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Flashback New Features and Enhancements in Oracle Database 10g

Oracle9i introduced the DBMS_FLASHBACK package to allow queries to reference older versions of the database. Oracle 10g has taken this technology a step further making it simpler to use and much more flexible.

Note: Internally Oracle uses SCNs to track changes so any flashback operation that uses a timestamp must be translated into the nearest SCN which can result in a 3 second error.

Related articles.

Flashback Query

Flashback Query allows the contents of a table to be queried with reference to a specific point in time, using the AS OF clause. Essentially it is the same as the DBMS_FLASHBACK functionality or Oracle 9i, but in a more convenient form. For example.

CREATE TABLE flashback_query_test (
  id  NUMBER(10)
);

SELECT current_scn, TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAMP, 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS') FROM v$database;

CURRENT_SCN TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAM
----------- -------------------
     722452 2004-03-29 13:34:12

INSERT INTO flashback_query_test (id) VALUES (1);
COMMIT;

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM flashback_query_test;

  COUNT(*)
----------
         1

SELECT COUNT(*)
FROM   flashback_query_test AS OF TIMESTAMP TO_TIMESTAMP('2004-03-29 13:34:12', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS');

  COUNT(*)
----------
         0

SELECT COUNT(*)
FROM   flashback_query_test AS OF SCN 722452;

  COUNT(*)
----------
         0

Flashback Version Query

Flashback version query allows the versions of a specific row to be tracked during a specified time period using the VERSIONS BETWEEN clause.

CREATE TABLE flashback_version_query_test (
  id           NUMBER(10),
  description  VARCHAR2(50)
);

INSERT INTO flashback_version_query_test (id, description) VALUES (1, 'ONE');
COMMIT;

SELECT current_scn, TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAMP, 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS') FROM v$database;

CURRENT_SCN TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAM
----------- -------------------
     725202 2004-03-29 14:59:08
     
UPDATE flashback_version_query_test SET description = 'TWO' WHERE id = 1;
COMMIT;
UPDATE flashback_version_query_test SET description = 'THREE' WHERE id = 1;
COMMIT;

SELECT current_scn, TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAMP, 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS') FROM v$database;

CURRENT_SCN TO_CHAR(SYSTIMESTAM
----------- -------------------
     725219 2004-03-29 14:59:36
     
COLUMN versions_startscn FORMAT 99999999999999999
COLUMN versions_starttime FORMAT A24
COLUMN versions_endscn FORMAT 99999999999999999
COLUMN versions_endtime FORMAT A24
COLUMN versions_xid FORMAT A16
COLUMN versions_operation FORMAT A1
COLUMN description FORMAT A11
SET LINESIZE 200

SELECT versions_startscn, versions_starttime, 
       versions_endscn, versions_endtime,
       versions_xid, versions_operation,
       description  
FROM   flashback_version_query_test 
       VERSIONS BETWEEN TIMESTAMP TO_TIMESTAMP('2004-03-29 14:59:08', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS')
       AND TO_TIMESTAMP('2004-03-29 14:59:36', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS')
WHERE  id = 1;

 VERSIONS_STARTSCN VERSIONS_STARTTIME          VERSIONS_ENDSCN VERSIONS_ENDTIME         VERSIONS_XID     V DESCRIPTION
------------------ ------------------------ ------------------ ------------------------ ---------------- - -----------
            725212 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                                                02001C0043030000 U THREE
            725209 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                725212 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM    0600030021000000 U TWO
                                                        725209 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                       ONE

SELECT versions_startscn, versions_starttime, 
       versions_endscn, versions_endtime,
       versions_xid, versions_operation,
       description  
FROM   flashback_version_query_test 
       VERSIONS BETWEEN SCN 725202 AND 725219
WHERE  id = 1;

 VERSIONS_STARTSCN VERSIONS_STARTTIME          VERSIONS_ENDSCN VERSIONS_ENDTIME         VERSIONS_XID     V DESCRIPTION
------------------ ------------------------ ------------------ ------------------------ ---------------- - -----------
            725212 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                                                02001C0043030000 U THREE
            725209 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                725212 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM    0600030021000000 U TWO
                                                        725209 29-MAR-04 02.59.16 PM                       ONE

The available pseudocolumn meanings are:

The boundaries of the version query can also be defined using the MINVALUE and MAXVALUE keywords.

