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Oracle ACFS Snapshot Use Cases on Exadata (Doc ID 2761360.1)

Last updated on JUNE 13, 2023

Applies to:

Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software - Version and later
Gen 1 Exadata Cloud at Customer (Oracle Exadata Database Cloud Machine) - Version N/A and later
Gen 2 Exadata Cloud at Customer - Version N/A and later
Oracle Database Cloud Exadata Service - Version N/A and later
Oracle Database - Enterprise Edition - Version and later
Information in this document applies to any platform.


Many customers running Oracle Exadata Database Machines for production also use Exadata for their test/development environments as well. Customers typically need separate databases for testing, Quality Assurance (Q/A) and development evaluations and possibly sandbox environments. For simplicity sake in this document we will refer to these databases collectively as “test” databases. The options you choose will depend on your business requirements. Exadata provides 3 optimized test/development database solutions catered to these requirements:

  1. Case 1: Full end-to-end performance and high availability (HA) testing and comparison required
    In this use case the test database is used to evaluate if performance gains or regressions have occurred after hardware, software, database or application changes have been made.
  2. Case 2: Database/application functionality testing
    In this case the test database is leveraged to evaluate simple HA, performance and Exadata features. Typically this can be the case where a developer may make application or query changes and wants to ensure Exadata features/benefits are still being leveraged.  See Setting Up Oracle Exadata Storage Snapshots in the System Software User’s Guide for Exadata Database Machine documentation for more information on this method of testing.
  3. Case 3: Advanced snapshot capabilities similar to third party copy-on-write.
    In this use case the focus is on very cost-effective test databases covering different timelines of data images using snapshot technologies for application and database functional testing. In this use case leveraging Exadata smart features is not required.  See About Oracle ACFS Snapshots in the Oracle Automatic Storage Management Cluster File System documentation for more information on configuration for this type of snapshot.

This note will document potential usages of ACFS Snapshots on Exadata, describing how to create snapshots of Pluggable Databases (PDBs), full databases, either Container Databases (CDBs) or non-CDB, in addition to describing a very common use case, Read/Write test master, again either non-CDB or CDB, with multiple time line support. This last case will describe how to use a single full copy of a database, keep it current using Data Guard, while also supporting multiple snapshot trees on different timelines in the life of the database.


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In this Document
 Steps to Create an Oracle ACFS File System
 Steps to Resize an Oracle ACFS File System
 How to Clone a PDB with ACFS Snapshots
 How to Clone a Full Database (non-CDB or CDB) with ACFS Snapshots
 Steps to Create and Use the Clone
 Creating Clones of a Read/Write Test Master with Multiple Timeline Support
 Snapshot Space Utilization

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