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ORA-01555 : Snapshot too old Why?


One of my friend asked me about this error on today morning,i just want to explain about the snapshot too old error.

Undo data is stored in the undo tablespace, the tablespace nominated by the UNDO_TABLESPACE instance parameter. This tablespace should be sized according to the rate at which undo data is being generated and the length of the queries running in the database.

But even if the undo tablespace is inadequately sized and therefore comes under space pressure, automatic undo retention tuning will tend to minimize problems.

Undo data generated by a transaction must always be kept until the transaction commits. This is an absolute; under no circumstances will Oracle ever overwrite undo data that might be needed to rollback a transaction. This data is known as “active” undo data.

Once a transaction has committed, its undo data is no longer active, but it could still be needed to support long running queires that began before the transaction. Data that may be needed for this purpose is known as “unexpired” undo data.

 “Expired” undo is data that is no longer needed either to rollback a transaction or to be read by queries.. Active undo will never be overwritten, and ideally expired undo can be safely overwritten at any time.

Unexpired undo can be overwritten, but at the risk of causing queries to fail with the “ORA-01555 : Snapshot too old” error.

The point at which data transitions from “unexpired” to “expired” is controlled by the instance parameter UNDO_RETENTION.

With release 9i of the Oracle database,Oracle would overwrite any expired undo. This meant that if the UNDO_RETENTION parameter were not set appropriately or (not set at all, in which case it defaults to 9oo seconds), there would be great danger of ORA-1555 errors.

Oracle 10g relaeas of the database effectively ignores the UNDO_RETENTION parameter. It will always overwrite the oldest bit of undo data.This means that is a sense there is no longer any difference between expired and unexpired undo and that the UNDO_RETENTION instance parameter is redundant, because undo retention is automatically tuned for the longest possible query.

To monitor the automatic undo retention tuning ,query V$UNDOSTAT this query will show,


Iin fivteen minutes intervals, how old(in seconds) the oldest block of inactive undo data was. provided that no query started earlier than that, you will never receive a snapshot too old error. The larger the undo tablespace is and the less the transaction workload is, the further back the TUNED_UNDORETENTION will be.

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