Recovering spfile with RMAN

I ran into this little bug when trying to restore a databases server parameter file using RMAN.

The scenario

Oracle 9iR2, RMAN using a recovery catalog, incremental level 0 backup of the complete database.

I shut down my test database and removed the spfile. I should be able to recover it easily with the following commands:

$ rman target=backup_admin/password catalog=rcat_user/password@rman

RMAN> startup nomount;

RMAN> restore spfile from autobackup;

But instead I get this error:

RMAN-00571: ===========================================================
RMAN-00569: =============== ERROR MESSAGE STACK FOLLOWS ===============
RMAN-00571: ===========================================================
RMAN-03002: failure of restore command at 06/29/2006 16:48:26
RMAN-12010: automatic channel allocation initialization failed
RMAN-06004: ORACLE error from recovery catalog database: RMAN-20001: target database not found in recovery catalog

Now my ORACLE_SID is set and dandy, the target most certainly is in the recovery catalog, so why do I get this error?

The solution

Since I was only using an spfile (no init.ora at all) there was nothing to set the db_name as the database started up. To resolve this I created an initdoomed.ora in the default location with only the following line in it (my database is named doomed.)


Returned to RMAN and tried all this again:

RMAN> restore spfile from autobackup;

Starting restore at 30-JUN-06

allocated channel: ORA_DISK_1
channel ORA_DISK_1: sid=9 devtype=DISK
channel ORA_DISK_1: looking for autobackup on day: 20060630
channel ORA_DISK_1: autobackup found: c-2546195804-20060630-01
channel ORA_DISK_1: SPFILE restore from autobackup complete
Finished restore at 30-JUN-06

Success! You can now shutdown the database, remove the spfile if desired and startup the database with the spfile in place.

oracle, database, backup, 9ir2, rman, dba

Oracle Webcasts

Donald Burleson has compiled a rather large list of his webcasts. The topics range from deep technical Oracle topics to some good tricks for improving Google search results.

The webcasts are on different services and in different formats but they are all fairly short. Some of the topics are best suited to advanced audiences, but there’s plenty there for everyone.

Donald Burleson’s Oracle Webcasts

webcasts, oracle, oracle database, rdbms

What’s in a Blog

The group I work and socialize with frequently talk about how our blogs reflect our professional experience. Judging by this recent post from Rod Boothby we’re clearly not the only ones thinking about this:

Career 2.0 is probably going to be much the same as Career 1.0; except, now, the bar is higher. Running your own blog, and making a public name for yourself is part of achieving those new heights.

Rod refers to Career 2.0 while I’ve been referring to Resume 2.0, but the ideas are the same. Your blog (if you have one) is part of your professional image. If you write about important topics in your field, share your experience and resources, and perhaps a bit about your personality you will be more appealing to employers than those who just have a two page paper resume.

Think about it. If you haven’t been on a hiring committee, get on one. It’s a good experience. You’ll notice that everyone wants to know more about the candidates: What are their interests? How deep is their experience? How do they communicate? The more of these questions you can answer before the interview process the better.

resume, resume 2.0, career, blog, hiring

Synergy – Cross Platform Mouse and Keyboard Sharing

SynergyTim Haroutunian recently discovered the open-source, cross-platform utility Synergy which allows you to seamlessly share a keyboard and mouse with several computers of varying platforms.

The behavior of Synergy is similar to having multiple monitors on a single computer with the added advantage that you’re controlling multiple systems. Since I have both a Mac OSX desktop and a Windows laptop on my desk it was nice to reduce myself to one keyboard and mouse! Even clipboard data is shared between the systems.

Setup was a little less than intuitive but well worth it. Out of the box, security is fairly weak, however the Synergy project page does have instructions on how to tunnel Synergy traffic through SSH. Mac, Windows and Linux binaries are available along with the source code for those DIYers.

kvm, cross-platform, software, systems administration, linux, OSX

Blogger Recreates Blog from Google Cache

GoogleAfter a catastrophic disk failure a long-time blogger was faced with complete data loss.

“I had the database backed up into a separate directory, but unfortunately it was on the same disk as the live one, so when that disk died I lost everything” the blog administrator sheepishly admitted. “I wasn’t sure what I could do. Professional data recovery is costly and not guaranteed, and the thought of starting again from scratch after having hundreds of stories was daunting. Then it struck me… Google has all my data!”

OK, so this never really happened, but why couldn’t it? Of course you’d have to manually copy and paste all your content, but if you were trying to recover from complete data loss on a public-facing web server you could conceivably recover all your text, with markup, from Google’s cache.

Go ahead and try it. Go to Google and search for your site. Right now the search “” returns 376 results (or actually ‘376 Wesuwts’ since I changed my language to Elmer Fudd) and from those cached pages I was easily able to find most of my content.

Remember to backup often and to a secure location separate from where your server is, but if you’re ever trying to get a page or site back from the dead, Google may just save your bacon.

google, disaster recovery, blogs, internet, information technology