Tuesday Nov 20, 2012

Upgrading to Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2: Top Tips One Must Know

Recently Oracle announced incremental release of Enterprise Manager 12c called Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2 (EM12c R2) which includes several new exciting features (Press announcement). Right before the official release, we upgraded an internal production site from EM 12c R1 to EM 12c R2 and had an extremely pleasant experience. Let me share few key takeaways as well as few tips from this upgrade exercise.

I - Why Should You Upgrade To Enterprise Manager 12c Release 2

While an upgrade is usually recommended primarily to take benefit of the latest features (which is valid for this upgrade as well), I found several other compelling reasons purely from deployment perspective.

  1. Standardize your EM deployment:  Enterprise Manager comprises of several different components (OMS, agents, plug-ins, etc) and it might be possible that these are at varied patch levels in your environment. For instance, in case of an environment containing Bundle Patch 1 (customer announcement), there is a good chance that you may not have all the components up-to-date. There are two possible reasons.
    • Bundle Patch 1 involved patching different components (OMS, agents, plug-ins) with multiple one-off patches which may not have been applied to all components yet.
    • Bundle Patch 1 for different platforms were not released together. Which means you may not have got the chance to patch all the components on different platforms.

    Note: BP1 patches are not mandatory to upgrade to EM12c R2 release

    EM 12c R2 provides an excellent opportunity to standardize your Cloud Control environment (OMS, repository and agents) and plug-ins to latest versions in single shot.

  2. All platform releases are made available simultaneously: For the very first time in the history of EM release, all the platforms were released on day one itself, which means you do not need to wait for platform specific binaries for EM OMS or Agent to perform install or upgrades in a heterogeneous environment.
  3. Highly refined and automated process – Upgrade process is by far the smoothest and the cleanest as compared to previous releases of Enterprise manager. Following are the ones that stand out.
    • Automatic Plug-in management – Plug-in upgrade along with new plug-in deployment is supported in upgrade installer wizard which means bulk of the updates to OMS and repository can be done in the same workflow. Saves time and minimizes user inputs.
    • Plug-in Upgrade or Migrate

    • Auto Update: While doing the OMS and repository upgrade, you can use Auto Update screen in Oracle Universal Installer to check for any updates/patches. That will help you to avoid the know issues and will make sure that your upgrade is successful.
    • Allows mass upgrade of EM Agents – A new dedicated menu has been added in the EM console for agent upgrade. Agent upgrade workflow is extremely simple that requires agent name as the only input.
    • ADM / JVMD Manager/Agent upgrade – complete process is supported via UI screens.
    • EM12c R2 Upgrade Guide is much simpler to follow as compared to those for earlier releases. This is attributed to the simpler upgrade process.
  4. Robust and Performing Platform: EM12c R2 release not only includes several new features, but also provides a more stable platform which incorporates several fixes and enhancements in the Enterprise Manager framework.

II - Few Tips To Remember

In my last post (blog link) I shared few tips and tricks from my experience applying the Bundle Patch. Recently I upgraded the same site to EM 12c R2 and found few points that you must take note of, while planning this upgrade. The tips below are also applicable to EM 12c R1 environments that do not have Bundle Patch 1 patches applied.

  1. Verify the monitored application certification – Specific targets like E-Business Suite have not yet been certified as managed target in EM 12c R2. Therefore make sure to recheck the Enterprise Manager certification Matrix on My Oracle Support before planning the upgrade.
  2. Plan downtime – Because EM 12c R2 is an incremental release of EM 12c, for EM 12c R1 to EM 12c R2 upgrade supports only 1-system upgrade approach, which mean there will be downtime.
  3. OMS name change after upgrade – In case of multi OMS environments, additional OMS is renamed after upgrade, which has few implications when you upgrade JVMD and ADP agents on OMS. This is well documented in upgrade guide but make sure you read through all the notes.
  4. Upgrading BI Publisher– EM12c R2 is certified with BI Publisher 11.1.1.6.0 only. Therefore in case you are using EM 12c R1 which is integrated with BI Publisher 11.1.1.5.0, you must upgrade the BI Publisher to 11.1.1.6.0. Follow the steps from Advanced Installation and Configuration Guide here.
  5. Perform Post upgrade Tasks – Make sure to perform post upgrade steps mentioned in documentation here. These include critical changes that must be done right after upgrade to get the right configuration. For instance Database plug-in should be upgraded to Revision 3 (12.1.0.2.0 [u120804]).
  6. Delete old OMS Home – EM12c R1 to EM12c R2 is an out of place upgrade, which means it creates a new oracle home for OMS, plug-ins, etc. Therefore please ensure that
    • You have sufficient extra space for new OMS before starting the upgrade process.
    • You clean up the old OMS home after the upgrade process. Steps are available here.
    • DO NOT remove the agent home on OMS host, because agent is upgraded in-place.
  7. If you have standby OMS setup then do look into the steps to upgrade the standby OMS from the upgrade guide before going ahead.
  8. Read the right documentation – Make sure to follow the Upgrade guide which provides the most comprehensive information on EM12c R2 upgrade process. Additionally you can refer other resources to get familiar with upgrade concepts.

We are very excited about this latest release and will look forward to hear back any feedback from your upgrade experience!

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