Wednesday Apr 18, 2012

Resolving stale links to SunSolve documentation on My Oracle Support

A couple of folks have posted comments on old blog entries complaining that they can't resolve links to old SunSolve content.

SunSolve was decommissioned as part of the integration into Oracle.  Documentation which is still relevant was migrated.  The URIs changed in the process.  So did the document IDs.

On the basis that it's better to teach a man how to fish than to just give him a fish, here's a tip on how to do find the current links to such migrated documentation.  At least, this is how I do it:

If you're looking to find the current URI for a document for which you have a stale URI such as http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=1-79-250526.1-1 , simply search MOS using the "core" document number in the old SunSolve URI - for example "250526" in this example.  Enter this in the "Search Knowledge Base" search box. 

If the document is still relevant, MOS will usually return the corresponding new Document ID.  For example, in this case Document 1019995.1.  The top line of the document 1019995.1 states "Migrated ID: 250526".

I've updated the Doc IDs for a number of my old blog postings.  Apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Wednesday Oct 12, 2011

Live Upgrade document updated and simplified

I forgot to let you know, but a couple of months ago, my colleagues, Don O'Malley and Ed Clark updated the Oracle Solaris Live Upgrade (LU) document describing the pre-requisites for Live Upgrade.

The original document was pretty convoluted and required several cups of strong coffee to parse.  The updated version is a little easier to understand, even without caffeine.

Thanks also to Beth Barrett, Rick Ramsey, and Jon Bowman who helped make this happen.

Thursday Oct 06, 2011

Walking in the shadows of giants

As I sit here in 22A on an American Airlines flight from San Francisco to O'Hare at the start of my 16 hour journey home to Ireland, I'm reflecting on some of the key Solaris 11 related events at Oracle OpenWorld this week.

For the first time in a couple of years, I got to spend the weekend in Northern California, having been here  last week for Solaris 11 planning meetings.  I went up to the Sierras to hug some Sequoias.  I'm not normally the tree-hugging type, but I make as exception for these giants.  I saw Mono Lake.  Cool.  Devil's Postpile.  Way Cool.  And the Sequoia National Park - it's truly amazing walking in the shadows of these giants.

As usual, Oracle OpenWorld and Jave One this week provided the opportunity to hear about bleeding edge technologies directly from their architects and to chat with them about the what and the why.

Markus Flierl (VP, Solaris Engineering) hosted a session on Monday with some of his key architects who have been developing Solaris 11 over the last 7+ years, including Liane Praza (IPS), Bart Smaalders (IPS), Darren Moffett (Security), Dan Price (Zones), and Mark Maybee (I/O).  It was great to hear these experts express their passion, ingenuity, and innovation.  They have a justifable parental sense of pride in Solaris 11.  Technologies which were bolt-ons in Solaris 10, or indeed far too disruptive to even be considered for release in a Solaris 10 Update, are tightly integrated and honed in Solaris 11.  Low latency (i.e. performance), scalability, security, availability, robustness, and diagnosability are all factors that customers have come to expect of Solaris.  Solaris 11 takes it to a whole new level.  Warp drive.

My colleague, Pete Dennis, and I have been working closely with Bart, Liane, David Comay, and others to ensure that IPS fully meets the needs of our customers' maintenance lifecycle.  They've listening to us and subtly tweaked and adapted their implementations where necessary to fully meet customers' maintenance lifecycle needs.  Working with geniuses is great.  Working with geniuses who are prepared to listen and adapt is truly wonderful.

But what really blew me away this week was a presentation by Nicolas Droux last night on Network Virtualization in Solaris 11.  Some of you may know about earlier incarnations of this, codenamed Project "Crossbow".  But the fleshing out of the capabilities in Solaris 11 is truly amazing.  The ability to have virtualized NICs (VNICs), virtualized LANs (VLANs), Zones which act as virtualized switches, Zones which act as virtualized firewalls, fully segregated data "Lanes", "Flows", etc., etc., and all with diagnosability built in with new utilities such as 'dlstat' (Data link stats), 'flowstat', etc.  I hadn't met Nicolas before but wow!  Not only is Nicolas a key architect, he has an amazing ability to explain it with crystal clarity in a really easy to understand manner.  As I said to the Product Manager, Joost Pronk, we've got to video Nicolas giving this talk once Solaris 11 ships so that the world can see it.  

At the end of Nicolas's presentation, Thierry Manfe showed how he is leveraging Network Virtualization in Oracle Solaris's cloud infrastructure provided to enable ISVs to test their apps with complete data integrity and segregation.  You can sign up for this, it's available now.  "Solaris 11. #1 for Clouds" isn't just some Marketing hype. It's true.