Flashback Transaction Query

Flashback transaction query can be used to get extra information about the transactions listed by flashback version queries. The VERSIONS_XID column values from a flashback version query can be used to query the FLASHBACK_TRANSACTION_QUERY view.

SELECT xid, operation, start_scn,commit_scn, logon_user, undo_sql
FROM   flashback_transaction_query
WHERE  xid = HEXTORAW('0600030021000000');


XID              OPERATION                         START_SCN COMMIT_SCN
---------------- -------------------------------- ---------- ----------
LOGON_USER
------------------------------
UNDO_SQL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0600030021000000 UPDATE                               725208     725209
SCOTT
update "SCOTT"."FLASHBACK_VERSION_QUERY_TEST" set "DESCRIPTION" = 'ONE' where ROWID = 'AAAMP9AAEAAAA
AYAAA';

0600030021000000 BEGIN                                725208     725209
SCOTT

XID              OPERATION                         START_SCN COMMIT_SCN
---------------- -------------------------------- ---------- ----------
LOGON_USER
------------------------------
UNDO_SQL
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



2 rows selected.

Flashback Table

The FLASHBACK TABLE command allows point in time recovery of individual tables subject to the following requirements.

The following example creates a table, inserts some data and flashbacks to a point prior to the data insertion. Finally it flashbacks to the time after the data insertion.

CREATE TABLE flashback_table_test (
  id  NUMBER(10)
);

ALTER TABLE flashback_table_test ENABLE ROW MOVEMENT;

SELECT current_scn FROM v$database;

CURRENT_SCN
-----------
     715315

INSERT INTO flashback_table_test (id) VALUES (1);
COMMIT;

SELECT current_scn FROM v$database;

CURRENT_SCN
-----------
     715340

FLASHBACK TABLE flashback_table_test TO SCN 715315;

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM flashback_table_test;

  COUNT(*)
----------
         0

FLASHBACK TABLE flashback_table_test TO SCN 715340;

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM flashback_table_test;

  COUNT(*)
----------
         1

Flashback of tables can also be performed using timestamps.

FLASHBACK TABLE flashback_table_test TO TIMESTAMP TO_TIMESTAMP('2004-03-03 10:00:00', 'YYYY-MM-DD HH:MI:SS');

Flashback Drop (Recycle Bin)

In Oracle 10g the default action of a DROP TABLE command is to move the table to the recycle bin (or rename it), rather than actually dropping it. The DROP TABLE ... PURGE option can be used to permanently drop a table.

DROP TABLE my_table PURGE;

The recycle bin is a logical collection of previously dropped objects, with access tied to the DROP privilege. This feature does not use flashback logs or undo, so it is independent of the other flashback technologies. The contents of the recycle bin can be shown using the SHOW RECYCLEBIN command and purged using the PURGE TABLE command. As a result, a previously dropped table can be recovered from the recycle bin.

CREATE TABLE flashback_drop_test (
  id  NUMBER(10)
);

INSERT INTO flashback_drop_test (id) VALUES (1);
COMMIT;

DROP TABLE flashback_drop_test;

SHOW RECYCLEBIN

ORIGINAL NAME    RECYCLEBIN NAME                OBJECT TYPE  DROP TIME
---------------- ------------------------------ ------------ -------------------
FLASHBACK_DROP_T BIN$TstgCMiwQA66fl5FFDTBgA==$0 TABLE        2004-03-29:11:09:07
EST

FLASHBACK TABLE flashback_drop_test TO BEFORE DROP;

SELECT * FROM flashback_drop_test;

        ID
----------
         1

Tables in the recycle bin can be queried like any other table.

DROP TABLE flashback_drop_test;

SHOW RECYCLEBIN

ORIGINAL NAME    RECYCLEBIN NAME                OBJECT TYPE  DROP TIME
---------------- ------------------------------ ------------ -------------------
FLASHBACK_DROP_T BIN$TDGqmJZKR8u+Hrc6PGD8kw==$0 TABLE        2004-03-29:11:18:39
EST

SELECT * FROM "BIN$TDGqmJZKR8u+Hrc6PGD8kw==$0";

        ID
----------
         1

If an object is dropped and recreated multiple times all dropped versions will be kept in the recycle bin, subject to space. Where multiple versions are present it's best to reference the tables via the RECYCLEBIN_NAME. For any references to the ORIGINAL_NAME it is assumed the most recent object is drop version in the referenced question. During the flashback operation the table can be renamed.

