Wednesday Mar 05, 2014

PSU1 and PSU2: Datapatch Issues coverd in MOS Note

You may have read a posting disrecommending PSU1 and PSU2 for Oracle Multitenant especially in RAC/GI environments earlier this week. Actually following a lot of internal discsussions I will post some advice and clarification later this week.

Now I have an useful update:
Datapatch Issues are covered within a separate MOS Note making it easier to keep track and find workarounds for known issues.
Please see MOS Note:1609718.1 Datapatch Known Issues

-Mike

Tuesday Mar 04, 2014

Upgrade to Grid Infrastructure - but OCR and VOTING on RAW?

Just received this question from a colleague these days:

"The current customer environment is 10.2.0.5 on Linux with a 2 node RAC cluster having OCR and Voting Disks on RAW devices. Customer is concerned about the possibility of upgrading to 11gR2 Grid infrastructure first before they could upgrade to 12c Grid infrastructure."

Now the answer is written down in MOS Note 1572925.1:
How to Upgrade to 12c Grid Infrastructure if OCR or Voting File is on Raw/Block Devices

Basically the MOS Note says:
You will have to relocate your OCR/Voting to a supported device BEFORE you can upgrade to Oracle Grid Infrastructure 12c. No way out. A bit more clarification (thanks to Markus Michalewicz):

The assumption of the note (which you might want to state) is that the customer has pre-12c GI with OCR / Voting Disk on RAW.

In this case, Option A is always an option.

For Option B, however, you need to distinguish. So the note should say: 

  • Option B: Customer is on 11g Rel. 2 still using RAW Devices 
    • Then move the OCR and Voting Disks to ASM
  • Option C: Customer is on pre-11g Rel. 2 and does not want to introduce a CFS (bad idea anyways) or use NFS
    • Then upgrade to 11g Rel. 2 and move the Clusterware files into ASM as mentioned under Option B.

Unfortunately another example to add to my collection of "What happens if you stay too long on older releases?". In this case it simply increases complexity and drives costs as well. And please no complaints: Oracle Database 10.2 went out of PREMIER SUPPORT in July 2010 - 3.5 years ago!!!

-Mike

Monday Mar 03, 2014

Upgrade Workshops in India in March 2014
REGISTER NOW!

*** Due to sick leave I won't be able to come to India  ***
*** I deeply appologize - hope to see you soon again *** 

 

It will be a tough trip as I will travel on my own with long distances in between the workshops but I'm really looking forward to my second trip to India to run 3 Upgrade, Migrate and Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c workshops in March 2014 in India.

Register as soon as possible as we have limited seat capacity:

Hope to see you soon :-)

-Mike

Thursday Feb 27, 2014

CSX Corporation Upgrades Databases 2x Faster With Oracle Real Application Testing

Wow - one of our reference projects went into the Yahoo Finance webpages. Carol Tagliaferri (my direct manager) worked with CSX, one of the largest US based railway companies, over a longer period together with the RAT team, and helped CSX to successfully upgrade and migrate their database landscape to Oracle Database 11.2.
Plus: We did present about CSX at Oracle Open World 2012 as this project is a perfect showcase for:

(a) an Upgrade project with many databases
(b) over a longer period of time
(c) using Real Application Testing decreasing the testing effort by factors!

Read the published article on Yahoo Finance!

And that is what Maritza Gonzalez, Technical Director at CSX said:

“The Real Application Testing tool provided a comprehensive and flexible solution for assessing the impact of the Oracle 11g database upgrade  into CSX systems.  At CSX we were able to capture real production workloads,  replay it in the 11g environment,  identify poor performing  queries and, fine tune these queries in a test environment  before the production implementation.“

 More details on the actual project are included in our OOW 2012 talk (slides 35-42).

-Mike
Graphics are courtesy linked directly from the CSX public webpage

Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

Simplify your Migration from AIX to Solaris

Oracle Solaris 11There is a brand new white paper available that will be of interest to anybody contemplating a database and/or application migration from AIX to Solaris. Simplify the Migration of Oracle Database and Oracle Applications from AIX to Oracle Solaris gives a good description of the steps involved in planning and executing a migration project, along with the benefits you can expect to achieve and a solid example of migration using Oracle Data Pump, complete with scripted steps.

Of course, if your migration will include moving up to Oracle Database 12c, don't forget to sign up for Mike's webcast on February 26!

