Overview of Initialization Parameter Files in Oracle RAC

When you create the database, Oracle Database creates an SPFILE in the file location that you specify. This location can be either an Oracle ASM disk group or a cluster file system. If you manually create your database, then Oracle recommends that you create an SPFILE from an initialization parameter file (PFILE).


Oracle RAC uses a traditional PFILE only if an SPFILE does not exist or if you specify PFILE in your STARTUP command. Oracle recommends that you use an SPFILE to simplify administration, to maintain parameter setting consistency, and to guarantee parameter setting persistence across database shutdown and startup events. In addition, you can configure RMAN to back up your SPFILE.

All instances in the cluster database use the same SPFILE at startup. Because the SPFILE is a binary file, do not directly edit the SPFILE with an editor. Instead, change SPFILE parameter settings using Oracle Enterprise Manager or ALTER SYSTEM SQL statements.

When creating an SPFILE, if you include the FROM MEMORY clause (for example, CREATE PFILE FROM MEMORY or CREATE SPFILE FROM MEMORY), then the CREATE statement creates a PFILE or SPFILE using the current system-wide parameter settings. In an Oracle RAC environment, the created file contains the parameter settings from each instance. Because the FROM MEMORY clause requires all other instances to send their parameter settings to the instance that is trying to create the parameter file, the total execution time depends on the number of instances, the number of parameter settings on each instance, and the amount of data for these settings.

This section includes the following topics: