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Oracle New Features

Robert Freeman



Robert Freeman is available for custom
consulting and is a recognized expert in all areas of Oracle technology.  Freeman is the author of "Oracle Replication" and "Easy Oracle Jumpstart", a great new book for beginner Remote DBA's.

Backup and Recovery Features

Oracle offers new backup and recovery features. You can now archive to multiple archivelog destinations. New features in Oracle standby databases make it much easier to administer. Oracle introduced log miner, a tool that allows you to mine the database redo logs for all sorts of information.


RMAN is just better in 8i. Most recovery catalog requirements are gone. The duplicate command is new in 8i. Tablespace point in time recovery is now supported and new views help you monitor performance of RMAN (v$backup_sync_io and v$backup_async_io).

Multiplexed Archived Redo Logs

Oracle now allows you to multiplex archived redo log locations to up to 5 different locations. This is done with the new log_archive_dest_n parameter. You can also define the state of those locations with the log_archive_dest_state_n parameter to enable or defer archiving to a defined location.

Standby Database

Standby database in Oracle now allows for managed recovery mode. When the standby database is put in this mode, it will apply redo from the primary database automatically with no administrator interaction (or scripts) required. Note that this mode is mutually exclusive with the standby database when it’s open in read-only mode (another new feature!). To put the database in managed recovery mode issue the following command:


recover managed standby database;


If you want to open your standby database in read-only mode, issue the following command:


Alter database open read only;


When you are done, you can simply shutdown the instance and then re-mount it to start managed recovery again.


Perhaps one of the most underutilized Oracle utilities, logMiner was released in Oracle version 8i. This utility reads the online and archived redo log file and populates views that the Remote DBA can query to analyze the redo stream. With this utility you can see most database changes, who made them and when. The dbms_logmnr and dbms_logmnr_d packages are available in 8i to manage log miner operations and create the log miner dictionary file. A new view, V$LOGMNR_CONTENTS is available to query the results of your log mining session.

Summary Management

Oracle8i introduced Materialized views that allow you to denormalize database structures in a much easier way than was possible in the past. This allows you to provide calculated summary views of data in your database. Unfortunately, there are a number of restrictions with fast refresh and multi-table joins that make this new feature somewhat difficult to work with.

Query rewrite is another feature related to materialized views. With Query rewrite Oracle can look at a SQL query, and given the correct conditions, rewrite that query to make use of an existing materialized view. This can improve the performance of that query.

Note: Oracle also renames snapshot replication objects to materialized views.

Note: It is a common misconception that local materialized views can not be fast refreshed if they involve a join. This is not the case.



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