25 Using DBFS

The DBFS File System implementation includes creating and accessing the file system and managing it.


DBFS Installation

DBFS is a part of the Oracle database installation and is installed under ORACLE_HOME.

$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin contains these DBFS utility scripts:

  • Content API (CAPI)

  • SecureFiles Store (SFS)

$ORACLE_HOME/bin contains:

  • dbfs_client executable

$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin contains:

  • SQL (.plb extension) scripts for the content store

Creating a DBFS File System

A DBFS File system can be partitioned or non-partitioned. It may require users to have certain privileges.


Privileges Required to Create a DBFS File System

Database users must have a minimum set of privileges to create a file system.

Users must have these privileges:






Advantages of Non-Partitioned Versus Partitioned DBFS File Systems

You can create either non-partitioned or partitioned file systems. Partitioning is the best performing and most scalable way to create a file system in DBFS and is the default.

Space cannot be shared between partitions, so it is possible for one partition to run out of space even when other partitions have space. This is usually not an issue if the file system size is big compared to the size of the individual files. However, if file sizes are a big percentage of the file system size, it may result in the ENOSPC error even if the file system is not full.

Another implication of partitioning is that a rename operation can require rewriting the file, which can be expensive if the file is big.

Creating a Non-Partitioned File System

You can create a file system by running DBFS_CREATE_FILESYSTEM.SQL while logged in as a user with DBFS administrator privileges.

These steps enable you to create a file system.

  1. Log in to the database instance:
    $ sqlplus dbfs_user/@db_server
  2. Enter the following command:
    @$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbfs_create_filesystem.sql tablespace_name

For example, to create a file system called staging_area in an existing tablespace dbfs_tbspc:

$ sqlplus dbfs_user/db_server
   dbfs_tbspc staging_area

Creating a Partitioned File System

Partitioning creates multiple physical segments in the database, and files are distributed randomly in these partitions.

You can create a partitioned file system by running DBFS_CREATE_FILESYSTEM_ADVANCED.SQL while logged in as a user with DBFS administrator privileges.

  1. Log in to the database instance:
    $ sqlplus dbfs_user/@db_server
  2. Enter the following command:
    @$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbfs_create_filesystem_advanced.sql tablespace_name
           file_system_name nocompress nodeduplicate noencrypt partition

For example, to create a partitioned file system called staging_area in an existing tablespace dbfs_tbspc:

$ sqlplus dbfs_user/@db_server  
       @$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbfs_create_filesystem_advanced.sql dbfs_tbspc
       staging_area nocompress nodeduplicate noencrypt partition

Dropping a File System

You can drop a file system by running DBFS_DROP_FILESYSTEM.SQL.

  1. Log in to the database instance:
    $ sqlplus dbfs_user/@db_server
  2. Enter the following command:
    @$ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin/dbfs_drop_filesystem.sql file_system_name

DBFS File System Access

You access a DBFS file system by means of prerequisites, access interfaces, the DBFS security model, and XML DB server protocols.


DBFS Client Prerequisites

The DBFS File System Client, which is named dbfs_client, runs on each system that will access DBFS filesystems, using certain prerequisites.

The prerequisites for the DBFS File System Client, dbfs_client, are:

  • The dbfs_client host must have the Oracle client libraries installed.

  • The dbfs_client can be used as a direct RDBMS client using the DBFS Command Interface on Linux, Linux.X64, Solaris, Solaris64, AIX, HPUX and Windows platforms.

  • The dbfs_client can only be used as a mount client on Linux, Linux.X64, and Solaris 11 platforms. This requires the following:

    • dbfs_client host must have the FUSE Linux package or the Solaris libfuse package installed.

    • A group named fuse must be created, with the user name that runs the dbfs_client as a member.

    See "DBFS Mounting Interface (Linux and Solaris Only)" for further details.

DBFS Client Command-Line Interface Operations

The DBFS client command-line interface allows you to directly access files stored in DBFS.


About the DBFS Client Command-Line Interface

The DBFS client command-line interface allows you to perform many pre-defined commands, such as copy files in and out of the DBFS filesystem from any host on the network.

The command-line interface has slightly better performance than the DBFS client mount interface because it does not mount the file system, thus bypassing the user space file system. However, it is not transparent to applications.

The DBFS client mount interface allows DBFS to be mounted through a file system mount point thus providing transparent access to files stored in DBFS with generic file system operations.

To run DBFS commands, specify --command to the DBFS client.

