Managing Tablespaces   «Prev  Next»
Lesson 7Dropping tablespaces
ObjectiveDrop a tablespace from a database.

Drop Tablespace in Oracle

In Oracle database management, the theory behind dropping a tablespace is grounded in the need for efficient space management and structural organization within the database. A tablespace in Oracle is a logical storage unit, which contains physical datafiles on the disk. Dropping a tablespace is a significant operation that involves removing this logical entity and its associated physical components from the database. This process is guided by several theoretical and practical considerations:
  1. Space Management:
    • One primary reason for dropping a tablespace is to reclaim disk space. If a tablespace is no longer required, or if it contains obsolete or redundant data, dropping it frees up valuable storage resources.
  2. Database Organization:
    • Dropping a tablespace can be part of restructuring or optimizing the database. Removing unnecessary tablespaces simplifies the database architecture, making it more manageable and efficient.
  3. Data Lifecycle Management:
    • In the context of data lifecycle management, tablespaces might be dropped as part of a strategy to phase out legacy data, applications, or schemas that are no longer in use.
  4. Performance Optimization:
    • Dropping unused or inefficiently used tablespaces can potentially improve database performance by reducing the overhead of managing these spaces.
  5. Security and Compliance:
    • Sometimes, tablespaces are dropped to ensure compliance with data retention policies or to enhance security by permanently removing sensitive data.

Process of Dropping a Tablespace

The process of dropping a tablespace in Oracle involves several key steps:
  1. Ensure Tablespace is Not in Use:
    • Before dropping a tablespace, it's crucial to ensure that it is not currently in use by any database sessions or objects. This might involve moving or dropping objects residing in the tablespace.
  2. Dropping the Tablespace:
    • The actual dropping of the tablespace is performed using the `DROP TABLESPACE` SQL command. This command removes the logical tablespace from the database.
  3. Dealing with Datafiles:
    • When dropping a tablespace, the DBA must decide whether to include the `INCLUDING CONTENTS` clause, which removes all contents of the tablespace, and optionally the `AND DATAFILES` clause, which also removes the physical datafiles from the disk.
  4. Cascading Effects:
    • Dropping a tablespace can have cascading effects on database objects and schemas. Care must be taken to understand and manage these dependencies.
  5. Backup Considerations:
    • Prior to dropping a tablespace, it is advisable to perform a backup, especially if the operation is part of a larger restructuring process.

In summary, dropping a tablespace in Oracle is a strategic decision and operation, driven by considerations of space management, database organization, performance optimization, and compliance. It requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the removal of the tablespace and its associated data is done without adversely affecting the overall database system.
You can remove a tablespace from a database using the DROP TABLESPACE statement. You might need to drop a tablespace if you are reorganizing your storage or if you are getting rid of an application. The following MouseOver describes the syntax used for the DROP TABLESPACE statement:

DROP TABLESPACE tablespace_name
Drop TableSpace


Drop tablespace
Drop Tablespace

DROP TABLESPACE This is the command to drop a tablespace.
tablespace_name Identifies the tablespace to be dropped.
INCLUDING CONTENTS Allows you to drop a tablespace that contains tables, indexes, and other objects.
CASCADE CONSTRAINTS Also drops constraints that reference objects within the tablespace being dropped.

Normally, when you drop a tablespace, it must be empty. If a tablespace contains objects, you can force Oracle to drop it by including the keywords INCLUDING CONTENTS in your DROP command; Oracle will automatically drop the tablespace and the contents. If you use INCLUDING CONTENTS to drop a tablespace where the tables contained in the dropped tablespace reference other tables in your database, the DROP will fail unless you also specify CASCADE CONSTRAINTS. This causes Oracle to also drop constraints referencing the objects being dropped. You will learn about read-only tablespaces in the next lesson.