Monday Feb 24, 2014

Upgrade Webcast - Wednesday, Feb 26 - 10am CET


 If you'd like to get an overview about  Upgrade/Migrate/Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c then please register and attend our free webcast this Wednesday, February 26 at 10am CET:

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM CET

Web: http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=750382&s=1&k=4F42244E75402FC0D8DEBBD12F134906

Register yourself here!

-Mike

Wednesday Feb 19, 2014

Thank You for flying with "Hello Kitty" ;-)

Yesterday Roy and I flew directly after the workshop in Seoul to Taipeh in Taiwan. It's our first time in Taiwan - and the flight to Taipeh with EVA Airlines was quite surprising ;-) I didn't took a picture in the bathroom ... 

"Thank You for flying with Hello Kitty!".

-Mike 

Tuesday Feb 18, 2014

Some impressions from Austalia

Being again in Australia was - again - a great experience. If only traveling to Down Under wouldn't take this long ... :-) But thanks to everybody who showed up - and sorry to those which got a "Sorry, it's sold out already!" message. It was pure fun to talk to you and we'll hope to get a lot of people to move onwards to Oracle 12c as soon as possible. Don't forget: 11.2 will go out of Premier Support in less than 12 months from now on. Of course we'll return one day - and certainly our colleagues from Oracle Australia will be able to assist you as well regarding your upgrade and migration efforts.

Please feel free to grab the slides via this link:
Upgrade, Migrate & Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c
[30MB PDF]

And here are some impressions from a RAINY weekend in Sydney ;-)


-Mike

Thursday Feb 13, 2014

Collaborate '14 Early Bird Registration ends Today!

Mike and I are in Sydney, Australia delivering an upgrade workshop today, but I am also looking forward to the Collaborate '14 conference in April. I will have a talk about upgrading to Oracle Database 12c, and of course there will be plenty of information about Oracle Multitenant, applications, and other aspects of your Oracle environment. 

Collaborate 14 banner

Early bird registration ends today, so if you want to save some money and attend a conference that is always chock full of good technical presentations, register today!

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

New 11.2.0.4 Parameter: ENABLE_GOLDENGATE_REPLICATION

Just learned something new I couldn't find actually in the doc at the first glance:

There's a new init.ora parameter introduced in Oracle Database 11.2.0.4 named:
ENABLE_GOLDENGATE_REPLICATION

By default it is set to FALSE and the parameter got introduced because not only the external use of Oracle GoldenGate requires a valid license but also the use of the internal APIs. For example, XStream provides high performance APIs that enable client applications to receive and send real-time data changes from an Oracle database. Other APIs were added for encryption support, trigger suppression, etc. None of these APIs are licensed with the Oracle database itself - the license is included with an Oracle GoldenGate license, and most of the APIs are not public.

So please make sure if you turn ENABLE_GOLDENGATE_REPLICATION=TRUE that you'll need to have a valid Oracle GoldenGate license in place.

That will apply to 3rd party products such as Dell Shareplex as well in case they'll switch it to true.

-Mike

---
Addition: As a customer talked to me about that during the Sydney workshop last week I'd like to point out that this paramater does not effect the use of Oracle GoldenGate as a stand-alone tool but only the internal interfaces inside the database.

Friday Feb 07, 2014

Airfare Pricing vs. Oracle Multitenant for DBaaS?

I'm currently evalutating flight options to and from India for the 3 workshops in March in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

As everything at Oracle is fully self-serviced I've got stuck in our booking tool for over an hour now just wondering ... wondering ... wondering ...

For instance I wonder why an Economy class ticket with Lufthansa and Swiss to Mumbai and return from Bangalore will cost over EUR 5000 (no joke!!!) even though Swiss is a 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa.

whereas I can fly a slightly different route with Delta Airlines only from Germany to the US and back to Amsterdam and then further to Mumbai for less than half of the price - even though this includes different airlines as well (KLM and Delta) and will take more than twice as long and almsost triple the distance:

Roy (kudos!) and I had this great idea if YOU as a customer would match airline pricing strategy to your internal Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) strategy?