Creating Content Store Paths

You can create a content store path by providing a path name

All DBFS content store paths must be preceded by dbfs: .This is an example: dbfs:/staging_area/file1. All database path names specified must be absolute paths.

dbfs_client db_user@db_server --command command [switches] [arguments]


  • command is the executable command, such as ls, cp, mkdir, or rm.

  • switches are specific for each command.

  • arguments are file names or directory names, and are specific for each command.

Note that dbfs_client returns a nonzero value in case of failure.

Creating a Directory

You can use the mkdir command to create a new directory.

Use this syntax:

dbfs_client db_user@db_server --command mkdir directory_name


  • directory_name is the name of the directory created. For example:

    $ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command mkdir dbfs:/staging_area/dir1

Listing a Directory

You can use the ls command to list the contents of a directory.

Use this syntax:

dbfs_client db_user@db_server --command ls [switches] target


  • target is the listed directory.

  • switches is any combination of the following:

    • -a shows all files, including '.' and '..'.

    • -l shows the long listing format: name of each file, the file type, permissions, and size.

    • -R lists subdirectories recursively.

For example:

$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command  ls dbfs:/staging_area/dir1


$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command  ls -l -a -R dbfs:/staging_area/dir1 

Copying Files and Directories

You can use the cp command to copy files or directories from the source location to the destination location.

The cp command also supports recursive copy of directories.

dbfs_client db_user@db_server --command cp [switches] source destination


  • source is the source location.

  • destination is the destination location.

  • switches is either -R or -r, the options to recursively copy all source contents into the destination directory.

The following example copies the contents of the local directory, 01-01-10-dump recursively into a directory in DBFS:

$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command cp -R  01-01-10-dump dbfs:/staging_area/

The following example copies the file hello.txt from DBFS to a local file Hi.txt:

$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command cp dbfs:/staging_area/hello.txt Hi.txt

Removing Files and Directories

You can use the command rm to delete a file or directory.

The command rm also supports recursive delete of directories.

dbfs_client db_user@db_server --command rm [switches] target


  • target is the listed directory.

  • switches is either -R or -r, the options to recursively delete all contents.

For example:

$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command rm  dbfs:/staging_area/srcdir/hello.txt


$ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString --command rm -R  dbfs:/staging_area/dir1

DBFS Mounting Interface (Linux and Solaris Only)

You can mount DBFS using the dbfs_client in Linux and Solaris only.

The instructions indicate the different requirements for the Linux and Solaris platforms.


Installing FUSE on Solaris 11 SRU7 and Later

You can use dbfs_client as a mount client in Solaris 11 SRU7 and later, if you install FUSE

Install FUSE to use dbfs_client as a mount client in Solaris 11 SRU7 and later.

  • Run the following package as root.

    pkg install libfuse

Mounting the DBFS Store

You can mount the DBFS store by running the dbfs_client program.

To run the dbfs_client program.

  1. Ensure that LD_LIBRARY_PATH has the correct path to the Oracle client libraries.
  2. Run the dbfs_client program.

The dbfs_client program does not return until the file system is unmounted.

For the most secure method of specifying the password, see "Using Oracle Wallet with DBFS Client".

Solaris-Specific Privileges

On Solaris, the user must have the Solaris privilege PRIV_SYS_MOUNT to perform mount and unmount operations on DBFS filesystems.

Give the user the Solaris privilege PRIV_SYS_MOUNT .

  1. Edit /etc/user_attr.

  2. Add or modify the user entry (assuming the user is Oracle) as follows:

    oracle::::type=normal;project=group.dba;defaultpriv=basic,priv_sys_mount;;auth s=solaris.smf.*

About the Mount Command for Solaris and Linux

The dbfs_client mount command for Solaris and Linux uses specific syntax.


dbfs_client db_user@db_server [-o option_1 -o option_2 ...] mount_point

where the mandatory parameters are:

  • db_user is the name of the database user who owns the DBFS content store file system.

  • db_server is a valid connect string to the Oracle Database server, such as hrdb_host:1521/hrservice.

  • mount_point is the path where the Database File System is mounted. Note that all file systems owned by the database user are visible at the mount point.

The options are:

  • direct_io: To bypass the OS page cache and provide improved performance for large files. Programs in the file system cannot be executed with this option. Oracle recommends this option when DBFS is used as an ETL staging area.

  • wallet: To run the DBFS client in the background. The Wallet must be configured to get its credentials.

  • failover: To fail over the DBFS client to surviving database instances without data loss. Expect some performance cost on writes, especially for small files.

  • allow_root: To allow the root user to access the filesystem. You must set the user_allow_other parameter in the /etc/fuse.conf configuration file.

