Kevin Kempf's Blog

December 16, 2009

Whats in your dbs directory?

Filed under: Uncategorized — kkempf @ 2:55 pm

I ran into an issue regarding SMR files in an 11g home, and I thought it might be interesting to take a moment and catalog what might be in a $ORACLE_HOME/dbs directory.  I believe this is almost the proverbial “junk drawer” folder of the software install, though it certainly contains some absolutely critical files.  They tend to be rather disparate, however, so I thought I would spell them out here.


The human-readable and human-editable, clear text version of the parameter (or initialization) file for the database.  Well this one is obvious, it’s been living here ever since I started working with Oracle databases 9 years ago.

initSID.ora ifiles

In my case, I like ifiles for things which are instance specific.  So if I have 3 “like” instances, they can all use virtually the same init file, and have custom ifiles to accommodate them.  In the case of an ERP, the initfile is so standardized by running the database autoconfig, I find this is useful for things which are local customizations unrelated to the ERP, such as dataguard parameters.


The binary version of the parameter (or initialization) file for the database, introduced in 9i which allows far more dynamic parameter changes to Oracle.

hc_SID.dat files

Healthcheck files, which seem to exist only to confound your efforts in enterprise manager.

Password files

For sys priveliges and remote password logins

lkSID files

Instance lock file.  It’s created at the first DB startup, opened when the DB is started, and closed when the DB is shut down.

snapcf_SID.f files

Snapshot controlfile

dr1SID.dat files

Dataguard broker configuration file

Upgrade logs, random sql scripts, backup copies of init files

This list, I’m sure, will be wide and varied, though none of this really belongs in the DBS directory…



  1. very good info. all in one shot .. !
    Thanks a bundle…..

    Comment by texas — August 6, 2011 @ 2:50 am

    • Good to hear my ramblings are of some use!

      Comment by kkempf — August 6, 2011 @ 5:54 am

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