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Don Burleson Blog 







ORA-01659: Unable to Allocate MINEXTENTS Beyond String in Tablespace String

Expert Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonFebruary 28, 2015

Question:  I am trying to restore to a backup instance on a backup server. When I try to recreate the tables I keep getting a ORA-01659 error message.  The tablespaces and datafiles on both servers show as the same size in OEM.

I have dropped all tables and OEM shows tablespaces are empty. Then I run a script to recreate all tables. Most of the tables don't get created because their TS is full. After the script to recreate all tables runs, the main tablespaces are full, more full than on the production machine. I have also tried:


on each tablespace right after dropping all tables and before recreating them to reclaim free space.

Why is it full?

I?ve only dropped and created the tables, there shouldn't be any data in them yet.  Here's the error message:

ORA-01659: unable to allocate MINEXTENTS beyond 2 in tablespace PLUS_TS

The backup instance was already there, all I did was drop the tables. Here's what I ran on prod to build a script to recreate the tables on backup server.


What do you think; how can I fix this?

Answer:  To diagnose any error, you start by using the oerr utility to fully display the ORA-01659 error:

ORA-01659: unable to allocate MINEXTENTS beyond string in tablespace string

Cause: Failed to find sufficient contiguous space to allocate MINEXTENTS for the segment being created.

Action: Use ALTER TABLESPACE ADD DATAFILE to add additional space to the tablespace or retry with smaller value for MINEXTENTS, NEXT or PCTINCREASE

MINEXTENTS specifies the number of initial extents for the object. Generally, except for rollback segments, it is set to 1. If a large amount of space is required and there is not enough contiguous space for the table, setting a smaller extent size and specifying several extents may solve the problem. The values for INITIAL, NEXT, and PCTINCREASE are used when calculating the extent sizes for the number of extents requested.  Also, make sure that you define all tables with "maxextents unlimited" and set tablespaces with "autoextend on":

You need to troubleshoot the ORA-01659 error by KNOWING the fragmentation within the tablespace!  I would try these things:

  • Try setting a smaller extent size and specifying several extents for each table.
  • Check all contiguous free space in the tablespace.
  • Run a tablespace mapper script to see exactly what is in the tablespace.
  • Try removing all storage clauses from the table DDL and use the default MINEXTENTS for each tablespace
  • Try an alter tablespace xxx coalesce; command.

Regarding tablespaces and OEM, OEM is not nearly as powerful or flexible as writing your own tablespace monitoring scripts.  You need to map the tablespace and see exactly why Oracle thinks that it is full.  Start with this handy Oracle free space script.

The query to map a tablespace is complex, but you can download some great tablespace management scripts with the BC Oracle scripts collection with Oracle scripts for tuning and monitoring, a professional download of over 600 Oracle scripts.

If your goal is to always prevent these types of errors, I have monitoring scripts that will alert you when the tablespace is nearly full, and it will send you an e-mail before you get the ORA-01659 error.  These can be found in my Oracle Tuning book. 



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