Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Undo data vs. Redo log

The main difference is that UNDO data can make the change go away, and REDO can make the change happen again if necessary. UNDO holds a copy of previous data untill the transaction commits and for some time afterwards (depending on undo retention period specified), thus providing read consistence, since the user can read the data as it is at the time a transaction started, while transaction is still in the process. Capturing the undo data enables Oracle to roll back the uncommitted data. Undo data is used for both read consistency and to recover from failed transactions.

UNDO segments store BEFORE images of a record, while REDO logs record redo entries.

For example the user adds a record to the database - an employee named John Doe with ID of 3. Currently database contains two records - with IDs of 1 and 2. So UNDO data captures those two records in case we need to rollback the insertion of record with ID 3.

Meanwhile REDO log records all the changes to the database as they happen. If the database crashes, Oracle will first read redo logs and apply all committed changes 9the ones that didn't end up in data files yet, due to the crash) before opening the database for regular use.

Here is a simple differences between the two:

Undo Redo
Makes a change go away Reproduces a change
Used for rollback and read consistency Used for rolling forward the changes
Protects the database from inconsistent reads Protects from data loss
Data stored in Undo segments in Undo tablespace Logs stored in SGA, in memory

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