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 Oracle RAC Archive Log Files
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Oracle 11g Grid & Real Application Clusters by Rampant TechPress is written by four of the top Oracle database experts (Steve Karam, Bryan Jones, Mike Ault and Madhu Tumma).  The following is an excerpt from the book.

Archive Log Files

Archive log files are actually the saved redo log files. When a redo log file is filled up and the next redo log file is put to use, the filled redo log file is saved or archived. The saved files are known as archive log files.


Automatic archiving can be enabled on the redo log. Oracle automatically archives redo log files when the database in is in ARCHIVELOG mode.  The archive logs are written to the destination specified by the log_archive_dest parameter and the optional log_archive_duplex_dest parameter.  If sending the archived log files to a remote destination is required, then the log_archive_dest_n  parameter would be used where n is an integer from 1 to 10.  The log_archive_dest_n parameter supports both local and remote destinations.  The log_archive_dest and log_archive_duplex_dest only support local destinations.


In RAC, a separate set of archive log files is created by each instance. Since each RAC instance has its own redo log files, the corresponding archive log files are produced when the log switch takes place. The archive log files may be written to a local file system or to a cluster file system. Oracle does not insist upon a particular type of file system. Writing to a clustered file system has the added advantage of being available to archive all the nodes in the cluster, which becomes important in case of media recovery. 

Parameter File (SPFILE)

The attributes of an instance depend on the initialization parameters used for starting up the instance. Initialization parameters control the configuration of the database system. They are the key directives to start and manage any instance. While launching the database instance, parameters are specified, and they remain until the instance is shutdown. Optionally, certain parameters may be modified during the instance run time by the ALTER SYSTEM SET method, provided the instance has been started with the SPFILE method.


The SPFILE feature allows the changing of parameter values dynamically. It also allows them to be set either permanently or in memory only. For Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), one server parameter file can be used and shared among instances. The usage of a single copy of the SPFILE for the entire database provides administrative convenience and simplification. The SPFILE must be located on a clustered file system. 

Password File

The password file is another important file that is shared by all the instances of Oracle 11g RAC. This file, which is stored in binary format, records all of the authentication privileges granted to the users.  Privileges such as SYSDBA or SYSOPER are recorded in this file.  The password file is required for remote authentication for the users with SYSDBA or SYSOPER privileges. This file is located on the shared file system.

Alert Log File and Trace Files

In Oracle 11g, alert and trace files are stored in the Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR).  ADR is a fault diagnosability infrastructure for preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and resolving problems.  The problem categories are database code bugs, metadata corruption, and user data corruption.  Oracle 11g maintains two alert log files: a text formatted and XML formatted file.  The alert log file, background trace files, and server process trace files are created in the ADR.  The new 11g diagnostic_dest parameter determines the ADR location.


Each instance in the RAC database writes to the alert log file and produces trace files periodically. The alert log file contains all of the messages generated by the Oracle database kernel. Trace files contain detailed information about a specific event or issue. These log and trace files help the administrators keep track of the database activity and assist in troubleshooting.  Upon instance startup, the database writes all non-default parameter settings to the alert log file.


The alter log file and trace files may be written either to a directory within a local file system or within the cluster file system.



NOTE: Rampant author Laurent Schneider has some additional insight into creating an Oracle Automatic Diagnostic Repository (ADR)


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