I'm walking in the shadow of giants.  And it's a wonderful feeling.

Roll on Solaris 11.  It won't be long now and I really can't wait.  It's amazing.  Big time!

Thank you to the 90+ of you who attended Pete Dennis, Isaac Rozenfeld, and my presentation on Solaris 11 Customer Maintenance Lifecycles, policies, and best practices.  If you missed it, there'll be another chance to catch an updated version with more technical content at DOAG (the German Oracle Users Group) conference in Nuremberg, Germany in November (see previous posting for details).

Finally, I'd like to pay my respects to a true giant of our industry, Steve Jobs.  Gone way too soon.  RIP Steve.  You'll be missed.  Big time!

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Disclaimer: Any forward looking statements in this posting are subject to the vagueries of my Crystal ball, possible hallucinations, and lack of coffee.  You get the drift. 

Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

I'm Presenting at Oracle OpenWorld and I Hope to See You There

I hope to see you next week at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.

Pete Dennis, Isaac Rosenfeld, and I will be giving a presentation on the Solaris 11 Customer Maintenance Lifecycle, which will provide an introduction to how we expect customers to maintain Solaris 11 systems, comparing and contrasting it to the Solaris 10 experience.

I believe the compelling advantages of ZFS Root Snapshots and Image Packaging System (IPS) have the potential to dramatically improve our customers' maintenance experience.

I'm sure you, like me, will be delighted to hear that there will be no patches and no patching in Solaris 11.  Neither is there a need to use technologies like Live Upgrade to provide a safety net - it's all baked into core Solaris 11 for you.

It's my intention to provide customers with much more up front guidance on how best to maintain Solaris 11, so customers don't need to figure out their maintenance strategy from scratch.

But we also remain committed to providing the flexibility to meet individual customer's needs and special circumstances.

So if you're at OpenWorld, please come along and hear Pete, Isaac, and I introduce you to the Solaris 11 maintenance lifecycle:

3:30pm, Tuesday, Oct 4th

Moscone South, Room 200

Pete Dennis and I will also be presenting at the Deutsche Oracle Anwendergruppe (DOAG) conference in N├╝rnberg in November 15-17, so if we don't see you at OpenWorld, we hope to see you there.

I really want to get your feedback on our current plans - what you like, what you don't like, and what we can improve.  So come along and let me know.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Wednesday Sep 14, 2011

Useful Oracle Sun patch download options, including metadata & READMEs

(Updated May 14, 2013)

Here are some Oracle Sun patch download options which my colleague Don O'Malley and I believe you may find useful:

You can download an Oracle Sun patch README simply by using an URI of the following form:

https://updates.oracle.com/readme/120068-02

Just replace the PatchID in the URI above with the PatchID you are interested in.

If you are logged on to MOS, and have a valid support contract associated with your account, you can download patches using an URI of the following form for an individual patch:

https://updates.oracle.com/all_unsigned/120068-02.zip

XML metadata for a patch is available using a URI of the form:

https://updates.oracle.com/Orion/Services/search?bug=120068-02

This XML metadata contains useful information like:

  • The MD5 and SHA-1 checksums, see <digest type=...>.  Getting MD5 and SHA-1 checksums directly from MOS or this XML metadata file is the most accurate way to get checksum information. 
  • The latest PatchID in this lineage which obsoletes (supersedes) this patch revision , see <patch_replacements> - in this example 127127-11
  • What bug fixes (CRs) are delivered in the Patch - note if <fixes_bugs truncated="yes">, then the list of CRs fixed in truncated, so see the patch README for the full list of CRs
  • What access entitlement is needed to download this patch - in this example "OS" (Operating System) which means you need a support contract which covers Solaris in order to download it.  Other common access entitlements are "FMW" (Firmware) and "SW" ([other] Software), which means you need a support contract which covers Hardware or other Software respectively.  If multiple access entitlements are shown, then a support contract which covers any of them is sufficient to download the patch.
  • The Oracle BugDB Bug number reference to this patch which can be used as an alternative way to access it (see example below) - in this example 9615556
  • The Oracle BugDB Bug number reference to the README of this patch which can be used as an alternative way to access it (see example below) - in this example 12450076

Note, there are two nearly identical <patch> entries in the XML Metadata file in this example, one for 32-bit and one for 64-bit.  This is common and occurs for the vast majority of Oracle Sun patches.  Java patches are the main exception to this multiple <patch> entries rule for Oracle Sun patches, as they produce a separate 64-bit patch which will have a separate metadata file.  Where multiple <patch> entries exist in a metadata file, they always refer to one and the same patch, so either metadata entry can be parsed.  So while the "aru" <request id> references in the URIs differ for each in addition to <platform>, it's the identical patch which is downloaded in each case.