  • First of all you make the price dependent on the time frame one odered a fresh PDB
    • The earlier the cheaper - except for the last week before a fixed date as now you'll have to max out allocated resources
  • Second you will have to make it completely intransparent so nobody will be able to proof against your pricing strategy being insane
  • Third you should make the price also depend on the process somebody used to order a PDB
  • Furthermore you should introduce some extra components such as "serviced by a lead DBA" will make it more expensive
    • Same for "served by another companies expert" - even though you own that company as well
  • And don't forget to include some components which will give yourself perfect flexibility such as "The enegery prices climbed up this week so unfortunately we'll have to make the provisioning and operation of a PDB more expensive" - and never take back this price growth (or if you do so then just by a portion of it)
    • Or tell people they'll get a special price with the only downside that the department working with this PDB will have to get up to work now at 3:40am in the morning and the PDB won't be accessible after 9am anymore

Wouldn't this be a wonderful pricing model?

Of course you read my irony and sarcasm. You know the answer: You'll be in real trouble if you'd offer such a service and pricng internally to anybody. But I'll never understand airline pricing models ...

-Mike

Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Hurry up!
The next round of workshops is almost fully booked!

We've had a short email exchange today with the organizers of the following round of workshops in Australia and Asia - and you should really hurry up in case you plan to attend as some locations are already overbooked.


Tuesday Jan 28, 2014

MS Windows Bundle Patches - a VERY different story

I like Upgrade Workshops for a very different reason:
Hopefully people feed back with questions and information I wasn't aware off before. So for myself these workshops are also a learning experience. And thanks to a customer in Singapore (Thanks a lot, Hanh!!) I learned something about Oracle's Bundle Patches for MS Windows.

Customer asked about a specific issue when using RMAN Duplicate command in 12c failing with a nice ORA-600 [KSRPCSEXEC_1]. This got logged a while ago as bug16883554 - and it will be fixed in database patch set 12.1.0.2. But this customer asked for an earlier delivery.

So after a quick check of the SR and the bug it was clear that this patch will be also included for the MS Windows platform into the Bundle Patch 12.1.0.1.4 on Win.
Well, my first thought: Ouch! That will be the July 2014 PSU.

But in fact it isn't meant here. So I learned that on Windows patching runs on a different schedule and notation. 

MOS Note:161549.1 will tell you all the details about:
Oracle Database, Networking and Grid Agent Patches for Microsoft Platforms

64-Bit x64 Patches :

Patch

Patch Location Bug Fix List Notes
12.1.0.1.4 Target date End January 2014
12.1.0.1.3 Bug:17977915 Patch:17977915 Requires 12.1.0.1.0

-Mike 

Monday Jan 27, 2014

Thank you for coming to our workshops :-)
And here's the Upgrade to 12c Viewlet

Wow!!! That was a thrilling week. With great people in Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur!!! Thanks for coming by and thanks for listening. Now it will be your task to upgrade/migrate to Oracle Database 12c as soon as possible ;-)

We've had:

  • 105 people in Singapore on Tueday, January 21
  • 82 people in Jakarta on Wednesday, January 22
  • 108 people in KL on Thursday, January 23

and many good discussions within the breaks or after the workshop. And thanks to those who send an email already.

For us heading out directly after the workshops to rush to the airport becomes a bit strenous during the week. But overall having the chance to talk to you and get you some good insight view about upgrades, migrations and consolidation pays out and is worth it :-)

As promissed we did upload the Upgrade to Oracle Database 12c Viewlet now to Youtube. No audio yet - will come in a later stage as I will have to re-record it with another software. And more to come - so please stay tuned. I will announce it as soon as they'll be available. Furthermore I will add a new tag on the right column (this layout unfortunately does not allow to add something on the left column) so after some time you'll see a selection of videos there.

-Mike

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

New Version of Slide Deck available:
Upgrade/Migrate/Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c

Finally ... we refreshed our entire Upgrade, Migrate & Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c slide deck. And hey, it has not even 460 slides right now ;-) We changed a lot - not only the format to 16x9 but also a lot of the content. It's not entirely 12c - so everybody interested still in Oracle Database 11.2 will find a lot of useful information in it.


Click on the slide to download the entire presentation as PDF

Download it from this location:
Upgrade, Migrate & Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c
[30MB PDF]

-Mike

PS: Roy and I are both "shocked" in a very positive way. As of Jan 16 we've had over 12,000 downloads in 6 months of our 12c slide deck. Just for comparison: in exactly the past 12 months we've had less than 8000 downloads of our 11.2 presentation ... wow!!!

