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Managing Control Files

This chapter explains how to create and maintain the control files for your database, and includes the following topics:

See Also: This chapter contains several references to Oracle Server Manager. For more information about performing specific tasks using Server Manager/GUI or Server Manager/LineMode, see the Oracle7 Server Manager User's Guide.

Guidelines for Control Files

This section describes guidelines you can use to manage the control files for a database, and includes the following topics:

Name Control Files

Assign control file names via the CONTROL_FILES initialization parameter in the database's parameter file. CONTROL_FILES indicates one or more names of control files, separated by commas. The instance startup procedure recognizes and opens all the listed files. The instance maintains all listed control files during database operation.

During database operation, Oracle7 Server writes to all necessary files listed for the CONTROL_FILES parameter.

Multiplex Control Files on Different Disks

Every Oracle7 database should have at least two control files, each stored on a different 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 an intact copy of the control file and the instance can be restarted; no media recovery is required.

Behavior of Multiplexed Control Files

The following list describes the behavior of multiplexed control files:

The only disadvantage of having multiple control files is that all operations that update the control files (such as adding a datafile or checkpointing the database) can take slightly longer. However, this difference is usually insignificant (especially for operating systems that can perform multiple, concurrent writes) and does not justify using only a single control file.

Attention: Oracle strongly recommends that your database has a minimum of two control files on different disks.

Place Control Files Appropriately

Each copy of a control file should be stored on a different disk drive. Furthermore, a control file copy should be stored on every disk drive that stores members of online redo log groups, if the online redo log is multiplexed. By storing control files in these locations, you minimize the risk that all control files and all groups of the online redo log will be lost in a single disk failure.

Manage the Size of Control Files

The main determinants of a control file's size are the values set for the MAXDATAFILES, MAXLOGFILES, MAXLOGMEMBERS, MAXLOGHISTORY, and 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.

See Also: The maximum control file size is operating system-specific. See your operating system-specific Oracle documentation for more information.

Creating Control Files

Every Oracle7 database has a control file. A control files records the physical structure of the database and contains:

The control file of an Oracle7 database is created at the same time as the database. By default, at least one copy of the control file must be created during database creation. On some operating systems, Oracle7 creates multiple copies. You should create two or more copies of the control file during database creation. You might also need to create control files later, if you lose control files or want to change particular settings in the control files.

This section describes ways to create control files, and includes the following topics:

Creating Initial Control Files

You create the initial control files of an Oracle7 database by specifying one or more control filenames in the CONTROL_FILES parameter in the parameter file used during database creation. The filenames specified in CONTROL_FILES should be fully specified. Filename specification is operating system-specific.

If files with the specified names currently exist at the time of database creation, you must specify the CONTROLFILE REUSE parameter in the CREATE DATABASE command, or else an error occurs. Also, if the size of the old control file differs from that of the new one, you cannot use the REUSE option. The size of the control file changes between some release of new version of Oracle, as well as when the number of files specified in the control file changes; configuration parameters such as MAXLOGFILES, MAXLOGMEMBERS, MAXLOGHISTORY, MAXDATAFILES, and MAXINSTANCES affect control file size.

If you do not specify files for CONTROL_FILES before database creation, Oracle7 uses a default filename. The default name is also operating system-specific.

You can subsequently change the value of the CONTROL_FILES parameter to add more control files or to change the names or locations of existing control files.

See Also: For more information about specifying control files, see your operating system-specific Oracle documentation.

Creating Additional Copies of the Control File, and Renaming and Relocating Control Files

You add a new control file by copying an existing file to a new location and adding the file's 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's name in the control file list.

In both cases, to guarantee that control files do not change during the procedure, shut down the instance before copying the control file.

To Multiplex or Move Additional Copies of the Current Control File

New Control Files

You can create a new control file for a database using the CREATE CONTROLFILE command. This is recommended in the following situations:

The following statement creates a new control file for the PROD database (formerly a database that used a different database name):

	LOGFILE GROUP 1 ('logfile1A', 'logfile1B') SIZE 50K,
	   GROUP 2 ('logfile2A', 'logfile2B') SIZE 50K
	DATAFILE 'datafile1' SIZE 3M, 'datafile2' SIZE 5M

Warning: The CREATE CONTROLFILE command can potentially damage specified datafiles and online redo log files; omitting a filename can cause loss of the data in that file, or loss of access to the entire database. Employ caution when using this command and be sure to follow the steps in the next section.

See Also: For more information about the CREATE CONTROLFILE command, see the .

Creating New Control Files

This section provides step-by-step instructions for creating new control files.

To Create New Control Files

The database is now open and available for use.

See Also: For more information about listing database files, see "Listing Database Files Before Backup" [*].

For more information on backing up all datafiles and online redo log files of the database, see "Performing a Full Backup" [*].

For more information on recovering online or archived redo log files, see "Loss of Online Redo Log Files" [*] and "Loss of Datafiles" [*].

For more information on closed database recovery, see page 24 - 18.

Troubleshooting After Creating Control Files

After issuing the CREATE CONTROLFILE statement, you may encounter some common errors. This section describes the most common control file usage errors, and includes the following topics:

Checking for Missing or Extra Files

After creating a new control file and using it to open the database, check the ALERT log to see if Oracle7 has detected inconsistencies between the data dictionary and the control file, such as a datafile that the data dictionary includes but the control file does not list.

If a datafile exists in the data dictionary but not in the new control file, Oracle7 creates a placeholder entry in the control file under the name MISSINGnnnn (where nnnn is the file number in decimal). MISSINGnnnn is flagged in the control file as being offline and requiring media recovery.

In the following two cases only, the actual datafile corresponding to MISSINGnnnn can be made accessible by renaming MISSINGnnnn to point to it.

Case 1: The new control file was created using the CREATE CONTROLFILE command with the NORESETLOGS option, thus allowing the database to be opened without using the RESETLOGS option. This would be possible only if all online redo logs are available.

Case 2: It was necessary to use the RESETLOGS option on the CREATE CONTROLFILE command, thus forcing the database to be opened using the RESETLOGS option, but the actual datafile corresponding to MISSINGnnnn was read-only or offline normal.

If, on the other hand, it was necessary to open the database using the RESETLOGS option, and MISSINGnnnn corresponds to a datafile that was not read-only or offline normal, then the rename operation cannot be used to make the datafile accessible (since the datafile requires media recovery that is precluded by the results of RESETLOGS). In this case, the tablespace containing the datafile must be dropped.

In contrast, if a datafile indicated in the control file is not present in the data dictionary, Oracle7 removes references to it from the new control file. In both cases, Oracle7 includes an explanatory message in the ALERT file to let you know what it found.

Handling Errors During CREATE CONTROLFILE

If Oracle7 sends you an error (usually error ORA-01173, ORA-01176, ORA-01177, ORA-01215, or 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.

Dropping Control Files

You can drop control files from the database. For example, you might want to do so if the location of a control file is inappropriate. Remember that the database must have at least two control files at all times.

To Drop a Control File from a Database

Warning: 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.

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