It's also possible to access a nice landing page using the Oracle BugDB Bug number reference to a patch (taken from the XML Metadata file above) to construct a URI of the form:

https://updates.oracle.com/download/9615556.html

The "View Digest" button on the landing page shows the MD4 and SHA-1 Checksums for the patch.  The landing page also facilitates viewing of the README and download of the patch.

The "HTML version" of the patch README can be accessed two ways: 

https://updates.oracle.com/Orion/Services/download?type=readme&bugfix_name=120068-02 (using the PatchID) or

https://updates.oracle.com/Orion/Services/download?type=readme&aru=12450076 (using the Oracle BugDB Bug number reference to the README taken from the XML Metadata file above)

Both of the above URIs resolve to the same patch README.  The "HTML version" of the README contains a download link for the patch at the top of the page.  It also provides links to two key resources for Oracle Sun patching information:

It's also possible to directly access the MOS Flash-based download page using a URI of the form:

https://support.oracle.com/CSP/ui/flash.html#tab=PatchHomePage(page=PatchHomePage&id=gnrgyece()),(page=PatchDetailPage&id=gnrgyece(patchId=120068-02&patchType=Patch&patchName=120068-02))

Since patchsets are named a little differently, here's a table showing the relevant URIs for key patchsets:
Patchset Name
Landing Page
README
Download
XML Metadata
Checksums (subset of XML Metadata)
Recommended OS Patchset for Solaris 10 SPARC
Landing Page README Download XML Metadata

Click "View Digest" on Landing Page or extract from XML Metadata

Recommended OS Patchset for Solaris 10 x86
Landing Page README Download XML Metadata

Click "View Digest" on Landing Page or extract from XML Metadata

Critical Patch Update (CPU) Patchset for Solaris 10 SPARC, Apr 2013
Landing Page README Download XML Metadata Checksums
Critical Patch Update (CPU) Patchset for Solaris 10 x86, Apr 2013
Landing Page README Download XML Metadata Checksums
Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 11) SPARC Patchset
Landing Page README

See Landing Page

XML Metadata Checksums
Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 10) x86 Patchset
Landing Page README See Landing Page XML Metadata Checksums
Here are some other useful links:
Sun Alerts - Knowledge article with summary of, and links to, all published Sun Alerts alerting customers to known Security (through the link to the "Critical Patch Update (CPU) and Security Alerts" page), Availability and Data Corruption issues
patchdiag.xref - metadata file listing latest available revision of all Oracle Sun 6-2 digit patches
withdrawn_patch_report - list of all Oracle Sun patches withdrawn from release in the last 12 months
weekly_patch_report - list of all Oracle Sun patches released in the last week

You can be proactively notified daily of Sun Alert issues (and other knowledge articles) by configuring the "Hot Topics" option in My Oracle Support:

   1. Go to url https://support.oracle.com/CSP/ui/flash.html
   2. Sign in
   3. Select the tab "More..." --> Settings
   4. Select "Hot Topics E-Mail" on the left
   5. Update the Hot Topics Settings
         1. Toggle the E-Mail to 'On'
         2. Ensure set "Send Every 1 Days"
         3. Select desired format (text or HTML)
         4. Set the item limit to some number larger than 5 (suggest 25)
         5. Set Service Request to "None"
         6. leave "Product Bugs Marked as Favorites" deselected
   6. Add the needed Sun Alert Filter(s) ** Note: To receive all Sun Alerts, use the following filter **
   7. Select  "Add..." (new window will pop up)
         1. Add the Product "Solaris SPARC Operating System"
         2. Add the Platform "GENERIC (All Platforms)"
         3. Check the "Knowledge Articles" box
         4. Check the "Alerts" box
         5. Select "OK" (selection window closes)
   8. Select "Save"
         1. You should be able to see your Hot Topics filter you just set up.
   9. Log out of MOS

Finally, for details on how to script access to resources such as the URIs listed above, check out:

MOS - Using 'wget' to Automate Sun Patch Downloads

I'd like to thank my colleague, Don O'Malley, for researching much of the above. 

I hope you find this helpful.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Tuesday Feb 15, 2011

Using My Oracle Support for Hardware Products

My colleagues in Services are running Best Practice Webinars on knowledge searching and how to find Firmware, Storage updates, and Oracle Solaris patchsets.