  • allow_other: To allow other users to access the filesystem. You must set the user_allow_other parameter in the /etc/fuse.conf configuration file.

  • rw: To mount the filesystem as read-write. This is the default setting.

  • ro: To mount the filesystem as read-only. Files cannot be modified.

  • trace_level=n sets the trace level. Trace levels are:

    • 1 DEBUG

    • 2 INFO

    • 3 WARNING

    • 4 ERROR: The default tracing level. It outputs diagnostic information only when an error happens. It is recommended that this tracing level is always enabled.

    • 5 CRITICAL

  • trace_file=STR: Specifies the tracing log file, where STR can be either a file_name or syslog.

  • trace_size=trcfile_size: Specifies size of the trace file in MB. By default, dbfs_client rotates tracing output between two 10MB files. Specifying 0 for trace_size sets the maximum size of the trace file to unlimited.

Mounting a File System with a Wallet

You can mount a file system with a wallet after configuring various environment variables.

You must first configure the LD_LIBRARY_PATH and ORACLE_HOME environment variables correctly before mounting a file system with a wallet. See "Using Oracle Wallet with DBFS Client."

  1. Login as admin user.
  2. Mount the DBFS store. (Oracle recommends that you do not perform this step as root user.)
    % dbfs_client @/dbfsdb -o wallet,rw,user,direct_io /mnt/dbfs
  3. [Optional] To test if the previous step was successful, as admin user, list the dbfs directory.
    $ ls /mnt/tdbfs

Mounting a File System with Password at Command Prompt

You can mount a file system using dbfs_client.

You must enter a password on the command prompt to mount a file system using dbfs_client.

  • Run the following:

    $ dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString /mnt/dbfs
      password: xxxxxxx

Mounting a File System with Password Read from a File

You can mount a file system with a password read from a file.

The following example mounts a file system and frees the terminal. It reads the password from a file:

  • Run the following:

    $ nohup dbfs_client ETLUser@DBConnectString /mnt/dbfs < passwordfile.f &
    $ ls -l /mnt/dbfs
    drwxrwxrwx 10 root root 0 Feb  9 17:28 staging_area

Unmounting a File System

In Linux, you can run fusermount to unmount file systems.

To run fusermount in Linux, do the following:

  • Run the following:

     $ fusermount -u <mount point>

In Solaris, you can run umount to unmount file systems.

  • Run the following:

     $ umount -u <mount point>

Mounting DBFS Through fstab Utility for Linux

In Linux, you can configure fstab utility to use dbfs_client to mount a DBFS filesystem.

To mount DBFS through /etc/fstab, you must use Oracle Wallet for authentication.

  1. Login as root user.
  2. Change the user and group of dbfs_client to user root and group fuse.
    # chown root.fuse $ORACLE_HOME/bin/dbfs_client
  3. Set the setuid bit on dbfs_client and restrict execute privileges to the user and group only.
    # chmod u+rwxs,g+rx-w,o-rwx dbfs_client
  4. Create a symbolic link to dbfs_client in /sbin as "mount.dbfs".
    $ ln -s $ORACLE_HOME/bin/dbfs_client /sbin/mount.dbfs
  5. Create a new Linux group called "fuse".
  6. Add the Linux user that is running the DBFS Client to the fuse group.
  7. Add the following line to /etc/fstab:
    /sbin/mount.dbfs#db_user@db_server mount_point fuse rw,user,noauto 0 0

    For example:

    /sbin/mount.dbfs#/@DBConnectString /mnt/dbfs fuse rw,user,noauto 0 0
  8. The Linux user can mount the DBFS file system using the standard Linux mount command. For example:
    $ mount /mnt/dbfs

    Note that FUSE does not currently support automount.

Mounting DBFS Through the vfstab Utility for Solaris

On Solaris, file systems are commonly configured using the vfstab utility.

