|Oracle9i Database Administrator's Guide
Release 1 (9.0.1)
Part Number A90117-01
This chapter explains how to manage the online redo log and contains the following topics:
The most crucial structure for recovery operations is the online redo log, which consists of two or more preallocated files that store all changes made to the database as they occur. Every instance of an Oracle database has an associated online redo log to protect the database in case of an instance failure.
Each database instance has its own online redo log groups. These online redo log groups, multiplexed or not, are called an instance's thread of online redo. In typical configurations, only one database instance accesses an Oracle database, so only one thread is present. When running Oracle Real Application Clusters, however, two or more instances concurrently access a single database and each instance has its own thread.
This chapter describes how to configure and manage the online redo log when the Oracle9i Real Application Clusters feature is not used. Hence, the thread number can be assumed to be 1 in all discussions and examples of statements.
Online redo log files are filled with redo records. A redo record, also called a redo entry, is made up of a group of change vectors, each of which is a description of a change made to a single block in the database. For example, if you change a salary value in an employee table, you generate a redo record containing change vectors that describe changes to the data segment block for the table, the rollback segment data block, and the transaction table of the rollback segments.
Redo entries record data that you can use to reconstruct all changes made to the database, including the rollback segments. Therefore, the online redo log also protects rollback data. When you recover the database using redo data, Oracle reads the change vectors in the redo records and applies the changes to the relevant blocks.
Redo records are buffered in a circular fashion in the redo log buffer of the SGA (see "How Oracle Writes to the Online Redo Log") and are written to one of the online redo log files by the Oracle background process Log Writer (LGWR). Whenever a transaction is committed, LGWR writes the transaction's redo records from the redo log buffer of the SGA to an online redo log file, and a system change number (SCN) is assigned to identify the redo records for each committed transaction. Only when all redo records associated with a given transaction are safely on disk in the online logs is the user process notified that the transaction has been committed.
Redo records can also be written to an online redo log file before the corresponding transaction is committed. If the redo log buffer fills, or another transaction commits, LGWR flushes all of the redo log entries in the redo log buffer to an online redo log file, even though some redo records may not be committed. If necessary, Oracle can roll back these changes.
The online redo log of a database consists of two or more online redo log files. Oracle requires a minimum of two files to guarantee that one is always available for writing while the other is being archived (if in
LGWR writes to online redo log files in a circular fashion. When the current online redo log file fills, LGWR begins writing to the next available online redo log file. When the last available online redo log file is filled, LGWR returns to the first online redo log file and writes to it, starting the cycle again. Figure 7-1 illustrates the circular writing of the online redo log file. The numbers next to each line indicate the sequence in which LGWR writes to each online redo log file.
Filled online redo log files are available to LGWR for reuse depending on whether archiving is enabled.
NOARCHIVELOGmode), a filled online redo log file is available once the changes recorded in it have been written to the datafiles.
ARCHIVELOGmode), a filled online redo log file is available to LGWR once the changes recorded in it have been written to the datafiles and once the file has been archived.
At any given time, Oracle uses only one of the online redo log files to store redo records written from the redo log buffer. The online redo log file that LGWR is actively writing to is called the current online redo log file.
Online redo log files that are required for instance recovery are called active online redo log files. Online redo log files that are not required for instance recovery are called inactive.
If you have enabled archiving (
ARCHIVELOG mode), Oracle cannot reuse or overwrite an active online log file until ARCn has archived its contents. If archiving is disabled (
NOARCHIVELOG mode), when the last online redo log file fills writing continues by overwriting the first available active file.
A log switch is the point at which Oracle ends writing to one online redo log file and begins writing to another. Normally, a log switch occurs when the current online redo log file is completely filled and writing must continue to the next online redo log file. However, you can specify that a log switch occurs in a time-based manner, regardless of whether the current online redo log file is completely filled. You can also force log switches manually.
Oracle assigns each online redo log file a new log sequence number every time that a log switch occurs and LGWR begins writing to it. If Oracle archives online redo log files, the archived log retains its log sequence number. The online redo log file that is cycled back for use is given the next available log sequence number.
