An Oracle blog about Database and Grid Infrasructure Maintenance

  • April 2, 2018

Rapid Home Provisioning and Maintenance - what's new in 18c

Burt Clouse
Sr Principal Product Manager

With the release of Grid Infrastructure 18c, Rapid Home Provisioning and Maintenance has been enhanced in several areas.

Brief descriptions of the most important new capabilities follow.  For full details, please visit Chapter Five of the Clusterware Administration Guide and also the Standardization section of the Private Database Cloud OTN page for videos, demos, and the white paper / cookbook.


Local “Switch Home” for Applying Updates

The Rapid Home Provisioning automatons for updating Oracle Database and Grid Infrastructure Homes can be executed in a local mode, with no RHP Server or Client in the architecture.

These automatons feature the same user interface, outcome, and many of the command line options as the server and client modes.  This provides for a consistent, standardized maintenance approach across environments that are orchestrated with a central RHP Server and those environments that do not employ the RHP Server.

Zero-Downtime Database Upgrade

Zero-Downtime Database Upgrade automates all of the steps required for a Database upgrade. It can minimize or even eliminate application downtime during the upgrade process. It can also minimize resource requirements. It also provides a fallback path to roll back upgrades if necessary.

By automating all of the steps involved in the upgrade process, Zero-Downtime Database Upgrade reduces the effort, risk and application impact of database upgrades.


Dry Run Command Validation

The workflows encapsulated in Rapid Home Provisioning commands are composed of multiple smaller steps, of which some could potentially fail.  The new release includes a "dry run" command mode which allows finding and fixing many potential errors prior to command execution.

While RHP allows a failed command to be resumed after an error condition is corrected, it is often preferable to address as many potential issues as possible before the command is executed.  This minimizes problems and the distraction of corrective measures that could arise during a maintenance window.  The new "dry run" command mode will test the preconditions for a given command, without making any changes, and report on potential problems.  These can then be corrected before the command is actually executed.


Authentication Plug-in

For authenticating communication between a Rapid Home Provisioning Server and target servers, Rapid Home Provisioning enables you to provide login credentials or, when communicating with a Rapid Home Provisioning Client, automatically handles authentication for most operations, internally. A new plug-in framework enables support for additional, user-defined authentication procedures.

Host-to-host authentication in customer environments, particularly in compliance-conscious industries such as financials and e-commerce, will typically leverage advanced technologies and products which are not supported natively by Rapid Home Provisioning. This feature enables integrating Rapid Home Provisioning's authentication with the mechanisms in use at a customer's data center.


Gold Image Distribution among RHP Servers

In the Rapid Home Provisioning architecture, one central RHP Server operates on a set of targets within a given data center (or network segment of a data center).  Large enterprises typically host multiple data centers, and within each data center there may be separate network segments. Each will need a dedicated RHP Server. For these customers, this feature provides a simple and secure mechanism for sharing Gold Images among the RHP Servers.

While each data center may have some unique requirements in terms of the Gold Images that target machines will use, the goal of standardization points to using the same Gold Images across all data centers whenever possible. To that end, RHP supports peer-to-peer sharing of Gold Images, to easily propagate Gold Images among multiple RHP Servers.


Configuration Drift Reporting and Resolution

Provisioned copies of gold images can potentially drift from their deployed configuration, for example if one-off patches are applied.  Rapid Home Provisioning provides two capabilities for reporting and reconciling this drift:

1.    Rapid Home Provisioning compares a specific deployed home to its parent gold image and lists any patches that are applied to the home but that are not in the gold image.

2.    Rapid Home Provisioning compares a specific gold image to all deployed copies and lists the aggregation of all patches applied to those homes that are not in the gold image. This provides a build specification for a new gold image that could be applied to all of the copies of the original gold image, such that no patches will be lost from any of those deployments when the new version is applied.

Operating system configurations are also at risk of drift.  The Rapid Home Provisioning Server can collect and retain operating system configuration and the root file system contents of specified Rapid Home Provisioning Clients and targets. This information can then be used to

  1. View current configuration -   
  2. Report any drift from the previous collection

These capabilities support the goal of maintaining standardized deployments across the database estate.


Command Scheduler and Bulk Operations

Rapid Home Provisioning commands can now be scheduled in advance.  Tasks can be scheduled to run periodically.  The command queue be queried and modified.  Also, commands can applied to a list of clients.

The ability to schedule and bundle automated tasks is essential for maintenance of a large database estate.  RHP now supports scheduling key tasks such as provisioning software homes, switching to a new home, and scaling a cluster.  Also, a list of clients can now be added to a command, facilitating large-scale operations.


Engineered Systems support

This release introduces support for Oracle Exadata infrastructure patching.  In addition to the existing support for the Oracle Database and Grid Infrastructure Homes, the software for the database nodes, storage cells and InfiniBand switches software can now be patched with RHP.

Integration of Oracle Exadata components support in to Rapid Home Provisioning allows the management and tracking of maintenance for these components through the centralized Rapid Home Provisioning Service's inventory.


Oracle Restart Homes

RHP 12.2 supports operations on Database Homes that are hosted on Oracle Restart.  RHP 18c adds support for provisioning and patching the Oracle Restart Home itself.


Watch for more updates throughout the lifecycle of the 18c release!



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Comments ( 2 )
  • Michael Lewis Tuesday, May 8, 2018
    I have just started to use RHP to deploy patchs... but hit a issue with 3 hosts running Oracle Restart. This seems to be resolved in 18c... so when is 18c being released for on prem?
  • Burt Clouse Friday, May 11, 2018
    Please see https://support.oracle.com/CSP/main/article?cmd=show&type=NOT&id=742060.1 for release (and support timeline) information.

    Hope that helps -- Burt
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