Workshops 2013 - Recap and Map

2013 wasn't a quiet year. But due to the slip of Oracle Database 12c we've had way less workshops than in the years before. But less workshops doesn't mean less work. It just means different tasks such as more development work, refreshing our entire slide deck (will be uploaded tonight in a fresh new version), learning about new stuff such as Oracle Multitenant, attending at the OTN ACE Tour in Scandinavia, South and Mid America.

In tradition we'll publish a map with markers in countries Roy and I had been in the past year. You can access it in FULL SIZE (or click on the map below) or just look at the tiny picture below.

And you may compare it to 2012 and 2011.

My statistics on flying are still showing penty of "air" time - as you may or may not know more or less almost everything in Coach/Economy/Cattle class :-(

I like especially this stat here - in my peak year 2011 I had over 450 hours in the air. Last year it were just 217 hours (i.e.almost a forth of the time a crew member spends up in the air - time on the runway and to/from the airport is not included here) but a crew member's job is to work for the airline - and I work in addition to all that travel ;-)

Finally the last one here - flown around the globe almost 4x.

 CU you somewhere in 2014 - it will just start on Saturday ...

-Mike

Thursday Jan 09, 2014

Oracle Database 12c for AIX, HP-UX IA and zLinux now available

It took a while ... but finally Oracle Database 12c is available for:

Oracle Database 12c Release 1
Standard Edition, Standard Edition One, and Enterprise Edition

-Mike

Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Upcoming ASIA Upgrade to Oracle 12c workshops

.

Happy New Year to all of you and your families!!!

.

We have still a few remaining seats for the upcoming workshops in January 2014.

Oracle Database 12c Upgrade, Migrate and Consolidate Workshops


  • Singapore - Jan 21, 2014
    • Register Here!
      @Singapore Post Centre Theatrette - Level 5 - 10 Eunos Road 8 - Singapore 408600

  • Jakarta/Indonesia - Jan 22, 2014
  • Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia - Jan 23, 2014

Oracle's Global Server Technology Upgrade Development Group offers you an opportunity to attend this exclusive full day seminar on how to Upgrade, Migrate & Consolidate to Oracle Database 12c.

Oracle's latest generation of database technology has significant new features. It offers great potential for migrations and consolidation, making more efficient use of hardware and delivering major improvements in management efficiency.

In this seminar the Oracle Database Upgrade Development team will guide you through several different examples of upgrade, migration and consolidation techniques and strategies - shown with real world customer cases.

You will learn:
  • How to take full advantage of the new features and options in Database 12c
  • The changes and enhancements to the Oracle Database upgrade process
  • Best practices to upgrade and migrate successfully

So you may register asap and spread the word :-)
Looking forward to meet you there!

-Mike

Monday Dec 16, 2013

Why you shouldn't set OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE

Roy today answered an interesting question on one of our internal mailing lists. And this reminds me to pick up that piece of information as we see this quite often on customer sites, especially after upgrades or migrations. People set OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE (OFE) to revert the optimizer's behaviour to another pre-current release. That's what a lot of people think this parameter does.

But in fact this is not true. Even though our documentation states it:

OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE acts as an umbrella parameter for enabling a series of optimizer features based on an Oracle release number.

For example, if you upgrade your database from release 10.1 to release 11.1, but you want to keep the release 10.1 optimizer behavior, you can do so by setting this parameter to 10.1.0. At a later time, you can try the enhancements introduced in releases up to and including release 11.1 by setting the parameter to 11.1.0.6.

In my experience the following is true:
Setting this parameter reverts the optimizer settings in terms of parameters - but we still use the new optimizer code from that release you are on now. And as far as I know nobody ever tests if switching back OFE will turn back to exactly the behaviour as it was known in the release OFE is now switched to. So it's simply guessing and assuming. But as code got changed there's very little chance to get back to the old behaviour. 

What people sometimes  experience:
Turning back OFE brings back good performance. This can happen. But if we act really really really precise than the performance should always be better with the optimizer running with the new settings - and not when the wheel is turned back. So in some cases this should be treated as a bug unless new behaviour leads to predictable worse results (such as more buffer gets etc). And I get so angry when Oracle Support people recommend to switch OFE to this or that setting to cure one or the otther misbehaviour. That's like throwing a big rock to kill a fly. 

But the real danger is described in the following note - and I'm pretty sure a lot of people are not aware of this:
Reverting the optimizer parametrization with OFE can turn back to misbehaviour which got fixed already in the current release. MOS Note:1581465.1 describes this pretty well.

