When using SCAN, is LOAD_BALANCE still necessary?

Short answer, for balancing to the SCAN listeners from a single client, yes it does (a little).

When you look at a connection string with only a single SCAN ‘host’ there, it seems logical that the LOAD_BALANCE option is unnecessary, but  the Oracle client will replace (expand) this with an ADDRESS_LIST, containing the IP addresses it gets from the DNS server. It seems this order can not be trusted to be random. The DNS client can cache this until the TTL expires and/or the DNS server might give them in the order configured and not do this is a round-robin fashion (Round-robin DNS). Nothing will guarantee it will be returned randomly. It might look random when you do a nslookup of the SCAN address, but tracing the Oracle client it shows not to be.

“There is no standard procedure for deciding which address will be used by the requesting application, a few resolvers attempt to re-order the list to give priority to numerically “closer” networks. Some desktop clients do try alternate addresses after a connection timeout of 30–45 seconds.”

Furthermore (in 11.2), the LOAD_BALANCE option is only on by default in the DESCRIPTION_LIST, not the ADDRESS_LIST: Local Naming Parameters (tnsnames.ora).

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