I recently had to change the db_unique_name of a database to make it jive with our typical database/DataGuard naming policy of appending the datacenter location. For the sake of this post let's say it was changed from ORCL to ORCL_NYC, since this database is in our fictional New York City datacenter.

I did a quick set of tests and thought I'd share the findings to save anyone any unpleasant surprises. Here are the things to expect when changing DB_UNIQUE_NAME.

Change the Parameter Value

First we obviously have to change the value. How we do so is important.
The command:
alter system set db_unique_name=orcl_nyc scope=spfile;

will result in a db_unique_name of ORCL_NYC, in all uppercase, which is used for the path changes we'll discuss later. However using quotes instead:
alter system set db_unique_name='orcl_nyc' scope=spfile;

will result in a lowercase orcl_nyc value used in the parameter and some paths. In either case, the fun begins when you next restart the instance!

ADR Location (i.e. alert log)

The ADR location appends the DB_UNIQUE_NAME to the location specified by the DIAGNOSTIC_DEST initialization parameter (defaulting to the $ORACLE_BASE environment variable value). When you restart after setting the DB_UNIQUE_NAME, your ADR location will be in a new location using the new DB_UNIQUE_NAME. Probably of most interest to you is that this means your alert log location will move, so any tools or scripts that referenced that file directly (e.g. error-scraping scripts or log-rotation jobs) will need to be updated. 

Regardless of quotes or not, the ADR path always used a lowercase string in the path.


SQL> show parameter db_unique_name

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
db_unique_name                       string      ORCL
SQL> show parameter background_dump_dest

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
background_dump_dest                 string      /oracle/app/diag/rdbms/orcl/or


SQL> show parameter db_unique_name

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
db_unique_name                       string      ORCL_NYC
SQL> show parameter background_dump_dest

NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
background_dump_dest                 string      /oracle/app/diag/rdbms/orcl_ny

Datafile and Online Redo Log OMF Location

If you have the db_create_file_dest (and optionally db_create_online_log_dest_N) parameter set, then Oracle will use the DB_UNIQUE_NAME value in the OMF location for any new datafiles and redo logs created after the change, assuming a full path isn't specified.

SQL> alter tablespace users add datafile size 10m;

Tablespace altered.

SQL> select file_name from dba_data_files
  2  where tablespace_name='USERS';


In this case, Oracle will use an uppercase string regardless of whether or not the DB_UNIQUE_NAME is in upper or lower case. Note that existing files won't be affected, this will only apply to new files.

If this database is part of a DataGuard configuration, you'll want to be sure to update your db_file_name_convert and log_file_name_convert parameters to point to the new location.

FRA (Backups, Archivelogs, Flashback Logs)

In the same spirit of OMF, the FRA will also change locations. Similar to the previous case, the uppercase value of the DB_UNIQUE_NAME is used in the path, regardless of the original case. So, after a change and a couple of log switches, you would see something like this:

SQL> select name from v$archived_log;






Again, this will only affect newly created files. Existing backups, archivelogs and flashback logs will not be affected, they remain cataloged in their present locations and will be accessed just fine. RMAN will delete them when needed (or commanded) and then you could choose to delete the empty directories.

Oracle Wallet

I admit this one I didn't think of. If you use an Oracle Wallet, and do not specify a location in the sqlnet.ora file, Oracle looks in the default location of $ORACLE_BASE/admin/<DB_UNIQUE_NAME>/wallet/. Even more interesting, the DB_UNIQUE_NAME value is case sensitive. So you'll need to be aware of this when moving your wallet files to the new location. Here is a quick look at my findings on this matter:

-- db_unique_name set with no quotes
SQL> select wrl_parameter from v$encryption_wallet;


-- db_unique_name set with quotes, lowercase
SQL> select wrl_parameter from v$encryption_wallet;


I can't say if this makes a difference when running on Windows, which I believe is case-insensitive. But on Linux it makes a difference.


That wraps this one up. I hope it helps a few people out and saves them an hour or two of head-scratching or worse. If there's anything I forgot, please let me know and I'll update this post.