And in addition regarding upgrades you may want to read this note here as well:
MOS Note: 1362332.1
Use Caution if Changing the OPTIMIZER_FEATURES_ENABLE Parameter After an Upgrade
(Thanks Roy!)

Recommendation:
Stay away from tweaking anything with OFE. Use Real Application Testing's SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA) to find out which plans get changed and use SQL Plan Management (SPM) to nail down misbehaving plans in 11g or 12c.

-Mike 

Friday Dec 06, 2013

INTERACTIVE Database 12c QUICK REFERENCE

The Oracle Database 12c Interactive Quick Reference is a nice little tool which may help you quickly to find a view you are searching for or to get more information about background processes in Oracle Database 12c.

Click through it:
Oracle Database 12c: INTERACTIVE QUICK REFERENCE

-Mike

Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

Starting up 252 PDBs automatically?

In my recent posting I have explained the startup of many PDBs at the same time.

But once you startup the container database CDB$ROOT the PDBs will stay in MOUNT status. So how do you start them during CDB$ROOT startup (or immediately afterwards) in an automatic fashion?

A startup trigger will do this job.

CREATE OR REPLACE TRIGGER startup_all_pdbs
AFTER STARTUP ON DATABASE

BEGIN

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ALL OPEN';

END;

/

And of course you can use the EXCEPT command option to exclude one or more PDBs from the automatic startup.

CREATE OR REPLACE TRIGGER startup_all_pdbs_except_a_few
AFTER STARTUP ON DATABASE

BEGIN
EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ALL OPEN EXCEPT PDB100, PDB101';
END;
/

How does this work in an Oracle Real Application Clusters environment?
In an RAC environment you won't need the startup trigger as clusterware takes over this role of ensuring the automatic startup of a PDB on designated nodes within the CDB$ROOT's instances.

srvctl add service -db rac -service pdbrac_srv -pdb pdbrac -preferred "rac1,rac2"

A snipet from the crsctl status output will look like this:

   crsctl status resource -t
    :
   ora.rac.db
         1    ONLINE  ONLINE   rac-server01       Open,STABLE
         2    ONLINE  ONLINE   rac-server02       Open,STABLE
   ora.rac.pdbrac_srv.svc
         1    ONLINE  ONLINE   rac-server01       STABLE
         2    ONLINE  ONLINE   rac-server02       STABLE
    :

-Mike

Friday Nov 29, 2013

Starting up 252 PDBs in Oracle Multitenant

What happens when you start up 252 PDBs (Pluggable Databases) with the Oracle Multitenant Option for the first time?

Interesting question, isn't it? The expectation would be that this will happen within seconds as the SGA and therefore the shared memory segments are already allocated from within the CDB$ROOT (Container Database). But ...

The following happens:
It takes minutes ... hours .... In my tiny lab environment with just as little as 20 PDBs due to space constraints it takes over 30 minutes to startup 21 PDBs. Takashi Ikeda from Fujitsu Hokoriku Systems who did a great demo with the new Fujitsu M10 servers at OOW this year told me that it took over two hours to start up 252 PDBs for the first time.
Why is that?

Let's have a closer look into the alert.log during startup. After issueing the command:

ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ALL OPEN;

I'd expect all PDBs to get started. With an EXCEPT PDB1, PDB2, PDB3 clause I could exclude some PDBs from this action. Now a look into the alert.log shows a very promising message:

I'm just wondering about the opening sequence of PDBs. I'd expect 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... ... ... 21. But the "order" is 3 ... 10 ... 16 ... 15 ... 20 ... 21 etc. telling me that the Resource Manager is not active (which is a must if you take Multitenant serious).
OK, for that strange order there's an explanation:
The open action gets distrubuted to slaves so PDBs may opened in a random order.
Fuuny thing apart from that: I can access the PDB but the system seems to be really under heavy pressure. CPUs are all at 100%. What the heck is going on here in the background?

Well, XDB needs to be installed (at least that is what the message says). Strange, isn't it, as the PDB$SEED has XDB in it and all my PDBs got provisioned from it. The awkward thing here is that the XDB messages appear over 20 minutes AFTER the PDBs signaled the Opening message into the alert.log (see the time stamps above).