  1. Create a mount shell script mount_dbfs.sh to use to start dbfs_client. All the environment variables that are required for Oracle RDBMS must be exported. These environment variables include TNS_ADMIN, ORACLE_HOME, and LD_LIBRARY_PATH. For example:
    export TNS_ADMIN=/export/home/oracle/dbfs/tnsadmin
    export ORACLE_HOME=/export/home/oracle/11.2.0/dbhome_1
    export DBFS_USER=dbfs_user
    export DBFS_PASSWD=/tmp/passwd.f
    export DBFS_DB_CONN=dbfs_db
    export O=$ORACLE_HOME
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$O/lib:$O/rdbms/lib:/usr/lib:/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    export NOHUP_LOG=/tmp/dbfs.nohup
    (nohup $ORACLE_HOME/bin/dbfs_client $DBFS_USER@$DBFS_DB_CONN < $DBFS_PASSWD
             2>&1 & ) &
  2. Add an entry for DBFS to /etc/vfstab. Specify the mount_dbfs.sh script for the device_to_mount. Specify uvfs for the FS_type. Specify no formount_at_boot. Specify mount options as needed. For example:
    /usr/local/bin/mount_dbfs.sh - /mnt/dbfs uvfs - no rw,allow_other
  3. User can mount the DBFS file system using the standard Solaris mount command. For example:
    $ mount /mnt/dbfs
  4. User can unmount the DBFS file system using the standard Solaris umount command. For example:
    $ umount /mnt/dbfs

Restrictions on Mounted File Systems

DBFS supports most file system operations with exceptions. Exceptions are:

  • ioctl

  • range locking (file locking is supported)

  • asynchronous I/O through libaio

  • O_DIRECT file opens

  • hard links, pipes

  • other special file modes

Memory-mapped files are supported except in shared-writable mode. For performance reasons, DBFS does not update the file access time every time file data or the file data attributes are read.

You cannot run programs from a DBFS-mounted file system if the direct_io option is specified.

Oracle does not support exporting DBFS file systems using NFS or Samba.

File System Security Model

The database manages security in DBFS. It does not use the operating system security model.

About the File System Security Model

DBFS operates under a security model where all file systems created by a user are private to that user, by default.

Oracle recommends maintaining this model. Because operating system users and Oracle Database users are different, it is possible to allow multiple operating system users to mount a single DBFS filesystem. These mounts may potentially have different mount options and permissions. For example, user1 may mount a DBFS filesystem as READ ONLY, and user2 may mount it as READ WRITE. However, Oracle Database views both users as having the same privileges because they would be accessing the filesystem as the same database user.

Access to a database file system requires a database login as a database user with privileges on the tables that underlie the file system.The database administrator grants access to a file system to database users, and different database users may have different READ or UPDATE privileges to the file system. The database administrator has access to all files stored in the DBFS file system.

On each client computer, access to a DBFS mount point is limited to the operating system user that mounts the file system. This, however, does not limit the number of users who can access the DBFS file system, because many users may separately mount the same DBFS file system.

DBFS only performs database privilege checking. Linux performs operating system file-level permission checking when a DBFS file system is mounted. DBFS does not perform this check either when using the command interface or when using the PL/SQL interface directly.

Enabling Shared Root Access

As an operating system user who mounts the file system, you can allow root access to the file system by specifying the allow_root option. This option requires that the /etc/fuse.conf file contain the user_allow_other field, as demonstrated in Example 25-1.

Example 25-1 Enabling Root Access for Other Users

# Allow users to specify the 'allow_root' mount option.

About DBFS Access Among Multiple Database Users

Some circumstances may require that multiple database users access the same filesystem. For example, the database user that owns the filesystem may be a privileged user and sharing its user credentials may pose a security risk. To mitigate this, DBFS allows multiple database users to share a subset of the filesystem state.

While DBFS registrations and mounts made through the DBFS content API are private to each user, the underlying filesystem and the tables on which they rely may be shared across users. After this is done, the individual filesystems may be independently mounted and used by different database users, either through SQL/PLSQL, or through dbfs_client APIs.

Establishing DBFS Access Sharing Across Multiple Database Users

You can share DBFS across multiple database users.

In the following example, user user1 is able to modify the filesystem, and user user2 can see these changes. Here, user1 is the database user that creates a filesystem, and user2 is the database user that eventually uses dbfs_client to mount and access the filesystem. Both user1 and user2 must have the DBFS_ROLE privilege.

