[Sept 18 Update: Transportable Database is now certified for EBS 12 environments, too. See this article for details.]
[Aug 5, 2008 Update: Clarified the use of Export/Import as a fallback if the Transportable Database option doesn't work for a given source and target platform]
Platform migration is the process of moving a database from one operating system platform to a different operating system platform. You might wish to migrate your E-Business Suite database to create testing instances, experiment with new
architectures, perform benchmarks, or prepare for actual platform changes in your production environment. A new method for performing platform migrations is now certified for E-Business Suite databases: Transportable Database (TDB).
Comparing Export/Import to Transportable Database
The supported way to accomplish this in prior releases of the Oracle database has been to export the data from the database on the old platform, create a new database on the new platform, and import the data into the new database. This process could take a
number of days for a large database.
Starting with Oracle Database 10g Release 2, Transportable Database can be used to reduce the amount of time required to migrate a database between platforms that share the same "endian" format (byte ordering). Note that if the endian format is
different between the source and target platforms, then Transportable Database cannot be used. For generic databases, a different method, such as Streams, Data Pump, or Cross-Platform Transportable Tablespaces must be used instead. An upcoming paper titled "Platform Migration using Transportable Tablespaces" will discuss migrating a database to a platform that is a different endian format. For E-Business Suite databases, only the Export/Import option is a viable fallback if the Transportable Database feature can't be used for your source and target platforms.
The reductions in migration times can be significant. For example, a test database within the Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) High Availability Lab was migrated to a new platform using Data Pump export and import in 74 minutes. The same database was
migrated using Transportable Database in 37 minutes, a 50% reduction in migration time.
What Platforms Are Supported for Transportable Databases?
Suitable target platforms can be verified by querying the view V$DB_TRANSPORTABLE_PLATFORM using sqlplus (connected as the system dba) on the source platform:
SQL> select platform_name from v$db_transportable_platform;
If the intended target platform appears in the output, the Transportable Database process can be used to migrate the database. Otherwise, an alternative such as export/import should be used instead.