Thursday, September 16, 2010

Important Changes to Oracle Database Patch Sets

When I tried to download last patch for Linux x64 ( I was astonished when I saw 7 files in total 5GB size! I said WTH, what is that! Then I read that Oracle is changing patch policy which was lasting for more then 3 decades. Here is copy/paste text that might be interesting to many DBA's.

What has changed?

Packaging: Starting with the first patch set for Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (, Oracle Database patch sets are full installations of the Oracle Database software. In past releases, Oracle Database patch sets consisted of a set of files that replaced files in an existing Oracle home. Beginning with Oracle Database 11g Release 2, patch sets are full installations that replace existing installations.

Because Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and later patch sets are a full installation, Oracle patch sets are now released as several installation bundles, just as are the base releases:
  • Oracle Database Server
  • Oracle Grid Infrastructure
  • Oracle Database Client
  • Companion/examples
  • Oracle Gateways
Simplified new installation: Because the release patch set is a full installation package, if you are installing Oracle Database on a system without an existing Oracle Database installation, then you can simply install the release patch set. You are no longer required to install the base release, and then apply the patch set.

Upgrade process:
Beginning with the release patch set, you have two ways to apply a patch set:
  • Out-of-place upgrade – This is Oracle's recommended way to apply a patch set. You install the patch set into a new, separate Oracle home location. After you install the patch upgrade, you then migrate the Oracle Database from the older Oracle home. The patch set upgrade is now the same process to upgrade from one version to another. Oracle recommends that you perform an out-of-place patch set upgrade, because this patch set application option requires much less downtime, and is safer because it does not require patching an ORACLE_HOME that is already being used in production. However, you must ensure that you have sufficient free disk space to accommodate two Oracle home directories at the same time.
  • In-place upgrade – You install the patch set into an existing Oracle home location. Oracle recommends that you select this option only if you do not have sufficient free disk space to perform an out-of-place upgrade, as the upgrade removes the existing Oracle installation. This patch option requires less disk space, but requires more time, and is riskier, because if you encounter an installation failure, then you must recover the entire existing Oracle home from a backup. If you choose this more risky option, then before you begin the patch installation, complete the following tasks:
    • Make a complete backup of your existing Oracle home
    • Read through the entire Upgrade Guide section dealing with in-place upgrades
For this ( case those separate files looks like:
Installation Type Zip File
Oracle Database (includes Oracle Database and Oracle RAC)
Note: you must download both zip files to install Oracle Database.
Oracle Grid Infrastructure (includes Oracle ASM, Oracle Clusterware, and Oracle Restart)
Oracle Database Client
Oracle Gateways
Oracle Examples

The End

With this new changes DBAs will be really thankful, because it will make patching process more easy and tomorrow possible for scripting way of update, which was until now just a dream.

Beside that this slightly reminds me on Microsoft, I strongly hope that their "bad habits" with "new features" in SPs will not be translated in Oracle software.


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