ORA-01017 starting DB with srvctl? Consider firing your (oracle) agent!

Warning please don’t blindly follow the steps here without doing your own analysis of the risks involved, and ideally without getting Oracle support involved, I was hesitant to publish this, but as I’ve been in contact with someone else and it’s helped them workaround (to some extent) an issue they have been having I think it’s worth putting out there.

We had a problem during a dataguard switch-over (luckily planned switch-over for patching rather than a disaster situation) where Grid Infrastructure (clusterware) was unable to bring up one of the databases, it kept throwing “ORA-01017: invalid username/password”. Starting the database the ‘traditional way’ using “sqlplus / as sysdba” had no such problems.

Reviewing Oracle Support, particularly Doc ID 2313555.1 we identified some non-standard configuration in the Oracle home used for this database, but even after resolving them, the error persisted.

At times like these you realize (or at least I did) how little is published about the internals of how clusterware and the oracle databases it manages interact.

I suspected that restarting the entire clusterware stack would resolve the issue but that was difficult as this node also managed a production database which we didn’t want to take down.

However I guessed that restarting the clusterware agent for the oracle user might fix the problem. The executable is oraagant.bin and the process owner is oracle. I believe this is the process clusterware uses to actually start the database (You’ll also probably notice a similar process owned by grid and orarootagent.bin running as root).

I killed the oracle agent process and crossed my fingers. Luckily clusterware re-spawned this process and afterwards we were able to restart the problem instance without any problems.

Please re-read the first paragraph if you are considering to apply this work-around, and don’t blame me if you break anything, if it helps though I’m happy to take the credit!

3 thoughts on “ORA-01017 starting DB with srvctl? Consider firing your (oracle) agent!”

  1. Hello, Thanks for the note , is really helpful
    were you able to get any root cause or fix for this , we have this very same issue , but is very persistent , though the workaround works , we haven’t been able to figure out the permanent fix or the root cause for this

  2. Thanks for this notes. We have faced same issue on one of our development server and we have fixed this problem by killing oraagent.bin process owned by oracle.

  3. MEUNIER Pierre-Jean

    you just saved hours of research and maybe SR to Oracle 🙂 Thanks.
    Killing oraagent.bin (and not oraagant.bin) solved my instance which did not want to restart because of ORA-01017.
    Thank you.

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