The next sessions for patching are this Thursday, Feb 18th, at 9AM MT (U.S. Mountain Time) and 5PM MT.  If you miss these, don't worry, there's more being hosted through to the end of April 2011.  See below.

Log into MOS and see https://support.oracle.com/CSP/main/article?cmd=show&type=NOT&doctype=SYSTEMDOC&id=1282218.1 for details.

Here's the blurb:

Our new seminar series titled "Using My Oracle Support for Hardware Products" covers a variety of topics focused on using My Oracle Support to service your hardware products. The seminar series includes five Advisor Webcast topics for customers using Solaris or Sun Hardware. The topics are repeated throughout the schedule. The schedule  runs from 8 February through 28 April.  To see the schedule and to register for a session, please review Advisor Webcasts: My Oracle Support - Best Practices for Hardware Customers

    \* Best practice on knowledge searching and how to find Firmware, Storage updates, and Oracle Solaris patch sets
    \* Hardware Asset and Automated Service Request (ASR) Management
    \* Automatic Service Request from end to end
    \* Proactive Hardware Service Portal
    \* My Oracle Support - Hardware Service Request

Oracle support experts will be on hand to present these topics and answer questions about best practices in using My Oracle Support for servicing your supported hardware products.

Friday Jan 28, 2011

Resolving 'smpatch' / Update Manager issues

A number of customers have reported issues with 'smpatch' / Update Manager resulting from the recent migration to the My Oracle Support (MOS) infrastructure.

My colleagues BethB, PeterM, and EthanR have published Document 1288579.1 which explains what to do if you are unable to register systems & download patches via sconadm, smpatch, and Update Manager . This document is also accessible via the Oracle Sun OS Community page too.

I apologize most sincerely for any inconvenience caused.

Tuesday Jan 11, 2011

Changes in security policies for the Sun product lines

A colleague of mine kindly forwarded this document detailing the changes and improvements in security policies for Sun product lines as a result of the integration into Oracle.  I hope you find it useful.

Monday Jan 10, 2011

Searching for Oracle Sun patches in My Oracle Support (MOS)

My colleague, Mike Brown, has published this knowledge article which you may wish to bookmark, pointing to frequently accessed Oracle Solaris patch deliverables, including the Recommended patch clusters, quarterly Critical Patch Updates (CPUs), Solaris Update Patch Bundles, patch utilitiy patches, patchdiag.xref, the checksums file, and the LU Zones Starter Patch Bundle.

Also, here's a cut-and-paste of my response to some comments posted regarding finding Oracle Sun patches on My Oracle Support (MOS) which I hope you'll find useful.

To get the Solaris patch clusters and patch bundles, use the "Product or Family (Advanced Search)" option on the "Patches & Updates" tab. Select:

  • Product is Solaris Operating System
  • Release is Solaris 10 Operating System
  • select "Type" instead of "Platform" and Type is "Patchset"

...and it'll return all Solaris 10 patch clusters and patch bundles. This includes the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Clusters, the Solaris Update Patch Bundles, the Solaris OS Critical Patch Updates (CPUs), Live Upgrade (LU) Zones Patch Bundle, etc.

You can add further search filters, e.g. Platform is Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit), to further refine the results.

Using "Platform" is useful to eliminate the double-entries for 32-bit and 64-bit. These dual returns are a pet peeve of mine and I'm continuing to work with the MOS team to get this "fixed" in a future release. They are an historical artifact from Oracle DB platform porting and are not relevant to the Solaris OS.

Note that the alternative option for "Type" is "Patch", which can be used to search for individual patches.

Please note that you can see all revisions of a patch by searching with the format 119254-% . The "-" (dash) is required in the current version of MOS.

You can also search for words included in the Patch Synopsis by using the Description field. For example:

  • Product is Solaris Operating System
  • Release is Solaris 10 Operating System
  • Type is Patch
  • Platform is Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit)
  • Description contains patch utilities

In the example above, the Description option searches for the phrase "patch utilities" in the Synopsis line of patches. This returns the Solaris 10 SPARC patch utility patches.

Since the synopsis line of patches is free format, some guesswork is involved in searching using this method. For example "patch utility" returns nothing. "IP" returns more than just TCP/IP related patches.

Alternatively, you can use "Classification", which can be set to "Security" to return Security patches.

Click on the "Updated" column in the search returns to get these listed from earliest to latest or vice versa.

Firmware updates are also available from My Oracle Support.