FLASHBACK TABLE flashback_drop_test TO BEFORE DROP RENAME TO flashback_drop_test_old;

Several purge options exist.

PURGE TABLE tablename;                   -- Specific table.
PURGE INDEX indexname;                   -- Specific index.
PURGE TABLESPACE ts_name;                -- All tables in a specific tablespace.
PURGE TABLESPACE ts_name USER username;  -- All tables in a specific tablespace for a specific user.
PURGE RECYCLEBIN;                        -- The current users entire recycle bin.
PURGE DBA_RECYCLEBIN;                    -- The whole recycle bin.

Several restrictions apply relating to the recycle bin.

This feature can be disabled/enabled at the session or system level.

-- Session level.
ALTER SESSION SET recyclebin = OFF;
ALTER SESSION SET recyclebin = ON;

-- System level.
ALTER SYSTEM SET recyclebin = OFF;
ALTER SYSTEM SET recyclebin = ON;

Flashback Database

The FLASHBACK DATABASE command is a fast alternative to performing an incomplete recovery. In order to flashback the database you must have SYSDBA privilege and the flash recovery area must have been prepared in advance.

The FLASHBACK_ON column of the V$DATABASE view shows the current status of flashback database.

If the database is in NOARCHIVELOG it must be switched to ARCHIVELOG mode.

CONN / AS SYSDBA
ALTER SYSTEM SET log_archive_dest_1='location=d:\oracle\oradata\DB10G\archive\' SCOPE=SPFILE;
ALTER SYSTEM SET log_archive_format='ARC%S_%R.%T' SCOPE=SPFILE;
SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE
STARTUP MOUNT
ALTER DATABASE ARCHIVELOG;
ALTER DATABASE OPEN;

Flashback must be enabled before any flashback operations are performed.

CONN / AS SYSDBA
SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE
STARTUP MOUNT EXCLUSIVE
ALTER DATABASE FLASHBACK ON;
ALTER DATABASE OPEN;

With flashback enabled the database can be switched back to a previous point in time or SCN without the need for a manual incomplete recovery. In the following example a table is created, the database is then flashbacked to a time before the table was created.

-- Create a dummy table.
CONN scott/tiger
CREATE TABLE flashback_database_test (
  id  NUMBER(10)
);

-- Flashback 5 minutes.
CONN / AS SYSDBA
SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE
STARTUP MOUNT EXCLUSIVE
FLASHBACK DATABASE TO TIMESTAMP SYSDATE-(1/24/12);
ALTER DATABASE OPEN RESETLOGS;

-- Check that the table is gone.
CONN scott/tiger
DESC flashback_database_test

Some other variations of the flashback database command include.

FLASHBACK DATABASE TO TIMESTAMP my_date;
FLASHBACK DATABASE TO BEFORE TIMESTAMP my_date;
FLASHBACK DATABASE TO SCN my_scn;
FLASHBACK DATABASE TO BEFORE SCN my_scn;

The window of time that is available for flashback is determined by the DB_FLASHBACK_RETENTION_TARGET parameter. The maximum flashback can be determined by querying the V$FLASHBACK_DATABASE_LOG view. It is only possible to flashback to a point in time after flashback was enabled on the database and since the last RESETLOGS command.

In addition to using SCNs and timestamps, we can create guaranteed restore points.

CREATE RESTORE POINT before_changes;

Existing restore points can be displayed using the V$RESTORE_POINT view. To flashback to this restore point, we would ssue the following command.

FLASHBACK DATABASE TO RESTORE POINT before_changes;

Flashback Query Functions

The TIMESTAMP_TO_SCN and SCN_TO_TIMESTAMP functions have been added to SQL and PL/SQL to simplify flashback operations.

SELECT *
FROM   emp AS OF SCN TIMESTAMP_TO_SCN(SYSTIMESTAMP - 1/24);

SELECT *
FROM   emp AS OF TIMESTAMP SCN_TO_TIMESTAMP(993240);

DECLARE
  l_scn        NUMBER;
  l_timestamp  TIMESTAMP;
BEGIN
  l_scn       := TIMESTAMP_TO_SCN(SYSTIMESTAMP - 1/24);
  l_timestamp := SCN_TO_TIMESTAMP(l_scn);
END;
/

In addition to querying the V$DATABASE view, the current SCN can be retrieved using the DBMS_FLASHBACK package.

SELECT current_scn FROM v$database;

SELECT DBMS_FLASHBACK.get_system_change_number FROM dual;

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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