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 Writing to the Oracle Alert Log File
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Advanced Oracle Utilities: The Definitive Reference by Rampant TechPress is written by four of the top Oracle database experts (Bert Scalzo, Donald Burleson, and Steve Callan).  The following is an excerpt from the book.

While not a utility per se, the ability to write messages to the Oracle alert log is an extremely useful ability.  This is being mentioned in this chapter because it is an often needed and useful, but not well documented ability.


There are many cases where the Oracle DBA may want to write custom messages directly into the standard Oracle alert log file located in $ORACLE_HOME/admin/$ORACLE_SID/bdump.


By writing custom messages to the Oracle alert log file,  the default Oracle alerts can be supplemented with custom messages. Writing to the Oracle alert log is exactly the same as writing to any flat file and there are these choices:

  • OS scripts and languages - Use UNIX/Linux utilities to write OS messages, e.g. RAM swapping alerts, into the alert log.  Of course, all procedural languages (C++) can also write messages to the Oracle alert log.

  • PL/SQL - Use the standard utl_file package or call the dbms_system.ksdwrt procedure to write messages to the Oracle alert log file.

  • SQL (read only) - Define the alert log as an external table and access the alert log messages with SQL statements.

The best method to write to the alert log is to use SYS.DBMS_SYSTEM.KSDWRT.  This very handy utility will write a message to the alert log; it takes two arguments, a number (1 or 2), and the text.  The number indicates whether to write to alert or trace.  If set to 1, it writes to a trace file.  If 2, it writes to the alert log.  Because it uses the dbms_system package, write a wrapper around the call and grant privileges to the wrapper procedure or function. Then an execute will not have to be granted on the dbms_system package.  A possible function to accomplish this purpose is below:


create or replace function write_alert_log(log_or_trace in number, text_message in varchar2) return number




  return 0;


  when others then

  return 1;



It is also possible to write to the alert log using utl_file, but there are many privilege issues that arise when using this method and many more lines of programming.  The easy method is to use the DBMS_SYSTEM.KSDWRT package.


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