  • Click on "Produce or Family (Advanced Search)".
  • Select the hardware product you are interested in.   For example, type "x6" and select, Product is Sun Blade X6440 Server 
    Module.
  • Select the Release(s) you are interested in, e.g. Release is X6440 SW 2.2.0
  • Click Search.

My understanding is that MOS currently limits search results to 100 entries in the current version and again I'm discussing "fixing" this with the MOS team in a later release.

Searches can be edited and saved for re-use at a later date.  MOS also remembers selections you've made in previous sessions which is a useful feature.

A "Classification" of "Other Recommended" rather logically will give other non-security recommended patches included in the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Cluster. (In MOS terminology, "Security" and "Other Recommended" together are equivalent of the old Sun "Recommended" term.) But if you want to know exactly what's in the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Cluster, it's easier to simply look at the patch  list in the Cluster README.

As discussed in the http://blogs.sun.com/patch/entry/solaris_10_recommended_patching_strategy which I published last week, we're really trying to encourage customers to move away from selecting unique patch combinations and to instead use the Solaris OS patch clusters and patch bundles as the core of your patching strategy.

But there is still occasionally the need to search for individual patches to address specific issues.

If you are looking for individual patches to address a specific CR, then use "Patch Name, Number, or Sun CR ID" search option instead of "Product or Family (Advanced Search)". For example, enter Sun CR ID 6927931 and patch 119254-78 is returned which is the patch in which the CR is fixed. A CR which was fixed a long time ago, e.g. 6486471, will return all patch revisions which contain the fix, so you can decide whether you want to take the latest patch revision which fixes it or the earliest.

As I say, I'm continuing to work with the MOS team to enhance the customer experience further, but I hope you find the above tips helpful.

A colleague in MOS has kindly forwarded a link to a tutorial on the PowerView feature in MOS which you may find useful.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Thursday Jan 06, 2011

Solaris 10 Recommended Patching Strategy

Here's a document and a corresponding presentation I've written describing the Oracle Solaris 10 Recommended Patching Strategy. They contain a number of links to resources which I hope you will find useful.

As always, I look forward to your feedback.

BTW: If you have any queries about patching, why not post them on the Oracle Solaris Install, Booting, and Patching Community Forum.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Friday Dec 10, 2010

SunSolve to MOS transition this weekend

The SunSolve front page says it all:

The MSC and SunSolve Will Retire on December 10, 2010

Find out what you need to know about the migration to My Oracle Support.

Stay up-to-date on the latest details about the migration to My Oracle Support. Access the My Oracle Support Welcome Center for transition information, training, significant changes, and Frequently Asked Questions.

The information on the Welcome Center will be updated regularly as the transition approaches, so please be sure to revisit the page often to get the latest updates.

See my previous postings, Oracle Sun patches now available from MOS , and Test site available for SunSolve to MOS transition for details on how to download patches from My Oracle Support (MOS).

Please note that I am not leading this transition and I will be unable to help with issues regarding access entitlement.

If you encounter issues with My Oracle Support, then:

  1. If you can log into MOS, use the "Contact Us" link to file a Service Request
  2. If you can't log into MOS, call Oracle support
I wish you a successful transition.


Thursday Nov 18, 2010

Test site available for SunSolve to MOS transition changes

My SunSolve colleagues tell me that the ability to test sample scripted My Oracle Support (MOS) patch downloads is now available. 

If you use scripted patch downloads, e.g. using 'wget', I highly recommend you take this opportunity to test the necessary changes to the download syntax in advance of the transition from SunSolve to MOS which is currently scheduled for December 10.

The document detailing the 'wget' syntax changes relating to the upcoming transition from SunSolve to MOS, http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=1-79-1199543.1-1, has been updated with the relevant instructions.  I suggest you bookmark that document and return to it regularly for updates.

Friday Oct 15, 2010

Using Live Upgrade in complex environments

One of my senior engineers, Enda O'Connor, has written a document on Patching Solaris using Advanced Live Upgrade Strategies for Zones and Clusters which I hope you will find useful.

Enjoy!

Thursday Oct 14, 2010

Goodbye SunSolve, Helloooo MOS!

As Miriam Brace's recent blog post signals, it's nearly time to say goodbye to SunSolve as the transition to My Oracle Support (MOS) continues.

There's syntax changes for 'wget' users which are detailed on SunSolve and copied on ISP.  This document includes details on how to continue to access the patch metadata files 'patchdiag.xref' and 'checksums'.

As per my previous posting, Oracle Sun patches and patch clusters/bundles are already available from MOS.

Expect to hear more news on the migration, including timelines, in the near future.  SunSolve and Miriam's blog are good sources of up to date information.

