Exadata Product Development Blog

  • April 9, 2012

Updating Exadata Compute Nodes using ULN and YUM starting

Rene Kundersma
Software Engineer
With this post an update on Exadata Planned Maintenance - The new ULN Updating Procedure for Exadata Compute Nodes.

As you may already know, starting with Oracle Exadata Storage Server release the 'minimal pack' is deprecated.

From now on the (Linux) Computes Node will use Yellowdog Updater (Modified) (YUM) to apply the new updates as rpm packages. 
These RPM packages that come from ULN may also contain firmware updates which will be applied in the same updating procedure.

In order to update the Exadata Compute Nodes via YUM, you need a
repository to download the software from. Of course Oracle provides its
customers ULN access for this to make this really easy. It may however happen this requirement for http access to a web location from the Compute Nodes is not possible for some reason. For these situations Oracle worked out
an alternative solution.

In this post I like to discuss the solution to setup a YUM repository located in the
customers Data Center: This is a local system, that can download the updates from ULN and
act as a YUM repository for the Compute Nodes as a 'man in the middle' bertween ULN and the Compute Nodes.

For installations planning to setup an internal/local YUM repository and
currently not on there are two notes that need to be reviewed
carefully before the patching starts:

README for patch 13741363 :
Especially chapter 3 "Performing One-Time Setup on Database Servers of Oracle
Exadata Database Machine

The steps described here are one time only steps to prepare
and populate the local YUM repository server that will be used for ALL the Compute Nodes. Best is to install the YUM
repository server on a separate Linux machine running OEL 4 or OEL 5.
Basically the steps are: go to http://linux.oracle.com, use your
Hardware CSI for the registration steps, register the YUM repository
server and subscribe to the right channels and populate the repository.
After the download is finished, the repository is 'build' and now 'local' it needs to be made available
by http for the Compute Nodes to download from on the local network.

After the setup of the repository V2/X2-2 and X2-8 Compute Nodes require
a One-Time setup so they are able to use YUM from now on.
The One-Time steps remove a set of packages that can cause the further setup to
fail, but also add some packages to support the installations to be done
using YUM onwards.

Please pay close attention to one of the most important steps of this One-Time
setup: the editing of the repository configuration file /etc/yum.repos.d/Exadata-computenode.repo and making sure it points to your local YUM repository if you don't have direct ULN access.

README for 13536739: Especially chapter 6 "Updating Oracle Linux Database Servers in Oracle Exadata Database Machine" 

After setting up the repository and enabling the Compute Nodes to
use YUM there is one thing to do: the update itself. Key step in this
process is enabling each Compute Node to use the new repository. After
this some  packages (ofed1) may need to be downgraded depending on your installation and some checks
for kernel versions need to be done. After this, from now on the the
system can be updated using a simple 'yum install' to install the main
Exadata database server rpm with all dependent packages.

At the end of the installation the Compute Node is rebooted automatically.

At this moment I have to make some remarks/disclaimers:
  • Please see the notes for 13741363  and 13536739 for
    exact steps, I am only highlighting to explain the overall procedure of
    setting up a local repository and configuring the Compute Nodes using
  • If you are able to connect your Compute Nodes to ULN directly there is
    no need to setup a repository and the related steps can be skipped.
  • For X2-2 (and earlier) and X2-8 the 'updating Oracle Linux Database Server' steps are slightly different.
  • Oracle has provided 'helper' scripts to automated the steps described above making it even more easy
  • The YUM Updating procedure only applies to Linux Compute Nodes having images > (for updates to versions lower than you still need to use the minimal pack)
Rene Kundersma

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Comments ( 2 )
  • Andy Colvin Monday, April 9, 2012

    One thing to note is that if you're running a V2 Exadata with compute nodes still on OEL 5.3, you'll need to upgrade to OEL 5.5 before configuring the compute nodes to use yum. This is covered in MOS note #1284070.1.

  • Rene Friday, July 27, 2012


    In a V2 system we have only Sun ILOM. In a V1 system we have HP ILO. Assuming you mean V2 so ILOM.

    I am not sure this blog is the appropriate place to start a troubleshooting session with you but I am happy to give you some guidance.

    Use the "ipmitool chassis bootdev <media>" command to specify what media you want to boot from. This can be executed on the compute node. For example ipmitool chassis bootdev cdrom

    If the ILOM does not honor your request try to reset it first: ipmitool bmc reset cold. This can also be done in the web interface: Maintenance -> Reset SP

    If this is still not working for you I think My Oracle Support is the best platform to log your issue. This will enable Oracle to collaborate with you and find a resolution.



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