Active Dataguard : read only with apply

A common frustration with standby is that your database is doing nothing else than applying logs. One may want to run some reports on it.

Usually, the database is MOUNTED and not OPEN. This means, apart from selecting from DUAL and performance views like v$$managed_standby or v$session, there is little you can do.

Possibly, you can cancel the recovery and open in read only mode.
SQL ALTER DATABASE RECOVER MANAGED STANDBY DATABASE CANCEL
or
Dataguard edit database db01_sb set state='APPLY-OFF'

Now we can open the database

SQL> alter database open;
Database altered.
SQL> select open_mode from v$database;
OPEN_MODE
---------------
READ ONLY

Now we can query the database

SQL> select count(*) from dba_objects;

COUNT(*)
----------
22783

but not write

SQL> create table t(x number);
create table t(x number)
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-16000: database or pluggable database open for read-only access

if you need to write, there is more than one way to do it. Either logical standby, or snapshot standby, or create an additional database and create database links and synonyms. My preferred option would be golden gate. But this is beyond the scope of this post.

A good option is to open it without stopping the apply process…

DGMGRL> edit database db01_sb set state='APPLY-ON';
SQL> select open_mode from v$database;
OPEN_MODE
--------------------
READ ONLY WITH APPLY

This good but is bounded to the Active Dataguard licensing option (EE).

There are also a few differences

One is that you cannot compile view on the fly.

Primary

SQL> create or replace force view bar as select * from foo;
Warning: View created with compilation errors.
SQL> create table foo(x number);
Table created.
SQL> select status from user_objects where object_name='BAR';
STATUS
---------------
INVALID

The view is invalid, but a select would compile. But not on standby read only
Standby

SQL> select * from bar;
select * from bar
*
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-04045: errors during recompilation/revalidation of BAR
ORA-16000: database or pluggable database open for read-only access

Primary

SQL> select * from bar;
no rows selected


SQL> select * from bar;
no rows selected

A more worrying issuing is security. On your main system, you have failed login attempts

Primary

SQL> alter profile default limit FAILED_LOGIN_ATTEMPTS 3;
Profile altered.
SQL> create user u identified by p;
User created.
SQL> conn u/a@db01_prim
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
Warning: You are no longer connected to ORACLE.
SQL> conn u/b@db01_prim
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
SQL> conn u/c@db01_prim
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
SQL> conn u/d@db01_prim
ERROR:
ORA-28000: the account is locked
SQL> conn / as sysdba
Connected.
SQL> alter user u account unlock;
User altered.

On the standby, since it is read only, the last tentatives are not recorded.

SQL> conn u/e@db01_sb
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
Warning: You are no longer connected to ORACLE.
SQL> conn u/f@db01_sb
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
SQL> conn u/g@db01_sb
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
SQL> conn u/h@db01_sb
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied

which allows you unlimited login attempts

As well, audit records are not generated.
Primary

SQL> audit session;

Standby

SQL> conn u/xxx@db01_sb
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
Warning: You are no longer connected to ORACLE.
SQL> conn / as sysdba
Connected.
SQL> SELECT USERNAME,ACTION_NAME,TIMESTAMP,RETURNCODE FROM DBA_AUDIT_TRAIL ORDER BY TIMESTAMP DESC;
no rows selected

No audit record from ORA-01017

Primary

SQL> conn u/xxx@db01_prim
ERROR:
ORA-01017: invalid username/password; logon denied
Warning: You are no longer connected to ORACLE.
SQL> conn / as sysdba
Connected.
SQL> SELECT USERNAME,ACTION_NAME,TIMESTAMP,RETURNCODE FROM DBA_AUDIT_TRAIL ORDER BY TIMESTAMP DESC
USER ACTION TIMESTAMP RETURNCODE
---- ------ ------------------- ----------
U LOGON 2019-06-14_15:39:05 1017

On primary, audit records are saved as expected. There are many other things/tools that won’t work the same way. Because it is read-only. Use with care if you are entitled too.

Published by Laurent Schneider

Oracle Certified Master

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5 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Need you suggestion here ,we are applying the below patch in standby database which is open read only database,
    29699220
    |
    |- README.txt
    |
    |- README.html
    |
    |- 29494060/
    | –README.html
    | —
    |
    |- 29774383/

    error:

    we got the below error which usually we have not faced before,please suggest.

    Connecting to database…OK
    DBD::Oracle::st execute failed: ORA-16000: database or pluggable database open for read-only access
    ORA-06512: at “SYS.DBMS_LOCK”, line 245
    ORA-06512: at “SYS.DBMS_LOCK”, line 252
    ORA-06512: at “SYS.DBMS_LOCK”, line 305
    ORA-06512: at line 4 (DBD ERROR: OCIStmtExecute) [for Statement “DECLARE
    lockhandle VARCHAR2(128);
    BEGIN
    dbms_lock.allocate_unique(‘sqlpatch_lock’, lockhandle);
    ? := lockhandle;
    ? := dbms_lock.request(lockhandle, dbms_lock.x_mode, 1, false);
    END;” with ParamValues: :p1=undef, :p2=undef] at /oradata/app/oracle/product/12.1.0.2/sqlpatch/sqlpatch.pm line 956.

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