Monday Sep 27, 2010

Patching Strategy, Oracle Open World Presentation

Hi Folks,

Here's the presentation on Oracle Solaris Patching Strategy and Best Practices which Bob Netherton and I gave last week at Oracle Open World.

It was really great to meet so many customers.  If you have any patch related questions, please feel free to follow up with me.

Best Wishes,

Gerry Haskins
Director, Software Patch Services, Solaris Systems.

Tuesday Sep 14, 2010

I hope to see you at Oracle Open World

I'll be presenting on the Oracle Solaris Recommended Patch Strategy at Oracle Open World next week:

SESSION SCHEDULE INFORMATION

ID#: S316255
Title: Patching Best Practices for the Oracle Solaris Operating System
Track: Oracle Solaris
Date: 23-SEP-10
Time: 13:30 - 14:30
Venue: Moscone South
Room: Rm 301

I'll be at Oracle Open World Monday, September 20th, Wednesday, September 22nd, and Thursday, September 23rd.

I'd be delighted to meet you there.  If you'd like to meet me to discuss anything to do with patching, please email me at Gerry.Haskins@oracle.com

For those who can't make it to Oracle Open World, I'll post the presentation here after the event.  I'm also happy to talk to you by phone if you'd like to discuss anything about patching.

Best Wishes,

Gerry Haskins 
Director, Software Patch Services, Solaris Systems

Thursday Aug 05, 2010

Updated Customer Patching Presentation (and other stuff)

I've updated my Patching Presentation for customers, see http://blogs.sun.com/patch/entry/patch_presentation_for_customers

I hope you find it useful.

Also, I forgot to blog about an enhancement we made in March 2010 to the Solaris Update Patch Bundles.  The Solaris Update Patch Bundles now add a line to /etc/release when they are installed to make it easier to determine that they've been applied - i.e. that all pre-existing packages on the system have been patched up to the same software level as the corresponding Solaris Update.

On a related note, Oracle 11gR2 requires customers to have Solaris 10 10/08 (Update 6) installed.  From Version 11.2.0.3 it will accept the corresponding Solaris Update Patch Bundle as being sufficient to meet this requirement.  The modification of /etc/release by the Solaris Update Patch Bundle is partially to help support this.

Thursday Jul 29, 2010

Oracle Sun patches now available from My Oracle Support (MOS)

As you may already know, Oracle Sun patches are now available from My Oracle Support (MOS).

We've uploaded over 30,000 6-2 digit PatchIDs to MOS, including all Solaris 8, 9, and 10 patches, SunCluster, and patches for over a thousand other products.  Any patch for these products which was available on SunSolve is now also available from MOS, making MOS your one stop support shop for all Oracle products.

My colleague David F. Campbell has also completed the upload of all patch and firmware update content to MOS from CDS (Content Delivery System, formerly the Sun DownLoad Center (SDLC)).

Any another colleague, Tom Murray, has completed the upload of StorageTek patch content natively to MOS too. Most StorageTek patches are in a mainframe patch format and are not applied using the Solaris 'patchadd' utility.  To host them on SunSolve after the StorageTek acquistion, we wrapped them in a 6-2 digit PatchID.  However, it doesn't make sense to wrap these StorageTek 6-2 digit PatchIDs in Oracle BugDB IDs which would be a second level of indirection.  Therefore, Tom has uploaded them in their native format to MOS.

Customers with an Oracle support contract can log into My Oracle Support.  The full functionality version is Flash based, https://support.oracle.com.   There is also a limited functionality html version, https://supporthtml.oracle.com .

Click on the "Patches & Updates" tab and you'll see that the Patch Search options have been expanded to "Patch Name, Number or Sun CR ID".  As it suggests, you can search by the 6-2 digit PatchID or a Sun CR (Change Request) number (i.e. 7 digit BugID).

Please note that you can see all revisions of a patch by searching with the format 119254-% .  The "-" (dash) is required in the current version of MOS.

To get the Solaris patch clusters and patch bundles, use the "Product or Family (Advanced Search)" option on the "Patches & Updates" tab. Select:

  • Product is Solaris Operating System
  • Release is Solaris 10 Operating System
  • Select "Type" instead of "Platform" and Type is "Patchset"

...and it'll return all Solaris 10 patch clusters and patch bundles. This includes the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Clusters, the Solaris Update Patch Bundles, the Solaris OS Critical Patch Updates (CPUs), Live Upgrade (LU) Zones Patch Bundle, etc.

You can add further search filters, e.g. Platform is Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit), to further refine the results.

