Patching for Exadata: introducing oplan

With this update I like to introduce you to Oplan. Oplan is a utility that facilitates you with the application of bundle patches on Exadata compute nodes via Opatch. This new utility helps you with the patch process by generating step-by-step instructions telling you how to apply a bundle patch in your environment.

Oplan is supported from release 11.2.0.2 and available as download here.

The steps to install Oplan are straight forward:


  • download Oplan to one of your oracle home's (for example the GI home) as the oracle home owner. Say /u01/app/11.2.0/grid/oplan

  • append the Oplan directory to your path

  • as the oracle home owner generate the Oplan installation instructions, for example:oplan generateApplySteps /home/oracle/11828582 (where 11828582 is BP5)

  • Oplan will now generate the specific installation instructions for your environment.

You will notice that Oplan provides you with several options how to apply the patch.

In my case Oplan offered :


  • in-place instructions using auto patch or not

  • in-place instructions rolling or non-rolling

  • out-of-place patching instructions.

For each 'strategy' Oplan lists the advantages and disadvantages. For example an out-of-place instruction may cost you more time, but is easier to rollback. Also the number of steps for each option is listed.

Once you made up your mind and made your choice for a specific patch strategy, Oplan will give you step-by-step instructions.

Each patch plan generated by Oplan begins with a pre-patch apply phase, then a patch apply phase and ends with a post-patch apply phase.

In the pre-patch apply phase the current situation of the oracle homes to be patched will be verified. Some checks that are done:


  • The version of opatch will be verified

  • Check to see if there are no conflicts pending.

  • Next to this, ocm will be configured

In the patch apply process the actual patch is applied. This is followed by the post-patch apply phase where srvctl is used to reconfigure the new Oracle home to be used (in my case) and also modify /etc/oratab.

For all of this Oplan generates instructions for all of the nodes in the cluster, even how to copy over the patch itself.

Last but no least some small notes:


  • Oplan can create rollback instructions for the patch.

  • There is no support for Oracle DataGuard

  • Patch README files should be used to double check the proposed actions, also in case of any conflict: the patch README should be considered as truth

Altogether Oplan comes in very handy by summarizing the different patch strategies available. When you made your choice, Oplan tells you exactly what commands to execute. This will limit errors and reduce the time it takes to prepare.

Please see note 1306814.1 and check it out yourself.

Rene

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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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