Oracle 10gR2 and higher automatically tunes the undo retention period based on how the undo tablespace is configured.
- If the undo tablespace is configured with the AUTOEXTEND option, the database dynamically tunes the undo retention period to be somewhat longer than the longest-running active query on the system. However, this retention period may be insufficient to accommodate Oracle Flashback operations. Oracle Flashback operations resulting in “snapshot too old” errors are the indicator that you must intervene to ensure that sufficient undo data is retained to support these operations. To better accommodate Oracle Flashback features, you can either set the UNDO_RETENTION parameter to a value equal to the longest expected Oracle Flashback operation, or you can change the undo tablespace to fixed size.
- If the undo tablespace is fixed size, the database dynamically tunes the undo retention period for the best possible retention for that tablespace size and the current system load. This best possible retention time is typically significantly greater than the duration of the longest-running active query.
- To guarantee the success of long-running queries or Oracle Flashback operations, you can enable retention guarantee. If retention guarantee is enabled, the specified minimum undo retention is guaranteed; the database never overwrites unexpired undo data even if it means that transactions fail due to lack of space in the undo tablespace. If retention guarantee is not enabled, the database can overwrite unexpired undo when space is low, thus lowering the undo retention for the system. This option is disabled by default.