Using "Platform" is useful to eliminate the double-entries for 32-bit and 64-bit.  These dual returns are a pet peeve of mine and I'm continuing to work with the MOS team to get this "fixed" in a future release.  They are an historical artifact from Oracle DB platform porting and are not relevant to the Solaris OS.

Note that the alternative option for "Type" is "Patch", which can be used to search for individual patches.

For example:

  • Product is Solaris Operating System
  • Release is Solaris 10 Operating System
  • Type is Patch
  • Platform is Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit)
  • Description contains patch utilities

In the example above, the Description option searches for the phrase "patch utilities" in the Synopsis line of patches. This returns the Solaris 10 SPARC patch utility patches.

Since the synopsis line of patches is free format, some guesswork is involved in searching using this method. For example "patch utility" returns nothing. "IP" returns more than just TCP/IP related patches. "firmware" returns any patch with the word "firmware" in its Synopsis.

Alternatively, you can use "Classification", which can be set to "Security" to return Security patches.

Click on the "Updated" column in the search returns to get these listed from earliest to latest or vice versa.

My understanding is that MOS currently limits search results to 100 entries in the current version and again I'm discussing "fixing" this with the MOS team in a later release.

Searches can be edited and saved for reuse at a later date.

A "Classification" of "Other Recommended" rather logically will give other non-security recommended patches included in the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Cluster. (In MOS terminology, "Security" and "Other Recommended" together are equivalent of the old Sun "Recommended" term.) But if you want to know exactly what's in the Solaris OS Recommended Patch Cluster, it's easier to simply look at the patch list in the Cluster README.

As discussed in the http://blogs.sun.com/patch/entry/solaris_10_recommended_patching_strategy which I published yesterday, we're really trying to encourage customers to move away from selecting unique patch combinations and to instead use the Solaris OS patch clusters and patch bundles as the core of your patching strategy.

If you are looking for individual patches to address a specific CR, then use "Patch Name, Number, or Sun CR ID" search option instead of "Product or Family (Advanced Search)". For example, enter Sun CR ID 6927931 and patch 119254-78 is returned which is the patch in which the CR is fixed. A CR which was fixed a long time ago, e.g. 6486471, will return all patch revisions which contain the fix, so you can decide whether you want to take the latest patch revision which fixes it or the earliest.

For firmware patches:

  • Go to the "Patches & Updates" tab
  • Click on "Produce or Family (Advanced Search)"
  • Select the hardware product in which you are interested.  For example, type "x6" and select, Product is Sun Blade X6440 Server Module.
  • Select the Release(s) you are interested in, e.g. Release is X6440 SW 2.2.0
  • Click Search.

As I say, I'm continuing to work with the MOS team to enhance the customer experience further, but I hope you find the above tips helpful.

 So which Oracle Sun patches are currently available from MOS ?:

  • Over 30,000 Oracle Sun 6-2 digit PatchIDs (i.e. of the format xxxxxx-xx) for over a thousand products and product versions.  This includes all Solaris 8, 9, and 10 patches, SunCluster patches, etc.
  • All the Oracle Sun Patch Clusters and Patch Bundles
  • All the patch and firmware update content previously hosted on CDS (Content Delivery System, formerly the Sun DownLoad Center (SDLC))
  • All StorageTek patches

What's not transitioned to MOS ?:

  • Really, really old patches, such as SunOS 1.x patches, Solaris 7 and older patches, etc.   These are utterly obsolete products so there's no point in propagating this crud forward.
  • Public patches available without a support contract, such as OpenOffice and StarOffice patches.  It is planned to support these in a future MOS release.  In the meantime, they can be downloaded from https://sspatch.oracle.com/showMe.do?page=public
  • Some patch metadata files such as the "Checksum" and "patchdiag.xref" files.  It is planned to support these in a future MOS release.  In the meantime, they can be downloaded from https://support.oracle.com/CSP/main/article=?cmd=show&type=NOT&id=1272947.1

Terminology: You say potato, I say potato, and Dan Quail says "potatoe"

There's an unfortunate patch terminology clash between Oracle and Sun patches which you need to be aware of:

  • The Sun term "obsolete" equates to the Oracle term "superseded" - i.e. a patch which is no longer the latest patch is a sequence.
  • The Sun term "withdrawn" equates to the Oracle term "obsolete" - i.e. a patch withdrawn from release due to problems with it.

Since the term "obsolete" is deeply embedded in SVR4 patching, e.g. the variable name SUNW_OBSOLETE in the pkginfo files, it is not possible for us to change it.  Neither is it likely that Oracle will change their terminology as it's well known in DB and Fusion middleware circles.  Users simply need to be aware of this terminology clash when dealing with Oracle Sun SVR4 based patches.

