Multitenant Pills: Partial PDB cloning (and cleanup)

When consolidating to multitenant, there are several consolidation patterns.

  • Big, complex databases usually have special requirements for which it might be a good choice to go to single-tenant (a single PDB in one CDB)
  • Small, relatively easy databases are the best candidate for consolidation to multitenant
  • Schema consolidated databases require special attention, but in general there are several advantages to convert individual schemas (or group of schemas) to individual PDBs

For the latter, there are some techniques to convert a schema in a PDB.

  • export/import (obviously), with eventually Golden Gate to do it online
  • Transportable tablespaces (if the schemas follow strict 1-to-1 tablespace separation
  • partial PDB cloning

We will focus on the last one for this blog post.


Here we have a PDB with some schemas, each of them has a dedicated tablespace, but accidentally, two of them have also some objects on a common tablespace.

This happens frequently when all the users have quota on the default database tablespace and they do not have necessarily a personal default tablespace.

This is the typical situation where transportable tablespaces become hard to achieve without some upfront segment movement, as tablespaces are not self-contained.

Thankfully, Oracle Multitenant allows us to clone a PDB from a remote one and specify only a subset of tablespaces.

Here is a full example script with some checks and fancy parameters:

This is an example output:

If the clone process succeeds, at the end we should have the new ABC pluggable database with ABC and DATA tablespaces only.


Any Cleanup needed?

What happened to the users? Actually, they are all still there:

And the segments in the two skipped tablespaces are not there:

So the table definitions are also gone?

Not at all! The tables are still there and reference to tablespaces that do not exist anymore. Possible?

Actually, the tablespaces definition are still there if we look at v$tablespace:

If we give a look at the DBA_TABLESPACES view definition, there are a few interesting filters:

What is their meaning?

So the first WHERE clause skips all the INVALID TABLESPACES (when you drop a tablespace it is still stored in ts$ with this state), the second skips the definition of TEMPORARY TABLESPACE GROUPS, the third one is actually our candidate.

Indeed, this is what we get from ts$ for these tablespaces:

So the two tablespaces are filtered out because of this new multitenant flag.

If we try to drop the tablespaces, it succeeds:

But the user GHI, who has no objects anymore, is still there.

So we need to drop it explicitly.

Automate the cleanup

This is an example PL/SQL that is aimed to automate the cleanup.


  • Users that had segments in one of the excluded tablespaces but do not have any segments left are just LOCKED (for security reasons, you can guess why).
  • Tablespaces that meet the “excluded PDB” criteria, are just dropped

This is the output for the clone procedure we have just seen:

The PL/SQL block can be quite slow depending on the segments and tablespaces, so it might be a good idea to have a custom script instead of this automated one.

What about user DEF?

The automated procedure has not locked the account DEF. Why?

Actually, the user DEF still has some segments in the DATA tablespace. Hence, the procedure cannot be sure what was the original intention: copy the user ABC ? The clone procedure allows only to specify the tablespaces, so this is the only possible result.

Promo: If you need to migrate to Multitenant and you need consulting/training, just contact me, I can help you 🙂


Multitenant Pills: Pushing your PDB to the Cloud in one step?

The Oracle Multitenant architecture introduces some nice opportunities, including local and remote cloning (see this example on ORACLE_BASE blog).

However, the only available cloning procedure use the PULL method to get the data from the remote source PDB.

This can be a limitation, especially in environments where the cloning environment does not have direct access to the production, or where the clones must be done in the Cloud with no direct access to the production VLAN on-premises.

So, one common approach is to clone/detach locally, put the PDB files in the Object Store and then attach them in the cloud.

Another approach is to use SSH tunnels. If you follow my blog you can see it is something that I use every now and then to do stuff from on-premises to the cloud.

How to set it up?

Actually, it is super-easy: just prepare a script in the cloud that will do the create pluggable database, then trigger it from on-premises.

This is an example:

It takes as parameters: the name of the source PDB, the name of the target PDB and the SQL*Net descriptor to create the temporary database link from the cloud CDB to the on-premises CDB.

The user C##ONPREM must obviously exist on-premises with the following privileges:

The cloud database should use OMF so you don’t have to take care about file name conversions.

At this point, if you have set up correctly the SSH keys to connect to the cloud server, it is just a matter of running the script remotely using the proper SSH tunnel. Once the remote port binding established, the cloud server can contact the on-premises listener port using localhost:remote_bind:

Of course the timing depends a lot on the size of the database and your connection to the Cloud.

I have tested this procedure with Oracle Database 19.7 on OCI compute instances and on DBaaS VM instance, it works without any additional work. Of course, it does not work for Autonomous Database 🙂


Multitenant Pills – Change DBID for an existing PDB

When you plug the same PDB many times you have to specify “AS COPY” in the syntax:

Otherwise, you will get an error similar to:

There are case, however, where you cannot do it. For example, it the existing PDB should have been the clone, or if you are converting a copy of the same database from Non-CDB to PDB using autoupgrade (with autoupgrade you cannot modify the CREATE PLUGGABLE DATABASE statement).

In this case the solution might be to change the DBID of the existing PDB, via unplug/plug:


Parallel Oracle Catalog/Catproc creation with catpcat.sql

With Oracle 19c, Oracle has released a new script, annotated for parallel execution, to create the CATALOG and CATPROC in parallel at instance creation.

I have a customer who is in the process of migrating massively to Multitenant using many CDBs, so I decided to give it a try to check how much time they could save for the CDB creations.

I have run the tests on my laptop, on a VirtualBox VM with 4 vCPUs.

Test 1: catalog.sql + catproc.sql

In this test, I use the classic way (this is also the case when DBCA creates the scripts):

The catalog is created first on CDB$ROOT and PDB$SEED. Then the catproc is created.

Looking at the very first occurrence of BEGIN_RUNNING (start of catalog for CDB$ROOT) and the very last of END_RUNNING in the log (end of catproc in PDB$SEED), I can see that it took ~ 44 minutes to complete:


Test 2: catpcat.sql

In this test, I use the new catpcat.sql using, with a parallelism of 4 processes:

This creates catalog and catproc first on CDB$ROOT, than creates them on PDB$SEED. So, same steps but in different orders.

By running vmstat in the background, I noticed during the run that most of the time the creation was running serially, and when there was some parallelism, it was short and compensated by a lot of process synchronizations (waits, sleeps) done by the

At the end, the process took ~ 45 minutes to complete.

So the answer is no: it is not faster to run catpcat.sql with parallel degree 4 compared to running catalog.sql and catproc.sql serially.