How does one delete backups pertaining to previous incarnations of a database with RMAN? Even though they are older than the seven-day retention policy they do not get deleted with delete obsolete.

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You have a couple of options. The first one I'd suggest is to use CROSSCHECK to remove any backups that no longer exist. The RMAN command is:

CROSSCHECK BACKUP

There are other options, so consult the RMAN Reference Guide. The CROSSCHECK command does not remove the backups from RMAN. It marks backups as AVAILABLE, UNAVAILABLE, or EXPIRED. You can use the DELETE EXPIRED command to remove the expired backups.

Another thing that you should consider doing is using the DELETE OBSOLETE command on a regularly scheduled basis. This can remove those backups from RMAN that are no longer needed for recovery.

Finally, to change the status of an RMAN backup, use the CHANGE command. For instance, to change backupset #1234 to UNAVAILABLE, use the following command:

CHANGE BACKUPSET 1234 UNAVAILABLE

This was first published in September 2004

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