RMAN- Block Change Tracking


As data blocks changes, the background process change tracking writer (CTWR) tracks all the changes made to the data block in a private area of memory. When we issue commit on these changes, the block change tracking information is copied to a shared area in large pool called the CTWR buffer. CTWR process writes the information from the CTWR RAM buffer to the change tracking file. Without BCT enabled or in cases when change tracking information cannot be used, RMAN has to read every block in the datafile during incremental backup. Each block contains last system change number (SCN) of its last modification. The block is copied only if its SCN is higher or equal to the base backup SCN. To be precise, the backup SCN is a checkpoint SCN that was made right before the backup. Since, usually, only handful of blocks is changed between incremental backups, RMAN does a lot of useless work reading the blocks not required for backup.
Block change tracking provides a way to identify the blocks required for backup without scanning the whole datafile. After that RMAN need only read blocks that are really required for this incremental backup.

How to Enable/Disable Block change tracking?
Syntax: SQL>Alter database enable block change tracking (syntax when OMF is enabled)
Alter database enable block change tracking using file os_file_name;
Using os_file_name syntax allows you to define the location of the change tracking file on the OS or you can omit this using OMF (oracle Managed files)
By default the change tracking file is created as an Oracle Managed File (OMF) in the location pointed to by the DB_CREATE_FILE_DEST parameter.
SQL>alter database disable block change tracking;

How to monitor the status of block change tracking?
SQL>select filename, status, bytes from v$block_change_tracking

How can we view the size of CTWR dba buffer?
Select * from v$sgastat where name like %CTWR%;