A Technique for Performing Cross-host Upgrades to FMW 11gR1

The main tool used for the upgrade of iAS 10g mid-tier (data not stored in 10g meta-data repository schemas) environments to Fusion Middleware (FMW) 11gR1 is the FMW Upgrade Assistant (UA). This tool performs what we call an out-of-place upgrade which in a nutshell means the following:


  • Upgrade is performed by pointing the UA to a 10g source topology as well as an 11g destination topology.

  • The destination topology must be created, using the standard FMW 11g installation and configuration process, prior to the execution of the UA.

  • The UA carries over all of the required changes from the source environment to the destination.

This approach has a number of advantages rooted in the fact that the source environment - which is presumably working well and serving its needs - is not disturbed during the upgrade process as the UA only performs read-only operations on it. The UA today can only perform such out-of-place upgrades when the source and destination topologies reside on the same machine. This can sometimes be an issue when the host on which the iAS 10g environment is installed is running at full capacity and installing new hardware for the purpose of the upgrade (in most cases what would be needed is extra memory) is completely infeasible. In such cases, upgrade across a different host is still possible by using the following technique:


  1. Backup your source environment and restore it on to a target machine. The backup and restore procedures for the iAS 10.1.2 components are described within this section of the release's Administration Guide. As described in the docs, the Oracle Application Server Backup and Recovery Tool provides capabilities for backing up the installation on one machine and restoring it on another which is exactly what you want to do for the purpose of cross host upgrade.

  2. Ensure that the restored environment on your target host is fully functional.

  3. Go through the upgrade steps on the target machine to perform the out-of-place upgrade using the UA.

Although this process does add another big step to the overall upgrade process, it does make it possible to perform a cross-host upgrade to 11gR1 when necessary. The easiest approach would of course be to find a way of ensuring that the required hardware capacity for upgrade is available on the original 10g host. Using techniques such as scheduling the upgrade at low traffic times and/or temporarily stopping other processes running on the machine to clear up some memory might provide you the sufficient memory needed to perform the out-of-place upgrade and save you the need for using the backup/restore technique I have described in this post.

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About

Reza Shafii is the product manager for the Java Cloud Service component of the Oracle Public Cloud. Prior to his work at Oracle, Reza was a consultant within the BEA Systems Consulting practice. Reza is the author of various published technical articles as well as the book Oracle Fusion Middleware Architecture and Management, published by McGraw Hill.

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