Rapid Platform Update: Reduce Maintenance Windows and Maintain Monitoring Continuity during Updates

March 30, 2022 | 5 minute read
Sumesh Balakrishnan
Principal Product Manager
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Customers use Enterprise Manager (EM) for monitoring their mission-critical databases, middleware, and engineered systems. Keeping current with the latest Release Update (RU) while meeting Service Level Agreements (SLA) and minimizing loss of monitoring for critical targets can be a challenge for administrators. This is part 1 of a two-part blog. In this part we review how Rapid Platform Update helps you reduce maintenance windows and maintain monitoring continuity during EM updates. In part 2, we will dive into the details of its 4 stages: Analyze, Deploy, Update and Verify. You will also see the benefits of RPU patching and a user experience comparison of traditional patching vs the Rapid Platform Update.

3 Key Functions of the New EM Rapid Platform Update (RPU) Capability

Customers use Enterprise Manager (EM) for monitoring, diagnostics, and lifecycle automation of their mission-critical databases, middleware, packaged applications, and engineered systems. Keeping current with the latest Release Update (RU) while meeting Service Level Agreements (SLA) and minimizing loss of monitoring for critical targets can be a challenge for Administrators. To meet these challenges, we are excited to introduce Rapid Platform Update (RPU) feature. This feature applies release updates on EM while it is up and running, thereby ensuring that critical monitoring and alerting are available during planned maintenance.

The Rapid Platform Update capability focuses on the three key pillars:

1.    Agility – RPU enables customers to adopt the new release update features at regular intervals and take in timely fixes to improve the stability and performance of the product.

2.    Monitoring Insights – RPU continues monitoring your mission-critical databases, applications and sends alerts when your EM is under a planned maintenance window.

3.    Reduced Maintenance – RPU reduces the maintenance window for planned maintenance by 90% helping administrators meet SLAs during planned maintenance.

Figure 1: Agile and smart patching with Rapid Platform Update

 

EM Rapid Platform Update (RPU) – Overview

RPU provides a patching framework that enables users to apply Enterprise Manager 13.5 RUs on the Oracle Management Service (OMS), while it is up and running. The RPU patching capability provides EM administrators the flexibility to bring down the OMS whenever they can to finish the patching activity during peak or non-peak hours. Given that this takes a very minimal downtime, the maintenance window is also expected to be low.

RPU uses the omspatcher utility to patch the OMS to minimize or eliminate downtime and utilizes Oracle Database Edition-Based Redefinition (EBR) technology to upgrade the database component of an application in a separate “edition” while it is in use. During the deployment process, the omspatcher creates a new edition for applying the SQL change inside the repository database as part of the patch. Changes to the repository are performed on the new edition that is created by the patching and later rolled over into the actual repository database, during the planned downtime. On the OMS, the omspatcher utility creates the clone home and applies the Java changes in the patch. Hence, the running EM application is not aware of the new edition inside the repository and the clone home. The changes to the middleware home and the repository database are performed when the OMS is restarted.

New commands available for applying Release Updates in Rapid Platform Update (RPU)

The RPU capability introduces new command options to the omspatcher utility to apply the patch while the OMS is up and running. The new command options are

1.    omspatcher deploy

  •  This is an online activity (pre-downtime) command that deploys the patch artifacts on OMS and the repository while OMS is up and running and monitoring the targets.

2.    omspatcher rollback deploy

  • This is an online activity (pre-downtime) where the command rolls back the changes from the 'omspatcher deploy' command on OMS and repository.

3.    omspatcher deploy -analyze

  • This is an online activity (pre-downtime) where the ‘analyze’ command checks for patch conflicts and reports any during the analyze phase.

4.    omspatcher update

  • This is the downtime activity where the OMS is shut down, a few of the downtime activities are performed, the edition is switched in the repository, and OMS will be started.

5.    omspatcher status

  • This command checks the status of the Oracle Home and determines whether the ‘deploy’ operation is complete or pending.

6.    omspatcher resume

  • This command resumes the patching process in case of any failure during the patching process.

 

EM Rapid Platform Update - Patching Cycle

The RPU patching cycle goes through the following stages.

Figure 2: Rapid Platform Update patching cycle stages

 

EM Rapid Platform Update – Step-by-step Approach

The chart depicts the high-level flow when applying release updates in the Rapid Platform Update mode.

Figure 3: Rapid Platform Update high-level step-by-step workflow

 

With RPU based patching, there is no need to manually stop the OMS(s) before starting with the patch apply operation and their are 4 stages in the process.

 

Figure 4: Rapid Platform Update Patching stages

 

We've summarized all of this in the video shown below:

 

In Part 2 of the blog, we will dive into the details of each of these 4 stages.

Sumesh Balakrishnan

Principal Product Manager

Enterprise and Cloud Manageability


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