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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Oracle Control Files

An Oracle database cannot be started without at least one Oracle control file.

 The Oracle control file contains data on system structures, log status, transaction numbers, and other important information about the database.

When tools such as Oracle’s RMAN backup tool are used, the Oracle control file can be several tens of megabytes in size. It is wise to have at least two copies of your Oracle control file on different disks, three copies of Oracle control files for OFA compliance. Oracle will maintain them as mirror images of each other. This ensures that loss of a single Oracle control file will not knock your database out. You should not bring a Oracle control file back from a backup, even though this is supported; the Oracle control file is a living file that corresponds to current database status. In Oracle, there is a CREATE CONTROL FILE command that allows recovery from loss of a Oracle control file. However, you must have detailed knowledge of your database to use it properly.

There is also an ALTER DATABASE BACKUP CONTROL FILE TO TRACE command that creates a script to rebuild your Oracle control file. In Chapter 15, Backup and Recovery Procedures for Oracle, the section titled “Backup and Recovery Plans for Oracle,” explains in detail how to protect yourself from the loss of an Oracle control file. It is easier to maintain extra Oracle control file copies.

This is an excerpt from Mike Ault’s book “Oracle Administration & Management”.  If you want more current Oracle tips by Mike Ault, check out his new book “Mike Ault’s Oracle Internals Monitoring & Tuning Scripts” or Ault’s Oracle Scripts Download.

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