  1. Connect as the user who creates the filesystem.
    sys@tank as sysdba> connect user1
  2. Create the filesystem user1_FS, register the store, and mount it as user1_mt.
    user1@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_sfs.createFilesystem('user1_FS');
    user1@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_content.registerStore('user1_FS', 'posix', 'DBMS_DBFS_SFS');
    user1@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_content.mountStore('user1_FS', 'user1_mnt');
    user1@tank> commit;
  3. [Optional] You may check that the previous step has completed successfully by viewing all mounts.
    user1@tank> select * from table(dbms_dbfs_content.listMounts);
    ---------------------|- ---------|------------------------------------------
    user1_FS             | 1362968596|posix
    "DBMS_DBFS_SFS"      | 3350646887|0.5.0                | 12714135  141867344
    01-FEB-10 PM
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('principal', (null), 9),
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('owner', (null), 9), 
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('acl', (null), 9), 
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('asof', (null), 187),
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('read_only', '0', 2))
  4. [Optional] Connect as the user who will use the dbfs_client.
    user1@tank> connect user2
  5. [Optional] Note that user2 cannot see user1's DBFS state, as he has no mounts.
    user2@tank> select * from table(dbms_dbfs_content.listMounts);
  6. While connected as user1, export filesystem user1_FS for access to any user with DBFS_ROLE privilege.
    user1@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_sfs.exportFilesystem('user1_FS');
    user1@tank> commit;
  7. Connect as the user who will use the dbfs_client.
    user1@tank> connect user2
  8. As user2, view all available tables.
    user2@tank> select * from table(dbms_dbfs_sfs.listTables);
    SCHEMA_NAME                |TABLE_NAME                 |PTABLE_NAME
    user1                        |SFS$_FST_11                |SFS$_FSTP_11
    01-FEB-10 PM
    01-FEB-10 PM
  9. As user2, register and mount the store, but do not re-create the user1_FS filesystem.
    user2@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_sfs.registerFilesystem(
       'user2_FS', 'user1', 'SFS$_FST_11');
    user2@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_content.registerStore(
       'user2_FS', 'posix', 'DBMS_DBFS_SFS');
    user2@tank> exec dbms_dbfs_content.mountStore(
       'user2_FS', 'user2_mnt');
    user2@tank> commit;
  10. [Optional] As user2, you may check that the previous step has completed successfully by viewing all mounts.
    user2@tank> select * from table(dbms_dbfs_content.listMounts);
    ---------------------|- ---------|------------------------------------------
    user2_FS             | 1362968596|posix
    "DBMS_DBFS_SFS"      | 3350646887|0.5.0                | 12714135  141867344
    01-FEB-10 PM
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('principal', (null), 9),
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('owner', (null), 9), 
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('acl', (null), 9), 
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('asof', (null), 187),
      DBMS_DBFS_CONTENT_PROPERTY_T('read_only', '0', 2))
  11. [Optional] List path names for user2 and user1. Note that another mount, user2_mnt,for store user2_FS, is available for user2. However, the underlying filesystem data is the same for user2 as for user1.
    user2@tank> select pathname from dbfs_content;
    user2@tank> connect user1
    user1@tank> select pathname from dbfs_content;
  12. In filesystem user1_FS, user1 creates file xxx.
    user1@tank> var ret number;
    user1@tank> var data blob;
    user1@tank> exec :ret := dbms_fuse.fs_create('/user1_mnt/xxx', content => :data);
    user1@tank> select :ret from dual;
  13. [Optional] Write to file xxx, created in the previous step.
    user1@tank> var buf varchar2(100);
    user1@tank> exec :buf := 'hello world';
    user1@tank> exec dbms_lob.writeappend(:data, length(:buf), utl_raw.cast_to_raw(:buf));
    user1@tank> commit;
  14. [Optional] Show that file xxx exists, and contains the appended data.
    user1@tank> select pathname, utl_raw.cast_to_varchar2(filedata) 
      from dbfs_content where filedata is not null;
    hello world
  15. User user2 sees the same file in their own DBFS-specific path name and mount prefix.
    user1@tank> connect user2
    user2@tank> select pathname, utl_raw.cast_to_varchar2(filedata) from
      dbfs_content where filedata is not null;
    hello world

After the export and register pairing completes, both users behave as equals with regard to their usage of the underlying tables. The exportFilesystem() procedure manages the necessary grants for access to the same data, which is shared between schemas. After user1 calls exportFilesystem(), filesystem access may be granted to any user with DBFS_ROLE. Note that a different role can be specified.

Subsequently, user2 may create a new DBFS filesystem that shares the same underlying storage as the user1_FS filesystem, by invoking dbms_dbfs_sfs.registerFilesystem(), dbms_dbfs_sfs.registerStore(), and dmbs_dbfs_sfs.mountStore() procedure calls.

When multiple database users share a filesystem, they must ensure that all database users unregister their interest in the filesystem before the owner (here, user1) drops the filesystem.

Oracle does not recommend that you run the DBFS as root.

HTTP, WebDAV, and FTP Access to DBFS

Components that enable HTTP, WebDAV, and FTP access to DBFS over the Internet use various XML DB server protocols.


Internet Access to DBFS Through XDB

To provide database users who have DBFS authentication with a hierarchical file system-like view of registered and mounted DBFS stores, stores are displayed under the path /dbfs.

For guidelines on DBFS store creation, registration, deregistration, mount, unmount and deletion, see DBFS Content API.

The /dbfs folder is a virtual folder because the resources in its subtree are stored in DBFS stores, not the XDB repository. XDB issues a dbms_dbfs_content.list() command for the root path name "/" (with invoker rights) and receives a list of store access points as subfolders in the /dbfs folder. The list is comparable to store_mount parameters passed to dbms_dbfs_content.mountStore(). FTP and WebDAV users can navigate to these stores, while HTTP and HTTPS users access URLs from browsers.

Note that features implemented by the XDB repository, such as repository events, resource configurations, and ACLs, are not available for the /dbfs folder.

Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) Access

WebDAV is an IETF standard protocol that provides users with a file-system-like interface to a repository over the Internet.

WebDAV server folders are typically accessed through Web Folders on Microsoft Windows (2000/NT/XP/Vista/7, and so on). You can access a resource using its fully qualified name, for example, /dbfs/sfs1/dir1/file1.txt, where sfs1 is the name of a DBFS store.

You need to set up WebDAV on Windows to access the DBFS filesystem.

The user authentication required to access the DBFS virtual folder is the same as for the XDB repository.

When a WebDAV client connects to a WebDAV server for the first time, the user is typically prompted for a username and password, which the client uses for all subsequent requests. From a protocol point-of-view, every request contains authentication information, which XDB uses to authenticate the user as a valid database user. If the user does not exist, the client does not get access to the DBFS store or the XDB repository. Upon successful authentication, the database user becomes the current user in the session.

XDB supports both basic authentication and digest authentication. For security reasons, it is highly recommended that HTTPS transport be used if basic authentication is enabled.

FTP Access to DBFS

FTP access to DBFS uses the standard FTP clients found on most Unix-based distributions. FTP is a file transfer mechanism built on client-server architecture with separate control and data connections.

FTP users are authenticated as database users. The protocol, as outlined in RFC 959, uses clear text user name and password for authentication. Therefore, FTP is not a secure protocol.

The following commands are supported for DBFS:

  • USER: Authentication username

  • PASS: Authentication password

  • CWD: Change working directory

  • CDUP: Change to Parent directory

  • QUIT: Disconnect

  • PORT: Specifies an address and port to which the server should connect

  • PASV: Enter passive mode

  • TYPE: Sets the transfer mode, such as, ASCII or Binary

  • RETR: Transfer a copy of the file

  • STOR: Accept the data and store the data as a file at the server site

  • RNFR: Rename From

  • RNTO: Rename To

  • DELE: Delete file

  • RMD: Remove directory

  • MKD: Make a directory

  • PWD: Print working directory

  • LIST: Listing of a file or directory. Default is current directory.

  • NLST: Returns file names in a directory

  • HELP: Usage document

  • SYST: Return system type

  • FEAT: Gets the feature list implemented by the server

  • NOOP: No operation (used for keep-alives)

  • EPRT: Extended address (IPv6) and port to which the server should connect

  • EPSV: Enter extended passive mode (IPv6)

HTTP Access to DBFS

Users have read-only access through HTTP/HTTPS protocols. Users point their browsers to a DBFS store using the XDB HTTP server with a URL such as https://hostname:port/dbfs/sfs1 where sfs1 is a DBFS store name.

DBFS Administration

DBFS administration includes tools that perform diagnostics, manage failover, perform backup and so on.


Using Oracle Wallet with DBFS Client

An Oracle Wallet allows the DBFS client to mount a DBFS store without requiring the user to enter a password. Refer to Oracle Database Enterprise User Security Administrator's Guide for more information about creation and management of wallets.

The "/@" syntax means to use the wallet, as shown in Step 7.

  1. Create a directory for the wallet. For example:
    mkdir $ORACLE_HOME/oracle/wallet
  2. Create an auto-login wallet.
    mkstore -wrl $ORACLE_HOME/oracle/wallet -create
  3. Add the wallet location in the client's sqlnet.ora file:
     $ORACLE_HOME/oracle/wallet) ) ) 
  4. Add the following parameter in the client's sqlnet.ora file:
  5. Create credentials:
    mkstore -wrl wallet_location -createCredential db_connect_string username password

    For example:

    mkstore -wrl $ORACLE_HOME/oracle/wallet -createCredential DBConnectString scott password
  6. Add the connection alias to your tnsnames.ora file.
  7. Use dbfs_client with Oracle Wallet.

