue to be enabled, then you must specify the
FORCE LOGGING clause in the
CREATE CONTROLFILE statement. See "Specifying FORCE LOGGING Mode".
See Also:Oracle Database SQL Reference describes the complete syntax of the
Complete the following steps to create a new control file.
Make a list of all datafiles and redo log files of the database.
If you follow recommendations for control file backups as discussed in "Backing Up Control Files" , you will already have a list of datafiles and redo log files that reflect the current structure of the database. However, if you have no such list, executing the following statements will produce one.
SELECT MEMBER FROM V$LOGFILE; SELECT NAME FROM V$DATAFILE; SELECT VALUE FROM V$PARAMETER WHERE NAME = 'control_files';
If you have no such lists and your control file has been damaged so that the database cannot be opened, try to locate all of the datafiles and redo log files that constitute the database. Any files not specified in step 5 are not recoverable once a new control file has been created. Moreover, if you omit any of the files that make up the
SYSTEM tablespace, you might not be able to recover the database.
Shut down the database.
If the database is open, shut down the database normally if possible. Use the
ABORT clauses only as a last resort.
When creating a new control file, specify the
RESETLOGS clause if you have lost any redo log groups in addition to control files. In this case, you will need to recover from the loss of the redo logs (step 8). You must specify the
RESETLOGS clause if you have renamed the database. Otherwise, select the
Store a backup of the new control file on an offline storage device. See "Backing Up Control Files" for instructions for creating a backup.
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter for the database to indicate all of the control files now part of your database as created in step 5 (not including the backup control file). If you are renaming the database, edit the
DB_NAME parameter in your instance parameter file to specify the new name.
Recover the database if necessary. If you are not recovering the database, skip to step 9.
If you are creating the control file as part of recovery, recover the database. If the new control file was created using the
NORESETLOGS clause (step 5), you can recover the database with complete, closed database recovery.
If the new control file was created using the
RESETLOGS clause, you must specify
USING BACKUP CONTROL FILE. If you have lost online or archived redo logs or datafiles, use the procedures for recovering those files.
See Also:Oracle Database Backup and Recovery Basics and Oracle Database Backup and Recovery Advanced User's Guide for information about recovering your database and methods of recovering a lost control file
If you did not perform recovery, or you performed complete, closed database recovery in step 8, open the database normally.
ALTER DATABASE OPEN;
If you specified
RESETLOGS when creating the control file, use the
ALTER DATABASE statement, indicating
ALTER DATABASE OPEN RESETLOGS;
The database is now open and available for use.
After issuing the
CREATE CONTROLFILE statement, you may encounter some errors. This section describes the most common control file errors:
After creating a new control file and using it to open the database, check the alert log to see if the database has detected inconsistencies between the data dictionary and the control file, such as a datafile in the data dictionary includes that the control file does not list.
If a datafile exists in the data dictionary but not in the new control file, the database creates a placeholder entry in the control file under the name
nnnn is the file number in decimal.
nnnn is flagged in the control file as being offline and requiring media recovery.
If the actual datafile corresponding to
nnnn is read-only or offline normal, then you can make the datafile accessible by renaming
nnnn to the name of the actual datafile. If
nnnn corresponds to a datafile that was not read-only or offline normal, then you cannot use the rename operation to make the datafile accessible, because the datafile requires media recovery that is precluded by the results of
RESETLOGS. In this case, you must drop the tablespace containing the datafile.
Conversely, if a datafile listed in the control file is not present in the data dictionary, then the database removes references to it from the new control file. In both cases, the database includes an explanatory message in the alert log to let you know what was found.
If Oracle Database sends you an error (usually error
ORA-01216) when you attempt to mount and open the database after creating a new control file, the most likely cause is that you omitted a file from the
CREATE CONTROLFILE statement or included one that should not have been listed. In this case, you should restore the files you backed up in step 3 and repeat the procedure from step 4, using the correct filenames.
ALTER DATABASE BACKUP CONTROLFILE statement to back up your control files. You have two options:
Back up the control file to a binary file (duplicate of existing control file) using the following statement:
ALTER DATABASE BACKUP CONTROLFILE TO '/oracle/backup/control.bkp';
Produce SQL statements that can later be used to re-create your control file:
ALTER DATABASE BACKUP CONTROLFILE TO TRACE;
This command writes a SQL script to the database trace file where it can be captured and edited to reproduce the control file.
See Also:Oracle Database Backup and Recovery Basics for more information on backing up your control files
This section presents ways that you can recover your control file from a current backup or from a multiplexed copy.
This procedure assumes that one of the control files specified in the
CONTROL_FILES parameter is corrupted, that the control file directory is still accessible, and that you have a multiplexed copy of the control file.
With the instance shut down, use an operating system command to overwrite the bad control file with a good copy:
% cp /u03/oracle/prod/control03.ctl /u02/oracle/prod/control02.ctl
Start SQL*Plus and open the database:
This procedure assumes that one of the control files specified in the
CONTROL_FILES parameter is inaccessible due to a permanent media failure and that you have a multiplexed copy of the control file.
With the instance shut down, use an operating system command to copy the current copy of the control file to a new, accessible location:
% cp /u01/oracle/prod/control01.ctl /u04/oracle/prod/control03.ctl
CONTROL_FILES parameter in the initialization parameter file to replace the bad location with the new location:
CONTROL_FILES = (/u01/oracle/prod/control01.ctl, /u02/oracle/prod/control02.ctl, /u04/oracle/prod/control03.ctl)
Start SQL*Plus and open the database:
If you have multiplexed control files, you can get the database started up quickly by editing the
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter. Remove the bad control file from
CONTROL_FILES setting and you can restart the database immediately. Then you can perform the reconstruction of the bad control file and at some later time shut down and restart the database after editing the
CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter to include the recovered control file.
You want to drop control files from the database, for example, if the location of a control file is no longer appropriate. Remember that the database should have at least two control files at all times.
Shut down the database.
CONTROL_FILES parameter in the database initialization parameter file to delete the old control file name.
Restart the database.
Note:This operation does not physically delete the unwanted control file from the disk. Use operating system commands to delete the unnecessary file after you have dropped the control file from the database.
The following views display information about control files:
||Displays database information from the control file|
||Lists the names of control files|
||Displays information about control file record sections|
||Displays the names of control files as specified in the
This example lists the names of the control files.
SQL> SELECT NAME FROM V$CONTROLFILE; NAME ------------------------------------- /u01/oracle/prod/control01.ctl /u02/oracle/prod/control02.ctl /u03/oracle/prod/control03.ctl