Oracle Undo Introduction
Oracle Database creates and manages information that is used to roll back, or undo, changes to the database. Such information consists of records of the actions of transactions, primarily before they are committed. These records are collectively referred to as undo.
Undo records are used to:
- Roll back transactions when a ROLLBACK statement is issued
- Recover the database
- Provide read consistency
- Analyze data as of an earlier point in time by using Oracle Flashback Query
- Recover from logical corruptions using Oracle Flashback features
ROLLBACK statement is issued, undo records are used to undo changes that were made to the database by the uncommitted transaction. During database recovery, undo records are used to undo any uncommitted changes applied from the redo log to the datafiles. Undo records provide read consistency by maintaining the before image of the data for users who are accessing the data at the same time that another user is changing it.
After a transaction is committed, undo data is no longer needed for rollback or transaction recovery purposes. However, for consistent read purposes, long-running queries may require this old undo information for producing older images of data blocks. Furthermore, the success of several Oracle Flashback features can also depend upon the availability of older undo information. For these reasons, it is desirable to retain the old undo information for as long as possible.
When automatic undo management is enabled, there is always a current undo retention period, which is the minimum amount of time that Oracle Database attempts to retain old undo information before overwriting it. Old (committed) undo information that is older than the current undo retention period is said to be expired and its space is available to be overwritten by new transactions. Old undo information with an age that is less than the current undo retention period is said to be unexpired and is retained for consistent read and Oracle Flashback operations.
To guarantee the success of long-running queries or Oracle Flashback operations, you can enable retention guarantee. If retention guarantee is enabled, the specified minimum undo retention is guaranteed; the database never overwrites unexpired undo data even if it means that transactions fail due to lack of space in the undo tablespace. If retention guarantee is not enabled, the database can overwrite unexpired undo when space is low, thus lowering the undo retention for the system. This option is disabled by default.
- Oracle Database Administrator’s Guide
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