    For example:

    $ dbfs_client -o wallet /@DBConnectString /mnt/dbfs 

DBFS Diagnostics

The dbfs_client program supports multiple levels of tracing to help diagnose problems. It can either output traces to a file or to /var/log/messages using the syslog daemon on Linux.

When you trace to a file, the dbfs_client program keeps two trace files on disk. dbfs_client, rotates the trace files automatically, and limits disk usage to 20 MB.

By default, tracing is turned off except for critical messages which are always logged to /var/log/messages.

If dbfs_client cannot connect to the Oracle Database, enable tracing using the trace_level and trace_file options. Tracing prints additional messages to log file for easier debugging.

DBFS uses Oracle Database for storing files. Sometimes Oracle server issues are propagated to dbfs_client as errors. If there is a dbfs_client error, please view the Oracle server logs to see if that is the root cause.

Preventing Data Loss During Failover Events

The dbfs_client program can failover to one of the other existing database instances if one of the database instances in an Oracle RAC cluster fails.

For dbfs_client failover to work correctly, you must modify the Oracle database service and specify failover parameters. Run the DBMS_SERVICE.MODIFY_SERVICE procedure to modify the service as shown Example 25-2

Example 25-2 Enabling DBFS Client Failover Events

exec DBMS_SERVICE.MODIFY_SERVICE(service_name => 'service_name',
              aq_ha_notifications => true,
              failover_method => 'BASIC',
              failover_type => 'SELECT',
              failover_retries => 180,
              failover_delay => 1);

Once you have completed the prerequisite, you can prevent data loss during a failover of the DBFS connection after a failure of the back-end Oracle database instance. In this case, cached writes may be lost if the client loses the connection. However, back-end failover to other Oracle RAC instances or standby databases does not cause lost writes.

  • Specify the -o failover mount option:

    $ dbfs_client database_user@database_server -o failover /mnt/dbfs 

Bypassing Client-Side Write Caching

The sharing and caching semantics for dbfs_client are similar to NFS in using the close-to-open cache consistency behavior. This allows multiple copies of dbfs_client to access the same shared file system. The default mode caches writes on the client and flushes them after a timeout or after the user closes the file. Also, writes to a file only appear to clients that open the file after the writer closed the file.

You can bypass client-side write caching.

  • Specify O_SYNC when the file is opened.

    To force writes in the cache to disk call fsync.

Backing up DBFS

You have two alternatives for backing up DBFS. You can back up the tables that underlie the file system at the database level or use a file system backup utility, such as Oracle Secure Backup, through a mount point.


DBFS Backup at the Database Level

An advantage of backing up the tables at the database level is that the files in the file system are always consistent with the relational data in the database. A full restore and recover of the database also fully restores and recovers the file system with no data loss. During a point-in-time recovery of the database, the files are recovered to the specified time. As usual with database backup, modifications that occur during the backup do not affect the consistency of a restore. The entire restored file system is always consistent with respect to a specified time stamp.

DBFS Backup Through a File System Utility

The advantage of backing up the file system using a file system backup utility is that individual files can be restored from backup more easily. Any changes made to the restored files after the last backup are lost.

Specify the allow_root mount option if backups are scheduled using the Oracle Secure Backup Administrative Server.

Small File Performance of DBFS

Like any shared file system, the performance of DBFS for small files lags the performance of a local file system.

Each file data or metadata operation in DBFS must go through the FUSE user mode file system and then be forwarded across the network to the database. Therefore, each operation that is not cached on the client takes a few milliseconds to run in DBFS.

For operations that involve an input/output (IO) to disk, the time delay overhead is masked by the wait for the disk IO. Naturally, larger IOs have a lower percentage overhead than smaller IOs. The network overhead is more noticeable for operations that do not issue a disk IO.

When you compare the operations on a few small files with a local file system, the overhead is not noticeable, but operations that affect thousands of small files incur a much more noticeable overhead. For example, listing a single directory or looking at a single file produce near instantaneous response, while searching across a directory tree with many thousands of files results in a larger relative overhead.

Enabling Advanced SecureFiles LOB Features for DBFS

DBFS offers advanced features available with SecureFiles LOBs: compression, deduplication, encryption, and partitioning.

For example, DBFS can be configured as a compressed file system with partitioning. At the time of creating a DBFS file system, you must specify the set of enabled features for the file system. See Using Oracle LOB Storage and "Creating a Partitioned File System" for more information about the features of SecureFiles LOBs.

