Oracle Database includes the following logical flashback features:

Oracle Flashback Query

You can specify a target time and run queries against a database, viewing results as they would appear at the target time. To recover from an unwanted change like an update to a table, you could choose a target time before the error and run a query to retrieve the contents of the lost rows. Oracle Database Development Guide explains how to use this feature.

Oracle Flashback Version Query

You can view all versions of all rows that ever existed in one or more tables in a specified time interval. You can also retrieve metadata about the differing versions of the rows, including start and end time, operation, and transaction ID of the transaction that created the version. You can use this feature to recover lost data values and to audit changes to the tables queried.

Oracle Flashback Transaction Query

You can view changes made by a single transaction, or by all the transactions during a specific time period. Oracle Database Development Guide explains how to use this feature.

Oracle Flashback Transaction

You can reverse a transaction. Oracle Database determines the dependencies between transactions and in effect creates a compensating transaction that reverses the unwanted changes. The database rewinds to a state as if the transaction, and any transactions that could be dependent on it, had never happened. Oracle Database Development Guide explains how to use this feature.

Oracle Flashback Table

You can recover a table or set of tables to a specified point in time earlier without taking any part of the database offline. In many cases, Flashback Table eliminates the need to perform more complicated point-in-time recovery operations. Flashback Table restores tables while automatically maintaining associated attributes such as current indexes, triggers, and constraints, and in this way enabling you to avoid finding and restoring database-specific properties. "Rewinding a Table with Flashback Table" explains how to use this feature.

Oracle Flashback Drop

You can reverse the effects of a DROP TABLE statement. "Rewinding a DROP TABLE Operation with Flashback Drop" explains how to use this feature.

A flashback data archive enables you to use some logical flashback features to access data from far back in the past. A flashback data archive consists of one or more tablespaces or parts of tablespaces. When you create a flashback data archive, you specify the name, retention period, and tablespace. You can also specify a default flashback data archive. The database automatically purges old historical data the day after the retention period expires.

You can turn flashback archiving on and off for individual tables. By default, flashback archiving is turned off for every table.

Flashback Database

Flashback Database enables you to revert an Oracle Database to a previous point in time.

At the physical level, Oracle Flashback Database provides a more efficient data protection alternative to database point-in-time recovery (DBPITR). If the current data files have unwanted changes, then you can use the RMAN command FLASHBACK DATABASE to revert the data files to their contents at a past time. The end product is much like the result of a DBPITR, but is generally much faster because it does not require restoring data files from backup and requires less redo than media recovery.

Flashback Database uses flashback logs to access past versions of data blocks and some information from archived redo logs. Flashback Database requires that you configure a fast recovery area for a database because the flashback logs can only be stored there. Flashback logging is not enabled by default. Space used for flashback logs is managed automatically by the database and balanced against space required for other files in the fast recovery area.

Oracle Database also supports restore points along with Flashback Database and backup and recovery. A restore point is an alias corresponding to a system change number (SCN). You can create a restore point at any time if you anticipate needing to return part or all of a database to its contents at that time. A guaranteed restore point ensures that you can use Flashback Database to return a database to the time of the restore point.

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