Now after exchanging a few emails with some very helpful people in development there's an explanation for the XDB messages as well. Actually it doesn't get really installed but the SGA needs to be initialized for XDB. And I'm guessing that this action takes a lot of resources plus may cause contention when many PDBs get opened at the same time. And there's optimization work going on right now meaning that a problem with port initialization within the PDB will get fixed in a future patch set. So this issue with the very long startups of PDBs because of XDB should disappear in 12.1.0.2 most likely :-)

Finally it took another while to get the PDBs really into OPEN mode. Even though they were showing OPEN before already in V$PDBS. But as the CPUs all went to 100% as XDB got installed/initiallized at more or less the same time in all PDBs you really can't do anything.

Finally ...

... all PDBs got opened and the command ALTER PLUGGABLE DATABASE ALL OPEN returned completed.

The good news:
It takes just this long during the initial startup of a newly provisioned PDB. And you may see this issue only when you try to open many PDBs at the same time. But have a close look into your alert.log if you'll spot the message after creating a fresh PDB.

And btw, just for the records: I was using Oracle Database 12.1.0.1 with Oct 2013 PSU in it.

-Mike

Tuesday Nov 26, 2013

DOAG Conference - Recap

This year's 2013 conference was the best DOAG Conference I have attended so far (and it was my 11th conference).  Actually due to the fact that I've had just one presentation (Working with Oracle Multitenant in the Real World - thanks to everybody coming by in the huge TOKIO room - that was really fun!) and a DOAG TV interview I've had enough time to see some other presentations. I did actually enjoy the Oak Table Stream in room SHANGHAI a lot - so many good stuff, I have really learned a lot.

So thanks to the organizers from the user group (and especially to Christian Trieb and his colleagues from DOAG for pushing this extra stream).

And in case you'd like to download the slide deck:
Working with Oracle Multitenant in the Real World

-Mike

Wednesday Nov 13, 2013

Why people don't patch and upgrade?!?

Please see the JAPANESE version of this blog post here!!

Discussing the topic "Why Upgrade" or "Why not Upgrade" is not always fun. Actually the arguments repeat from customer to customer. Typically we hear things such as:

  • A PSU or Patch Set introduces new bugs
  • A new PSU or Patch Set introduces new features which lead to risk and require application verification 
  • Patching means risk
  • Patching changes the execution plans
  • Patching requires too much testing
  • Patching is too much work for our DBAs
  • Patching costs a lot of money and doesn't pay out

And to be very honest sometimes it's hard for me to stay calm in such discussions. Let's discuss some of these points a bit more in detail.

  • A PSU or Patch Set introduces new bugs
    Well, yes, that is really true as there's no software containing more than some lines of code being bug free. This applies to Oracle's code as well as too any application or operating system code. But first of all, does that mean you never patch your OS because the patch may introduce new flaws? And second, what is the point of saying "it introduces new bugs"? Does that mean you will never get rid of the mean issues we know about and we fixed already? Scroll down from MOS Note:161818.1 to the patch release you are on, no matter if it's 10.2.0.4 or 11.2.0.3 and check for the Known Issues And Alerts.
    Will you take responsibility to know about all these issues and refuse to upgrade to 11.2.0.4? I won't.

  • A new PSU or Patch Set introduces new features
    Ok, we can discuss that. Offering new functionality within a database patch set is a dubious thing. It has advantages such as in 11.2.0.4 where we backported Database Redaction to. But this is something you will only use once you have an Advanced Security license. I interpret that statement I've heard quite often from customers in a different way: People don't want to get surprises such as new behaviour. This certainly gives everybody a hard time. And we've had many examples in the past (SESSION_CACHED_CURSROS in 10.2.0.4,  _DATAFILE_WRITE_ERRORS_CRASH_INSTANCE in 11.2.0.2 and others) where those things weren't documented, not even in the README. Thanks to many friends out there I learned about those as well. So new behaviour is the topic people consider as risky - not really new features. And just to point this out: A PSU never brings in new features or new behaviour by definition!

  • Patching means risk
    Does it really mean risk? Yes, there were issues in the past (and sometimes in the present as well) where a patch didn't get installed correctly. But personally I consider it way more risky to not patch. Keep that in mind: The day Oracle publishes an PSU (or CPU) containing security fixes all the great security experts out there go public with their findings as well. So from that day on even my grandma can find out about those issues and try to attack somebody. Now a lot of people say: "My database does not face the internet." And I will answer: "The enemy is sitting already behind your firewalls. And knows potentially about these things."
    My statement: Not patching introduces way more risk to your environment than patching. Seriously!

