RBAs are used in the following important ways.
With respect to a dirty block in the buffer cache, the low RBA is the address of the redo for the first change that was applied to the block since it was last clean, and the high RBA is the address of the redo for the most recent change to have been applied to the block.The low and high RBAs for dirty buffers can be seen in X$BH. (There is also a recovery RBA which is used to record the progress of partial block recovery by PMON.) The incremental checkpoint RBA, the target RBA and the on-disk RBA can all be seen in X$TARGETRBA. The incremental checkpoint RBA and the on-disk RBA can also be seen in X$KCCCP. The full thread checkpoint RBA can be seen in X$KCCRT.
Dirty buffers are maintained on the buffer cache checkpoint queues in low RBA order. The checkpoint RBA is the point up to which DBWn has written buffers from the checkpoint queues if incremental checkpointing is enabled -- otherwise it is the RBA of last full thread checkpoint. The checkpoint RBA is copied into the checkpoint progress record of the controlfile by the checkpoint heartbeat once every 3 seconds. Instance recovery, when needed, begins from the checkpoint RBA recorded in the controlfile. The target RBA is the point up to which DBWn should seek to advance the checkpoint RBA to satisfy instance recovery objectives.
The on-disk RBA is the point up to which LGWR has flushed the redo thread to the online log files. DBWn may not write a block for which the high RBA is beyond the on-disk RBA. Otherwise transaction recovery (rollback) would not be possible, because the redo needed to undo a change is always in the same redo record as the redo for the change itself.
The term sync RBA is sometimes used to refer to the point up to which LGWR is required to sync the thread. However, this is not a full RBA -- only a redo block number is used at this point.
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