ODA 18.3 Release - Full of New Features!

Phil Stephenson
Sr . Principal Product Manager

We are excited to bring the ODA user community the newest release of ODA software, 18.3. It adds major features that improve the web console, strengthen system availability, make patching more robust and enhance the overall user experience. All the new features are in response to user requests to make ODA system deployments and management even better.


ODA System Node Backup and Restore (ODABR) Utility

It's best practice to backup the ODA system environment (local system boot disks) prior to patching your ODA. We are introducing a standalone ODA system node backup utility that has been developed for use with ODA bare metal deployments.  Even though the timing of the ODABR release correlates with the ODA 18.3 release, it can be used with all bare metal deployments regardless of the ODA software version deployed on the system. The tool takes a snapshot of the current system node to establish a restore point in the event it is necessary to restore the system to its previous state. See the ODABR blog for more details. 


ODACLI Stack Support on all Bare Metal Platforms

As we discussed in the Get Ready for the ODACLI Stack blog, the ODA 18.3 release is the merge point that introduces the ODACLI stack, as the common command line and UI interface (web console), to all bare metal ODA deployments. This means that all bare metal deployments will be using the same user interface across all ODA generations and models.  The goal is to use the same stack on all ODA hardware to provide a richer set of features and integrate with the Oracle Cloud.

If you are running ODA X7-2-HA bare metal, X7-2S/M, or X6-2S/M/L, then there is very little impact since these systems are already running the ODACLI stack. You simply patch your ODA to the 18.3 release.

If you are running ODA X6-2-HA, X5-2, X4-2 or X3-2 bare metal, the ODA 18.3 release will migrate your ODA from the OAKCLI to the ODACLI software stack. When you apply the software patch for the ODA 18.3 release your bare metal system is migrated to the ODACLI stack and no additional configuration is required. OAKCLI commands, which will no longer be available after the migration, will be replaced by equivalent ODACLI commands. The web console associated with ODACLI stack also provides robust functionality such as patching, backup, and the new features described below that is not available with the OAKCLI stack. The ODA documentation describes the ODACLI commands in detail and maps them to the OAKCLI commands. (See 18.3: Oracle Database Appliance X7-2 Deployment and User's Guide – Appendix B - ODACLI Command reference for OAKCLI Migration)

ODA will continue to use the OAKCLI stack on systems that are running the Virtualized Platform based on OVM. 

See the ODA 18.3 Release Notes for information about new features, component versions, patches, known issues, and other details.

Database Support

The ODA 18.3 release supports,,, and 18.3 databases all on the same system. 


Load and Save Configurations with Web Console

The ODA 18.3 release now provides the ability to save the ODA configuration parameters that were entered in the web console to a JSON file for provisioning other ODA systems. The same file can also be used as input to the odacli create appliance command.


ASM Flex Disk Group Support

Oracle ASM flex disk groups are now supported with the ODA 18.3 release.  This feature enables you to assign storage redundancy at the database level, providing the flexibility to consolidate databases with different storage redundancy requirements.  You now have the granularity to specify high redundancy for critical databases while minimizing the amount of disk space used for lower priority databases on the same system.

You can select FLEX disk group redundancy during ODA provisioning or choose traditional Normal (double-mirrored) or High (triple-mirrored) options.  ASM flex disk groups are available with Oracle Database 12.2 or higher.  Oracle Database 12.1 and 11.2 will be provisioned on ACFS when ASM flex disk groups is selected during ODA deployment.  See the Managing Oracle Database Flex Disk Groups section in the Oracle Database 18C documentation for more details on this feature. 



Backup, Recover and Restore for Network File System (NFS)

In the ODA release blog, we discussed our initial database backup and restore implementation that uses the internal FRA on ODA or the Oracle Cloud object storage as backup destinations.  The ODA 18.3 release adds the ability to choose an external FRA (Network File System) as an additional target to backup and restore ODA.  This simplifies backup and restore for NFS storage targets such as the ZFS Storage Appliance.  In the web console or command line, you can simply create the backup policy with the backup destination set to:

  • Internal FRA (+RECO disk group)
  • External FRA (Filesystem)
  • Object Store in Oracle Cloud

Once you have created a backup policy you can attach it to a database to trigger automatic backups. For every backup that is taken a backup report is created to simplify the subsequent restore process. 


Software Bill of Materials

This feature displays system details of all the software components installed on ODA to provide an accounting of the key system information through the web console or one of the odaadmcli show commands. This information can also be displayed with Virtualized Platform deployments using a similar OAKCLI command.




Enhanced Monitoring

Similar to the monitoring information described in the ODA EM Plug-in blog, the web console now provides hardware monitoring information with the ODA 18.3 release. It visually integrates the monitoring information into front, top, and rear illustrations of the appliance in the web console.  The monitoring information is categorized by server, disk, and network components and visually highlights any hardware faults.


The ODA 18.3 release also monitors software features such as database options and captures their historical usage statistics. This information is displayed in the web console under the Feature Usage and High Water Mark section.


Clone Database using ACFS Snapshots

With ODA 18.3 release, you can quickly create database copies for test and development using the odacli clone-database command.  Database clones using ACFS snapshots are read-write, space efficient, point-in-time database copies that are immediately available for use after creation.  As shown in the table below, the snapshot directory of the clone database can be easily located in the directory of the source database.

Data Path for Create Database  Data Path for Clone Database
/u02/app/oracle/oradata/<dbName> /u02/app/oracle/oradata/<sourcedbName>/<dbName>


Enhanced Storage Utilization Reporting

With the ODA 18.3 release, new ODACLI commands consolidate ASM and ACFS storage utilization information across disk groups, file systems, and databases.  This provides a simple and single system overview of used and available storage information.


Updated Pre-Check Enhancements

Users can run pre-checks prior to patching and then review a report that describes any issues that would prevent patching from completing successfully. This feature helps users save time during patching by preventing avoidable errors and complications that occur from a failed patch. Enhanced pre-checks are integrated into the web console patching workflow as well as the equivalent command line commands



Adding Repositories for Installing Operating System RPMs

User installed Linux RPMs can conflict with ODA patches forcing you to manually remove them prior to patching to ensure the patching process completes successfully.  The ODA 18.3 release simplifies OS configuration management by helping you avoid conflicts with RPMs you installed.  You can configure additional local or public repositories for installing operating systems RPMs outside the ODA patch bundle. The ODA tooling prevents RPM updates from interfering with ODA patches. You can list and add repositories using the ODACLI command line. 


Rolling Patching of Shared Disks

ODA has supported rolling server patching for quite some time; however; if continuous availability was required for shared storage patching it was necessary to failover to a standby system during updates. With the ODA 18.3 release, there is no need to schedule a planned outage for most firmware updates to shared storage. Rolling patching is now available for shared disk firmware updates. You can choose to patch shared disks in a rolling fashion, resulting in higher availability of the system. 


Enhancements in Log Collection and Analysis

To improve ODA supportability, new commands that collect and manage diagnostic logs are introduced with the ODA 18.3 release.


For more information on the ODA 18.3 release, see the ODA documentation - 18.3 Oracle Database Appliance



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