New channels for Exadata 11.2.3.1.1

With the release of Exadata 11.2.3.1.0 back in April 2012 Oracle has deprecated the minimal pack for the Exadata Database Servers (compute nodes). From that release the Linux Database Server updates will be done using ULN and YUM. For the 11.2.3.1.0 release the ULN exadata_dbserver_11.2.3.1.0_x86_64_base channel was made available and Exadata operators could subscribe their system to it via linux.oracle.com.

With the new 11.2.3.1.1 release two additional channels are added:
  1. a 'latest' channel (exadata_dbserver_11.2_x86_64_latest)
  2. a 'patch' channel (exadata_dbserver_11.2.3.1.0_x86_64_patch)

The patch channel has the new or updated packages updated in 11.2.3.1.1 from the base channel. The latest channel has all the packages from 11.2.3.1.0 base and patch channels combined. 

From here there are three possible situations a Database Server can be in before it can be updated to 11.2.3.1.1:
  1. Database Server is on Exadata release < 11.2.3.1.0
  2. Database Server is patched to 11.2.3.1.0
  3. Database Server is freshly imaged to 11.2.3.1.0
In order to bring a Database Server to 11.2.3.1.1 for all three cases the same approach for updating can be used (using YUM), but there are some minor differences:

For Database Servers on a release < 11.2.3.1.0 the following high-level steps need to be performed:
  • Subscribe to el5_x86_64_addons, ol5_x86_64_latest and  exadata_dbserver_11.2_x86_64_latest
  • Create local repository
  • Point Database Server to the local repository*
  • install the update
* during this process a one-time action needs to be done (details in the README)

For Database Servers patched to 11.2.3.1.0:
  • Subscribe to patch channel  exadata_dbserver_11.2.3.1.0_x86_64_patch
  • Create local repository
  • Point Database Server to the local repository
  • Update the system
For Database Servers freshly imaged to 11.2.3.1.0:
  • Subscribe to patch channel  exadata_dbserver_11.2.3.1.0_x86_64_patch
  • Create local  repository
  • Point Database Server to the local repository
  • Update the system
The difference between 'situation 2' (Database Server is patched to 11.2.3.1.0) and 'situation 3' (Database Server is freshly imaged to 11.2.3.1.0) is that in situation 2 the existing Exadata-computenode.repo file needs to be edited while in situation 3 this file is not existing  and needs to be created or copied. Another difference is that you will end up with more OFA packages installed in situation 2. This is because none are removed during the updating process. 

The YUM update functionality with the new channels is a great enhancements to the Database Server update procedure. As usual, the updates can be done in a rolling fashion so no database service downtime is required. 

For detailed and up-to-date instructions always see the patch README's
Rene Kundersma



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About

Blog of Rene Kundersma, Principal Member of Technical Staff at Oracle Development USA. I am designing and evaluating solutions and best practices around database MAA focused on Exadata. This involves HA, backup/recovery, migration and database consolidation and upgrades on Exadata. Opinions are my own and not necessarily those of Oracle Corporation. See http://www.oracle.com/technology/deploy/availability/htdocs/maa.htm.

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