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User datafile needs media recovery

I am administering an Oracle 7.3.4 database on AIX, and we have a case where a user datafile requires media recovery. We have tried moving the datafile to another location, but we still get the same errors. We have looked up for a description of the errors, and all we find is "Check block number and number of bytes read." We do not know what this means. Here are the details of the recovery procedure and the errors:
 
 SVRMGR> recover datafile
 '/test/ora734/oradata/BNDB/600/bivxxx-15.dbf';
 ORA-00279: Change 350242942 generated at 05/03/03
 11:49:38 needed for thread 1
 ORA-00289: Suggestion :
 /u3/ora734/oradata/BNDB/archive/0000029618.ARC
 ORA-00280: Change 350242942 for thread 1 is in
 sequence #29618
 Specify log: {<RET>=suggested | filename | AUTO |
 CANCEL}
 
 ORA-00283: Recovery session canceled due to errors
 ORA-01115: IO error reading block from file 52
 (block # 201201)
 ORA-01110: data file 52:
 '/test/ora734/oradata/BNDB/600/bivxxx-15.dbf'
 ORA-07373: sfrfb: read returned incorrect number of
 bytes.
 Additional information: 201201
What is the way forward in such a case?

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Most times when you get ORA-1115 errors, this is due to hardware failures. Trying to resolve this issue from the database side is pointless until you resolve the issue from the hardware side first. So you'll need to have your SysAdmin run hardware checks against the disk devices on your system. If your problems occur on different physical disk drives, then it could be your controller which has the problem. If the problems occurs only on the same physical disk drive, then the disk is the problem.

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This was first published in May 2003

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