Each online or archived redo log file is uniquely identified by its log sequence number. During crash, instance, or media recovery, Oracle properly applies redo log files in ascending order by using the log sequence number of necessary archived and online redo log files.
This section describes guidelines you should consider when configuring a database instance's online redo log, and contains the following topics:
Oracle provides the capability to multiplex an instance's online redo log files to safeguard against damage to its online redo log files. When multiplexing online redo log files, LGWR concurrently writes the same redo log information to multiple identical online redo log files, thereby eliminating a single point of redo log failure.
The corresponding online redo log files are called groups. Each online redo log file in a group is called a member. In Figure 7-2, A_LOG1 and B_LOG1 are both members of Group 1, A_LOG2 and B_LOG2 are both members of Group 2, and so forth. Each member in a group must be exactly the same size.
Notice that each member of a group is concurrently active, or, concurrently written to by LGWR, as indicated by the identical log sequence numbers assigned by LGWR. In Figure 7-2, first LGWR writes to A_LOG1 in conjunction with B_LOG1, then A_LOG2 in conjunction with B_LOG2, and so on. LGWR never writes concurrently to members of different groups (for example, to A_LOG1 and B_LOG2).
Whenever LGWR cannot write to a member of a group, Oracle marks that member as
INVALID and writes an error message to the LGWR trace file and to the database's alert file to indicate the problem with the inaccessible files. LGWR reacts differently when certain online redo log members are unavailable, depending on the reason for the unavailability.
LGWR can successfully write to at least one member in a group
Writing proceeds as normal. LGWR simply writes to the available members of a group and ignores the unavailable members.
LGWR cannot access the next group at a log switch because the group needs to be archived
Database operation temporarily halts until the group becomes available, or, until the group is archived.
All members of the next group are inaccessible to LGWR at a log switch because of media failure
If the database checkpoint has moved beyond the lost redo log, media recovery is not necessary since Oracle has saved the data recorded in the redo log to the datafiles. Simply drop the inaccessible redo log group. If Oracle did not archive the bad log, use
If all members of a group suddenly become inaccessible to LGWR while it is writing to them
Oracle returns an error and the database instance immediately shuts down. In this case, you may need to perform media recovery. If the media containing the log is not actually lost--for example, if the drive for the log was inadvertently turned off--media recovery may not be needed. In this case, you only need to turn the drive back on and let Oracle perform instance recovery.
To safeguard against a single point of online redo log failure, a multiplexed online redo log is ideally symmetrical: all groups of the online redo log have the same number of members. Nevertheless, Oracle does not require that a multiplexed online redo log be symmetrical. For example, one group can have only one member, while other groups have two members. This configuration protects against disk failures that temporarily affect some online redo log members but leave others intact.
The only requirement for an instance's online redo log is that it have at least two groups. Figure 7-3 shows legal and illegal multiplexed online redo log configurations. The second configuration is illegal because it has only one group.
When setting up a multiplexed online redo log, place members of a group on different disks. If a single disk fails, then only one member of a group becomes unavailable to LGWR and other members remain accessible to LGWR, so the instance can continue to function.
If you archive the redo log, spread online redo log members across disks to eliminate contention between the LGWR and ARCn background processes. For example, if you have two groups of duplexed online redo log members, place each member on a different disk and set your archiving destination to a fifth disk. Consequently, there is never contention between LGWR (writing to the members) and ARCn (reading the members).
Datafiles and online redo log files should also be on different disks to reduce contention in writing data blocks and redo records.
Oracle9i User-Managed Backup and Recovery Guide for more information about how the online redo log affects backup and recovery
When setting the size of online redo log files, consider whether you will be archiving the redo log. Online redo log files should be sized so that a filled group can be archived to a single unit of offline storage media (such as a tape or disk), with the least amount of space on the medium left unused. For example, suppose only one filled online redo log group can fit on a tape and 49% of the tape's storage capacity remains unused. In this case, it is better to decrease the size of the online redo log files slightly, so that two log groups could be archived for each tape.
With multiplexed groups of online redo logs, all members of the same group must be the same size. Members of different groups can have different sizes. However, there is no advantage in varying file size between groups. If checkpoints are not set to occur between log switches, make all groups the same size to guarantee that checkpoints occur at regular intervals.
