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Don Burleson Blog 







RMAN delete obsolete does not remove all files

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 19, 2015

Question:  Am having some problem with deleting old backups.  We have old backups on disk. Have kept the recovery window for 30 days.  After that when I execute

RMAN> delete obsolete;

When I issue the RMAN delete obsolete command it deletes only a few backup files. many old backup files still remain.  Why does RMAN not delete all of my older files?

Answer:  RMAN is not removing all of the files because some of them may still be needed for a full recovery!  It's all about how RMAN defines an obsolete file.  Generally, an obsolete file is one that supplements a full backup that will never be used for a recovery and roll-forward.

The Oracle docs note the rules for a file becoming obsolete:

'DELETE OBSOLETE does not delete backups required to satisfy the specified retention policy, even if some backups have KEEP UNTIL times set which have passed to override the retention policy.

Backups are never obsolete if they are still needed to meet the retention policy, regardless of any KEEP UNTIL time. With a recovery window-based retention policy, even if the specified KEEP UNTIL time has expired, the backup is retained if the backup is needed to satisfy the recovery window.

With a redundancy-based retention policy, even if the specified KEEP UNTIL time has expired, the backup is retained as long as it is required to satisfy the redundancy requirement. '

You can also use the REDUNDANCY or RECOVERY WINDOW clauses with DELETE to delete backups obsolete under a specific retention policy instead of the configured default:


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