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Bit of a stumper….

Well, I finally decided I have something noteworthy to blog about.  This was a bit of a stumper, that we ran into the other day….I did finally get to the bottom of it, and I thought it worth a mention, here.

We have a three node RAC running on DL-585s.

This is a reasonably busy system, but, these boxes have lots of horsepower, so, no serious I/O or CPU bottlenecks are observed.  We seem to be humming along when we hit ORA-257 (archiver error, connect internal only until freed).  I think “Ok, the archivelog backup process is failing to run, and the archivelog area is full”.  But, I find that the 100GB archivelog area is nearly empty.  And we’re still stuck on ORA-257.  What the ….?  Some weird bug, perhaps?  We notice that bouncing the stuck instance frees up the problem…..very strange indeed.

To make a long story short, we opened an SR, uploaded lots and lots of logs, and discovered…..when this server was set up, processes was set to 500, which is too small.  The process table filled up, and at archive time, apparently the archiver spawns a process to talk to ASM  (archivelog area is under ASM), and since the process table was full, it couldn’t do that, so it reports the (misleading) ORA-257 error.  We bumped processes to 1000 for all three nodes, and Voila! Problem solved.

So, anyhow, just thought I’d mention that scenario.  If you hit ORA-257 and your ASM managed archivelog area is not full, think PROCESSES parameter…