The best way to determine the appropriate number of online redo log files for a database instance is to test different configurations. The optimum configuration has the fewest groups possible without hampering LGWR's writing redo log information.
In some cases, a database instance may require only two groups. In other situations, a database instance may require additional groups to guarantee that a recycled group is always available to LGWR. During testing, the easiest way to determine if the current online redo log configuration is satisfactory is to examine the contents of the LGWR trace file and the database's alert log. If messages indicate that LGWR frequently has to wait for a group because a checkpoint has not completed or a group has not been archived, add groups.
Consider the parameters that can limit the number of online redo log files before setting up or altering the configuration of an instance's online redo log. The following parameters limit the number of online redo log files that you can add to a database:
MAXLOGFILESparameter used in the
CREATE DATABASEstatement determines the maximum number of groups of online redo log files for each database. Group values can range from 1 to
MAXLOGFILES. The only way to override this upper limit is to re-create the database or its control file. Thus, it is important to consider this limit before creating a database. If
MAXLOGFILESis not specified for the
CREATE DATABASEstatement, Oracle uses an operating system specific default value.
MAXLOGMEMBERSparameter used in the
CREATE DATABASEstatement determines the maximum number of members for each group. As with
MAXLOGFILES, the only way to override this upper limit is to re-create the database or control file. Thus, it is important to consider this limit before creating a database. If no
MAXLOGMEMBERSparameter is specified for the
CREATE DATABASEstatement, Oracle uses an operating system default value.
You can force all enabled online redo log threads to switch their current logs in a time-based fashion. In a primary/standby configuration, changes are made available to the standby database by archiving and shipping noncurrent logs of the primary site to the standby database. The changes that are being applied by the standby database can lag the changes that are occurring on the primary database.
This lag can happen because the standby database must wait for the changes in the primary database's online redo log to be archived (into the archived redo log) and then shipped to it. To control or limit this lag, you set the
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET initialization parameter. Setting this parameter allows you to limit, measured in time, how long the lag can become.
When you set the
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET initialization parameter, you cause Oracle to examine an instance's current online redo log periodically. If the following conditions are met the instance will switch the log:
In an Oracle Real Application Clusters environment, the instance also kicks other threads into switching and archiving logs if they are falling behind. This can be particularly useful when one instance in the cluster is more idle than the other instances (as when you are running a 2-node primary/secondary configuration of Oracle Real Application Clusters).
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET specifies the target of how many seconds of redo the standby could lose in the event of a primary shutdown or crash. It also provides an upper limit of how long (in the number of seconds) the current log of the primary database can span. Because the estimated archival time is also considered, this is not the exact log switch time.
The following initialization parameter setting sets the log switch interval to 30 minutes (a typical value).
A value of 0 disables this time-based log switching functionality. This is the default setting.
In an idle system where no redo is generated over a long period of time (for example, the DBA forgot to shut down the database), Oracle will not generate a bunch of empty archived logs. This is because the current log is switched only if it contains redo.
You can set the
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET initialization parameter even if there is no standby database. For example, the
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET parameter can be set specifically to force logs to be switched and archived.
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET is a dynamic parameter and can be set with the
ALTER SYSTEM SET statement.
Consider the following factors when determining if you want to set the ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET parameter and in determining the value for this parameter.
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET may not be very useful if natural log switches already occur more frequently than the interval specified. However, in the case of irregularities of redo generation speed, the interval does provide an upper limit for the time range each current log covers. If the database becomes idle and redo records stop being generated, the interval forces a log switch causing all redo records generated so far to be switched out, archived, and made available to the standby database.
ARCHIVE_LAG_TARGET initialization parameter is set to a very low value, there can be a negative impact on performance. This can force frequent log switches. Set the parameter to a reasonable value so as not to degrade the performance of the primary database.
Plan the online redo log of a database and create all required groups and members of online redo log files during database creation. However, there are situations where you might want to create additional groups or members. For example, adding groups to an online redo log can correct redo log group availability problems.
To create new online redo log groups and members, you must have the
ALTER DATABASE system privilege. A database can have up to
Oracle9i SQL Reference for a complete description of the
To create a new group of online redo log files, use the SQL statement
ALTER DATABASE with the
ADD LOGFILE clause.