  • Patching changes the execution plans
    Do they really? I agree - there's a very small risk for this happening with Patch Sets. But not with PSUs or CPUs as they contain no optimizer fixes changing behaviour (but they may contain fixes curing wrong-query-result-bugs). But what's the point of a changing execution plan? In Oracle Database 11g it is so simple to be prepared. SQL Plan Management is a free EE feature - so once that occurs you'll put the plan into the Plan Baseline. Basta! Yes, you wouldn't like to get such surprises? Then please use the SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA) from Real Application Testing and you'll detect that easily upfront in minutes. And not to forget this, a plan change can also be very positive!
    Yes, there's a little risk with a database patchset - and we have many possibilites to detect this before patching.

  • Patching requires too much testing
    Well, does it really? I have seen in the past 12 years how people test. There are very different efforts and approaches on this. I have seen people spending a heck of money on external licenses or on project team staffing. And I have seen people sailing blindly without any tests just going the John-Wayne-approach.
    Proper tools will allow you to test easily without too much efforts. See the paragraph above. We have used Real Application Testing in so many customer projects reducing the amount of work spend on testing by over 50%.
    But apart from that at some point you will have to stop testing. If you don't stop you'll get lost and you'll burn money. There's no 100% guaranty. You will have to deal with a little risk as reaching the final 5% of certainty will cost you the same as it did cost to reach 95%. And doing this will lead to abnormal long product cycles that you'll run behind forever. And this will cost even more money.

  • Patching is too much work for our DBAs
    Patching is a lot of work. I agree. And it's no fun work. It's boring, annoying. You don't learn much from that. That's why you should try to automate this task. Use the Database's Lifecycle Management Pack. And don't cry about the fact that it costs money. Yes it does. But it will ease the process and you'll save a lot of costs as you don't waste your valuable time with patching. Or use Oracle Database 12c Oracle Multitenant and patch either by unplug/plug or patch an entire container database with all PDBs with one patch at one time in one task.
    We have customer reference cases proofing it saved them 75% of time, effort and cost since they've used Lifecycle Management Pack. So why don't you use it?

  • Patching costs a lot of money and doesn't pay out
    Well, see my statements in the paragraph above. And it pays out as flying with a database with 100 known critical flaws in it which are already fixed by Oracle (such as in the Oct 2013 PSU for Oracle Database 12c) will cost ways more in case of failure or even data loss. Bet with me?

Let me finally ask you some questions.

What cell phone are you using and which OS does it run? Do you have an iPhone 5 and did you upgrade already to iOS 7.0.3? I've just encountered on my iPhone 5 that the alarm (which I rely on when traveling) has gotten now a dependency on the physical switch "sound on/off". If it is switched to "off" physically the alarm rings "silently". What a wonderful example of a behaviour change coming in with a patch set. Will this push you to stay with iOS5 or iOS6? No, because those have security flaws which won't be fixed anymore.And I tell you how I have found out that: I have tested the alarm after updating to iOS 7.0.3 as I heavily rely on that feature. I don't test everything as my time and my resource won't allow that - but I usually check the most important things.

What browser are you surfing with? Do you use Mozilla 3.6? Well, congratulations to all the hackers. It will be easy for them to attack you and harm your system. I'd guess you have the auto updater on.  Same for Google Chrome, Safari, IE. Right?

-Mike



Wednesday Nov 06, 2013

JPOUG Tech Talk Next Week!

JPOUG Logo

Mike and I are really looking forward to our trip to Japan next week, not least because we will have the opportunity to visit the Japan Oracle User Group for a Tech Talk. You can find all of the details about this event here:

JPOUG Tech Talk, Tuesday, 12-NOV-2013

The topic for our talk will be "Different ways to Upgrade, Migrate, and Consolidate with Oracle Database 12c."We will discuss changes and enhancements to database upgrade, how to move into a multitenant database environment, and new features that make database migration easier and faster than ever.

Thank you to our friends at the JPOUG for making this event possible! 

About

Mike Dietrich - Oracle Mike Dietrich
Master Product Manager - Database Upgrade & Migrations - Oracle Corp

Based near Munich/Germany and spending plenty of time in airplanes to run either upgrade workshops or work onsite or remotely with reference customers. Acting as interlink between customers/partners and the Upgrade Development.

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Contact me via LinkedIn or XING

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