Example 25-3 Enabling Advanced Secure Files LOB Features for DBFS

$ sqlplus @dbfs_create_filesystem_advanced tablespace_name file_system­name
  [compress-high | compress-medium | compress-low | nocompress] 
  [deduplicate | nodeduplicate]
  [encrypt | noencrypt]
  [partition | non-partition]

Shrinking and Reorganizing DBFS Filesystems

A DBFS Filesystem uses Online Filesystem Reorganization to shrink itself, enabling the release of allocated space back to the containing tablespace.


About Changing DBFS Filesystems

DBFS filesystems, like other database segments, grow dynamically with the addition or enlargement of files and directories. Growth occurs with the allocation of space from the tablespace that holds the DBFS filesystem to the various segments that make up the filesystem.

However, even if files and directories in the DBFS filesystem are deleted, the allocated space is not released back to the containing tablespace, but continues to exist and be available for other DBFS entities. A process called Online Filesystem Reorganization solves this problem by shrinking the DBFS Filesystem.

The DBFS Online Filesystem Reorganization utility internally uses the Oracle Database online redefinition facility, with the original filesystem and a temporary placeholder corresponding to the base and interim objects in the online redefinition model.

See Also:

Oracle Database Administrator's Guide for further information about online redefinition

Advantages of Online Filesystem Reorganization

DBFS Online Filesystem Reorganization is a powerful data movement facility with these certain advantages.

These are:

  • It is online: When reorganization is taking place, the filesystem remains fully available for read and write operations for all applications.

  • It can reorganize the structure: The underlying physical structure and organization of the DBFS filesystem can be changed in many ways, such as:

    • A non-partitioned filesystem can be converted to a partitioned filesystem and vice-versa.

    • Special SecureFiles LOB properties can be selectively enabled or disabled in any combination, including the compression, encryption, and deduplication properties.

    • The data in the filesystem can be moved across tablespaces or within the same tablespace.

  • It can reorganize multiple filesystems concurrently: Multiple different filesystems can be reorganized at the same time, if no temporary filesystems have the same name and the tablespaces have enough free space, typically, twice the space requirement for each filesystem being reorganized.

Determining Availability of Online Filesystem Reorganization

DBFS for Oracle Database 12c and later supports online filesystem reorganization. Some earlier versions also support the facility. To determine if your version does, query for a specific function in the DBFS PL/SQL packages, as shown below:

  • Query for a specific function in the DBFS PL/SQL packages.

$ sqlplus / as sysdba
SELECT * FROM dba_procedures
WHERE   owner = 'SYS'
    and object_name = 'DBMS_DBFS_SFS'
    and procedure_name = 'REORGANIZEFS';

If this query returns a single row similar to the one in this output, the DBFS installation supports Online Filesystem Reorganization. If the query does not return any rows, then the DBFS installation should either be upgraded or requires a patch for bug-10051996.

     11424|           52|(null)                                  |PACKAGE      |NO |NO

Invoking Online Filesystem Reorganization

You can perform an Online Filesystem Reorganization by creating a temporary DBFS filesystem.

  1. Create a temporary DBFS filesystem with the desired new organization and structure: including the desired target tablespace (which may be the same tablespace as the filesystem being reorganized), desired target SecureFiles LOB storage properties (compression, encryption, or deduplication), and so on.
  2. Invoke the PL/SQL procedure to reorganize the DBFS filesystem using the newly-created temporary filesystem for data movement.
  3. Once the reorganization procedure completes, drop the temporary filesystem.

The example below reorganizes DBFS filesystem FS1 in tablespace TS1 into a new tablespace TS2, using a temporary filesystem named TMP_FS, where all filesystems belong to database user dbfs_user:

$ cd $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin
$ sqlplus dbfs_user/***
@dbfs_create_filesystem TS2 TMP_FS
@dbfs_drop_filesystem TMP_FS


  • TMP_FS can have any valid name. It is intended as a temporary placeholder and can be dropped (as shown in the example above) or retained as a fully materialized point-in-time snapshot of the original filesystem.

  • FS1 is the original filesystem and is unaffected by the attempted reorganization. It remains usable for all DBFS operations, including SQL, PL/SQL, and dbfs_client mounts and commandline, during the reorganization. At the end of the reorganization, FS1 has the new structure and organization used to create TMP_FS and vice versa (TMP_FS will have the structure and organization originally used for FS1). If the reorganization fails for any reason, DBFS attempts to clean up the internal state of FS1.

  • TS2 needs enough space to accommodate all active (non-deleted) files and directories in FS1.

  • TS1 needs at least twice the amount of space being used by FS1 if the filesystem is moved within the same tablespace as part of a shrink.