The following statement adds a new group of redo logs to the database:
You can also specify the number that identifies the group using the
Using group numbers can make administering redo log groups easier. However, the group number must be between 1 and
MAXLOGFILES. Do not skip redo log file group numbers (that is, do not number your groups 10, 20, 30, and so on), or you will consume space in the control files of the database.
In some cases, it might not be necessary to create a complete group of online redo log files. A group could already exist, but not be complete because one or more members of the group were dropped (for example, because of a disk failure). In this case, you can add new members to an existing group.
To create new online redo log members for an existing group, use the SQL statement
ALTER DATABASE with the
ADD LOG MEMBER parameter. The following statement adds a new redo log member to redo log group number 2:
Notice that filenames must be specified, but sizes need not be. The size of the new members is determined from the size of the existing members of the group.
When using the
ALTER DATABASE statement, you can alternatively identify the target group by specifying all of the other members of the group in the
TO parameter, as shown in the following example:
ALTER DATABASE ADD LOGFILE MEMBER '/oracle/dbs/log2c.rdo' TO ('/oracle/dbs/log2a.rdo', '/oracle/dbs/log2b.rdo');
Fully specify the filenames of new log members to indicate where the operating system files should be created. Otherwise, the files will be created in either the default or current directory of the database server, depending upon your operating system. You may also note that the status of the new log member is shown as
You can use operating system commands to relocate online redo logs, then use the
ALTER DATABASE statement to make their new names (locations) known to the database. This procedure is necessary, for example, if the disk currently used for some online redo log files is going to be removed, or if datafiles and a number of online redo log files are stored on the same disk and should be separated to reduce contention.
To rename online redo log members, you must have the
ALTER DATABASE system privilege. Additionally, you might also need operating system privileges to copy files to the desired location and privileges to open and back up the database.
Before relocating your redo logs, or making any other structural changes to the database, completely back up the database in case you experience problems while performing the operation. As a precaution, after renaming or relocating a set of online redo log files, immediately back up the database's control file.
Use the following steps for relocating redo logs. The example used to illustrate these steps assumes:
/diskb/logs/log1b.rdo, and the second group consists of the members
diskamust be relocated to
diskc. The new filenames will reflect the new location:
Operating system files, such as online redo log members, must be copied using the appropriate operating system commands. See your operating system specific documentation for more information about copying files.
ALTER DATABASE statement with the
RENAME FILE clause to rename the database's online redo log files.
The online redo log alterations take effect when the database is opened.
In some cases, you may want to drop an entire group of online redo log members. For example, you want to reduce the number of groups in an instance's online redo log. In a different case, you may want to drop one or more specific online redo log members. For example, if a disk failure occurs, you may need to drop all the online redo log files on the failed disk so that Oracle does not try to write to the inaccessible files. In other situations, particular online redo log files become unnecessary. For example, a file might be stored in an inappropriate location.
To drop an online redo log group, you must have the
ALTER DATABASE system privilege. Before dropping an online redo log group, consider the following restrictions and precautions:
Drop an online redo log group with the SQL statement
ALTER DATABASE with the
DROP LOGFILE clause.
The following statement drops redo log group number 3:
When an online redo log group is dropped from the database, and you are not using the Oracle Managed Files feature, the operating system files are not deleted from disk. Rather, the control files of the associated database are updated to drop the members of the group from the database structure. After dropping an online redo log group, make sure that the drop completed successfully, and then use the appropriate operating system command to delete the dropped online redo log files.
When using Oracle-managed files, the cleanup of operating systems files is done automatically for you.
To drop an online redo log member, you must have the
ALTER DATABASE system privilege. Consider the following restrictions and precautions before dropping individual online redo log members:
V$LOGFILEview. A redo log file becomes
INVALIDif Oracle cannot access it. It becomes
STALEif Oracle suspects that it is not complete or correct. A stale log file becomes valid again the next time its group is made the active group.
To drop specific inactive online redo log members, use the
ALTER DATABASE statement with the
DROP LOGFILE MEMBER clause.