I hope this doesn't become a hot potato. :)

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Friday Jan 29, 2010

Important new features in latest PatchFinder release

Firstly, please allow me to get something off my chest:

HALLELUJAH!!!

It's been a long wait and we're finally there!

I, for one, am tickled pink.

There's likely be a lot of changes for all of us in the coming months, some good, some maybe controversial to some folk, but I passionately believe that Oracle will bring much needed commercial sense which will ensure that Solaris and Sun-Oracle hardware continues to innovate like hell to provide the solutions you, our customers, need.  So strap yourselves in, the fun is about to begin!

But much more than the red Oracle logo has changed on PatchFinder today.

I want to let you know about two key new features which I believe significantly improve our customers' patch searching experience:

Search for Patches which deliver New Security Fixes 

The PatchFinder "Security Filter" now differentiates between patches which introduce a new security fix (shown by the "NS" symbol in search returns) and patches which simply deliver any security fix, either new or pre-existing (shown by the "S" symbol in search returns). 

Up until now only the latter was available, which made it difficult for customers to differentiate between patch revisions which deliver new security fixes and patch revisions which simply re-deliver old security fixes.

The "New Security Fix" search option under "Security Filter" should typically be used in combination with the "Show Obsolete" option so that you can see all patch revisions delivering new security fixes.  Otherwise you'll just see the subset of patches which are contain both new security fixes and are not obsoleted.

Solaris OS Patches which deliver (or redeliver) security fixes will continue to be added to the "Recommended" Patch Clusters as before, along with OS patches which deliver (or redeliver) Data Corruption or System Availability fixes, the latest patch utility patches, and any other patches required by the above.

Solaris OS Patches which deliver new security fixes will continue to be be added to the Sun Alert Patch Clusters as before, along with OS patches which deliver new Data Corruption or System Availability fixes, the latest patch utility patches, and any other patches required by the above.

But with this New Security Fix option in PatchFinder, you can now find all (6-2 digit PatchID) patches for all products which deliver new security fixes, not just Solaris OS patches.

BTW: This "New Security Fix" feature has actually been in PatchFinder since the last release in December, but this is the first opportunity I've had to blog about it.

Search for patches by the objects they deliver

You can now search for patches by the objects they deliver. 

For example, type "/usr/bin/vi" into the "File Included" search box, filter the search using the other search options if desired ( e.g. select "Solaris 10" under "OS Release" ), and PatchFinder will return the patches which deliver "/usr/bin/vi".  

This is useful if you are having problems with a particular utility or object and want to find if any patches are available for it.  Then reading the CR synopses listed in the README for the appropriate patches returned may help you figure out if the patch is likely to address the problem you are experiencing.

Try searching for "zoneadmd", or "genunix", for example.

Remember, if you enter something like "vi" or "ls" in the "File Included" search box, you'll get all objects which contain those strings in their pathnames, so a well qualified search such as "/usr/bin/vi" or "/usr/bin/ls" may be more useful.

Watch out for symlinks, e.g. on Solaris 10:

$ whence patchadd/usr/sbin/patchadd
/usr/sbin/patchadd
$ ls -l /usr/sbin/patchadd
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          16 May 15  2009 /usr/sbin/patchadd -> ../lib/patch/pdo\*
So on Solaris 10, search for "/usr/lib/patch" rather than "/usr/sbin/patchadd" to find patch utility patches.  FYI, 'pdo' is the preprocessor to 'patchadd' on Solaris 10 and both are contained in /usr/lib/patch.  Alternatively, just search for "patchadd".

I hope you find these new PatchFinder features useful.   A lot of work went in behind the scenes, especially on ensuring the accuracy of the "New Security Fix" flag.  I'd like to thank my colleagues, Brian, Julien, Slim, Mark, Don, and the rest of the team for making these enhancements a reality.  Nice work guys!

About

This blog is to inform customers about patching best practice, feature enhancements, and key issues. The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. The Documents contained within this site may include statements about Oracle's product development plans. Many factors can materially affect these plans and the nature and timing of future product releases. Accordingly, this Information is provided to you solely for information only, is not a commitment to deliver any material code, or functionality, and SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON IN MAKING PURCHASING DECISIONS. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. THIS INFORMATION MAY NOT BE INCORPORATED INTO ANY CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT WITH ORACLE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES. ORACLE SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THIS INFORMATION. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gerry Haskins, Director, Software Lifecycle Engineer

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