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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Managing the Audit Trail

Audit records are written when the statement is executed. Even if a statement or transaction is rolled back, the audit trail record remains. Auditing BY SESSION will write only one record to the audit trail. Auditing BY ACCESS will write multiple records, one for each time the action is executed.      

The audit trail grows according to the following factors:

  • The number of audit options enabled

  • The number of audited actions issued


You need to control the growth of the audit trail with the following methods:

  • Enable and disable auditing options.

  • Be selective in deciding which auditing to turn on.

  • Control who can perform auditing.      

In order to control the auditing of objects, Oracle recommends that all objects be owned by a separate schema that does not correspond to an actual user and that is not granted CONNECT SESSION. This will prevent anyone from connecting as the owner of these objects and turning on auditing for the objects. The AUDIT ANY system privilege should not be granted to anyone except the security administrator. An alternate method is to have all the objects owned by the security administrator.      

If the audit trail record cannot be written, the audited action will not be executed and errors will be generated. If connections are being audited and the audit trail table (SYS.AUD$) is full, users will not be allowed to log in to the database. The Remote DBA can CONNECT INTERNAL using Server Manager in either GUI or command-line mode and clean out the audit trail.      

You should develop an auditing strategy by evaluating the purpose of the auditing and be conservative in the auditing performed. When auditing is being set to investigate possible problems, begin with general auditing and then narrow it down to specific actions. If the purpose of the audit is to provide a record of historical activity, remember to archive (to another table or an export file) and purge data on a regular basis. You can selectively insert records to another table if only a subset needs to be maintained.

Take these recommended steps to truncate the audit trail:

      1.    Copy any subset of records you may need to keep into a temporary table, or export the entire SYS.AUD$ table.


      3.    Truncate the SYS.AUD$ table.

      4.    Insert records from the temporary table back into SYS.AUD$.

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