The following statement drops the redo log
When an online redo log member is dropped from the database, the operating system file is not deleted from disk. Rather, the control files of the associated database are updated to drop the member from the database structure. After dropping an online redo log file, make sure that the drop completed successfully, and then use the appropriate operating system command to delete the dropped online redo log file.
To drop a member of an active group, you must first force a log switch.
A log switch occurs when LGWR stops writing to one online redo log group and starts writing to another. By default, a log switch occurs automatically when the current online redo log file group fills.
You can force a log switch to make the currently active group inactive and available for online redo log maintenance operations. For example, you want to drop the currently active group, but are not able to do so until the group is inactive. You may also wish to force a log switch if the currently active group needs to be archived at a specific time before the members of the group are completely filled. This option is useful in configurations with large online redo log files that take a long time to fill.
To force a log switch, you must have the
ALTER SYSTEM privilege. Use the
ALTER SYSTEM statement with the
SWITCH LOGFILE clause.
The following statement forces a log switch:
You can configure Oracle to use checksums to verify blocks in the redo log files. If you set the initialization parameter
TRUE, block checking is enabled for all Oracle database blocks written to disk, including redo log blocks. The default value of
If you enable block checking, Oracle computes a checksum for each redo log block written to the current log. Oracle writes the checksum in the header of the block. Oracle uses the checksum to detect corruption in a redo log block. Oracle tries to verify the redo log block when it writes the block to an archive log file and when the block is read from an archived log during recovery.
If Oracle detects a corruption in a redo log block while trying to archive it, the system attempts to read the block from another member in the group. If the block is corrupted in all members the redo log group, then archiving cannot proceed.
Oracle9i Database Reference for a description of the
An online redo log file might become corrupted while the database is open, and ultimately stop database activity because archiving cannot continue. In this situation the
ALTER DATABASE CLEAR LOGFILE statement can be used reinitialize the file without shutting down the database.
The following statement clears the log files in redo log group number 3:
This statement overcomes two situations where dropping redo logs is not possible:
If the corrupt redo log file has not been archived, use the
UNARCHIVED keyword in the statement.
This statement clears the corrupted redo logs and avoids archiving them. The cleared redo logs are available for use even though they were not archived.
If you clear a log file that is needed for recovery of a backup, then you can no longer recover from that backup. Oracle writes a message in the alert log describing the backups from which you cannot recover.
If you want to clear an unarchived redo log that is needed to bring an offline tablespace online, use the
UNRECOVERABLE DATAFILE clause in the
ALTER DATABASE CLEAR LOGFILE statement.
If you clear a redo log needed to bring an offline tablespace online, you will not be able to bring the tablespace online again. You will have to drop the tablespace or perform an incomplete recovery. Note that tablespaces taken offline normal do not require recovery.
Oracle9i User-Managed Backup and Recovery Guide for more information about clearing redo log files
Use the following views to display online redo log information.
Displays the redo log file information from the control file
Identifies redo log groups and members and member status
Contains log history information
The following query returns the control file information about the online redo log for a database.
SELECT * FROM V$LOG; GROUP# THREAD# SEQ BYTES MEMBERS ARC STATUS FIRST_CHANGE# FIRST_TIM ------ ------- ----- ------- ------- --- --------- ------------- --------- 1 1 10605 1048576 1 YES ACTIVE 11515628 16-APR-00 2 1 10606 1048576 1 NO CURRENT 11517595 16-APR-00 3 1 10603 1048576 1 YES INACTIVE 11511666 16-APR-00 4 1 10604 1048576 1 YES INACTIVE 11513647 16-APR-00
To see the names of all of the member of a group, use a query similar to the following:
SELECT * FROM V$LOGFILE; GROUP# STATUS MEMBER ------ ------- ---------------------------------- 1 D:\ORANT\ORADATA\IDDB2\REDO04.LOG 2 D:\ORANT\ORADATA\IDDB2\REDO03.LOG 3 D:\ORANT\ORADATA\IDDB2\REDO02.LOG 4 D:\ORANT\ORADATA\IDDB2\REDO01.LOG
STATUS is blank for a member, then the file is in use.
Oracle9i Database Reference for detailed information about these views