Interesting Data Guard Problem

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While checking out a dataguarded database prior to being handed over into production, I needed to test that both OEM and dgmgrl could carry out a switchover and failover from the (stand-alone) primary db (ORCL_PDB) to the physical standby database (ORCL_SBY), and back again.

The Problem

Database and server names have been changed, to protect the innocent, and me!

OEM had no problems, other than the usual “bug” whereby the credentials used for the standby server were those for the primary server, but hey, that’s OEM for you, it’s nothing if not inconsistent! However, when I tried to use dgmgrl I found a small problem.

While I could happily switchover to the standby database, from either server, switching back always failed with the following error:

DGMGRL> switchover to "ORCL_PDB"

Performing switchover NOW, please wait...
New primary database "ORCL_PDB" is opening...
Operation requires shutdown of instance "ORCL_SBY" on database "ORCL_SBY"
Shutting down instance "ORCL_SBY"...
ORACLE instance shut down.
Operation requires startup of instance "ORCL_SBY" on database "ORCL_SBY"
Starting instance "ORCL_SBY"...
Unable to connect to database
ORA-12521: TNS:listener does not currently know of instance requested in connect descriptor

Warning: You are no longer connected to ORACLE.

Please complete the following steps to finish switchover:
        start up and mount instance "ORCL_SBY" of database "ORCL_SBY"

A quick srvctl start database -d $ORACLE_SID -o mount sorted things out while I investigated the problem.

Data Guard requires that there be an entry in tnsnames.ora for both databases and also for a service name consisting of the database and “DGMGRL”. I checked.

Both TNSNAMES.ORA files have the following, and all entries are configured correctly:


I had no problems running sqlplus sys/password@orcl_whatever as sysdba for any of the above.

Looking in the listener logfile for the standby server’s listener, I noticed that there were entries where the error code shown above (ORA-12521 and also ORA-12514)) were present, however, there was a problem with the host_name.

msg time='yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss.fff+00:00' org_id='oracle' comp_id='tnslsnr'
 type='UNKNOWN' level='16' host_id='sby_server'
 15-JAN-2014 12:44:13 * (CONNECT_DATA=(SERVICE_NAME=ORCL_SBY_DGMGRL)(INSTANCE_NAME=ORCL_XXX)(SERVER=DEDICATED)(CID=(PROGRAM=dgmgrl)(HOST=sby_server)(USER=oracle))) * (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=tcp)(HOST=x.x.x.x)(PORT=53336)) * establish * ORCL_SBY_DGMGRL * 12521

The logfile was showing the instance_name – ORCL_XXX – as something completely unrelated to the instance_name for the standby database – ORCL_SBY. Most confusing, especially when I had already confirmed that tnsnames.ora was correct and also that all the entries functioned correctly, from both servers. Where was this erroneous host name coming from?

Looking in dgmgrl again, I checked the
StaticConnectIdentifier property for both databases.

DGMGRL> show database 'ORCL_PDB' StaticConnectIdentifier

StaticConnectIdentifier =

DGMGRL> show database 'ORCL_SBY' StaticConnectIdentifier

StaticConnectIdentifier =

Bingo! At least, after starting at the screen for a few minutes, it was bingo! I
finally spotted that the stand by database’s property had the wrong instance

The Solution

A simple property edit for the standby database was carried out in dgmgrl as follows:

 DGMGRL> edit database 'ORCL_SBY' set property

The edit database command above is all on one line by the way.

And that was it. After making the change, I was able to run switchovers to and
from the standby on eiither server. Job done.

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