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Every Oracle Database must have a method of maintaining 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:

Earlier releases of Oracle Database used rollback segments to store undo. Oracle 9i introduced automatic undo management, which simplifies undo space management by eliminating the complexities associated with rollback segment management. Oracle strongly recommends that you use undo tablespace to manage undo rather than rollback segments.

Switching to Automatic Management of Undo Space

To go for automatic management of undo space set the following parameter.


1    If you have not created an undo tablespace at the time of creating a database then, create an undo tablespace by typing the following command

SQL>create undo tablespace myundo datafile 
         ‘/u01/oracle/ica/undo_tbs.dbf’ size 500M
                        autoextend ON next 5M ;

When the system is first running in the production environment, you may be unsure of the space requirements of the undo tablespace. In this case, you can enable automatic extension for datafiles of the undo tablespace so that they automatically increase in size when more space is needed

2.    Shutdown the Database and set the following parameters in parameter file.


3.    Start the Database.

Now Oracle Database will use Automatic Undo Space Management.

Calculating the Space Requirements For Undo Retention

You can calculate space requirements manually using the following formula:

UndoSpace = UR * UPS + overhead


As an example, if UNDO_RETENTION is set to 3 hours, and the transaction rate (UPS) is 100 undo blocks for each second, with a 8K block size, the required undo space is computed as follows:

(3 * 3600 * 100 * 8K) = 8.24GBs

To get the values for UPS, Overhead query the V$UNDOSTAT view. By giving the following statement

SQL> Select * from V$UNDOSTAT;

Altering UNDO Tablespace

If the Undo tablespace is full, you can resize existing datafiles or add new datafiles to it

The following example extends an existing datafile

SQL> alter database datafile ‘/u01/oracle/ica/undo_tbs.dbf’ resize 700M

The following example adds a new datafile to undo tablespace


Dropping an Undo Tablespace

Use the DROP TABLESPACE statement to drop an undo tablespace. The following example drops the undo tablespace undotbs_01:


An undo tablespace can only be dropped if it is not currently used by any instance. If the undo tablespace contains any outstanding transactions (for example, a transaction died but has not yet been recovered), the DROP TABLESPACE statement fails.

Switching Undo Tablespaces

You can switch from using one undo tablespace to another. Because the UNDO_TABLESPACE initialization parameter is a dynamic parameter, the ALTER SYSTEM SET statement can be used to assign a new undo tablespace.

The following statement switches to a new undo tablespace:


Assuming myundo is the current undo tablespace, after this command successfully executes, the instance uses myundo2 in place of myundo as its undo tablespace.

Viewing Information about Undo Tablespace

To view statistics for tuning undo tablespace query the following dictionary

SQL>select * from v$undostat;

To see how many active Transactions are there and to see undo segment information give the following command

SQL>select * from v$transaction;

To see the sizes of extents in the undo tablespace give the following query

SQL>select * from DBA_UNDO_EXTENTS;




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