Oracle has announced a new patching strategy for Exadata, starting with databases running 188.8.131.52. Oracle will be moving away from the monthly bundle patch philosophy, which was panned by many administrators as coming too often to keep up with, given the tight schedules held around most Exadata systems. Instead, Oracle will be releasing a Quarterly Database Patch for Exadata, or QDPE. The QDPE will most likely be released in conjunction with the standard critical patch updates (CPUs). Oracle will still release interim bundle patches, but recommends for customers to only install the QDPEs unless they have a specific need to install a bundle patch. Note that so far, the QDPEs are only being released for 184.108.40.206 - Linux x86_64, SPARC Solaris (supercluster), and Solaris x86_64.
In addition to the QDPE release, Oracle has announced a "full stack QDPE" - the Quarterly Full Stack Download Patch, or QFSDP. This "full stack" patch includes all of the latest software that can be found in MOS note #888828.1. The January 2012 QFSDP includes:
- Infrastructure Software
- Exadata Storage Server version 220.127.116.11.2
- Exadata Infiniband Switch version 1.3.3-2
- Exadata PDU firmware version 1.04
- 18.104.22.168 January 2012 QDPE
- Opatch 22.214.171.124.9
- Systems Management
- Patches for 11g OEM agents
- Management plugins for 11g OEM
- Patches for 11g OEM management server
No word on when Oracle will start including patches for the new OEM 12c. Keep in mind that these are just a collection of patches, they all still need to be installed as if they were downloaded separately. Oracle does not yet have a mechanism in place to apply the QDPE, storage server patches, Infiniband switch patches, etc in one swoop.
The current QDPE patch is January 2012 (patch #13513783), and the current DFSDP is January 2012 (patch #13551280).
Oracle has released a critical patch for storage server versions 126.96.36.199.x through 188.8.131.52.1. While 184.108.40.206.1 was released last week, there were a few oneoff patches from 220.127.116.11.0 that didn't seem to make it in to the release. Oracle has since released 18.104.22.168.2 (patch #13513611, supplemental note #1388400.1). Similar to 22.214.171.124.1, this release looks to patch several outstanding issues. Here's the list of bugs fixed from the readme for 126.96.36.199.2:
12764521 INFINIBAND DIAG COMMANDS (LIKE IBDIAGNET AND IBNETDISCOVER) ARE NOT WORKING 13083530 10 GB-E BONDED INTERFACES FAILING- EXADATA 13410353 AFTER UPGRADE TO 188.8.131.52 INFINIBAND CMDS IBDIAGNET, IBNETDISCOVER NOT WORKING 13489032 CHECKHWNFWPROFILE DOES NOT DETECT FAILED FLASH FDOM 13489445 ORA-600 [OSSMISC:OSSMISC_TIMER] WHEN NTPD DETECTED 6 MILLISECOND TIME DIFFERENCE 13512932 FIX INSTALLED WORKAROUND FOR NTP UPDATE BUG 13489445
As you can see, the previously mentioned bugs have been fixed. There's another bug that was fixed in 184.108.40.206.1 that could be an issue for anybody running 220.127.116.11.x through 18.104.22.168.0. This bug (13454147) can remove the flashcache from a cell that has an uptime of 6 months or greater. Fortunately, Oracle has released a patch that includes these critical issues in the event that you can't quickly upgrade to 22.214.171.124.2 - I wouldn't advise running this version for at least a couple weeks...I always advise clients to wait that long for the early adopters to weed out any major issues.
Applying the critical patch only takes a minute, and doesn't take the storage servers or database instances offline. After it's done, a restart of cellsrv needs to be scheduled, but that can be done in a rolling fashion. Read on for an example of applying this patch. As always, do not apply any patch to a production system before appropriately testing against a non-production system!
Over the past few weeks, I've been working on some new (and older) installations of Exadata, and came across a few items that piqued my interest. Each of these things had been on my mind for a while, but it's nice to see them finally resolved.
The first is a small change to the installation tree of the Oracle homes on Exadata. With the release of 126.96.36.199, Oracle created a new "best practice" of performing all patch sets out of place into a new home. While this makes it really easy to roll back a patch, the default naming convention for Oracle homes on Exadata became a bit of a sticky situation. If your 188.8.131.52 Grid Infrastructure home was at /u01/app/11.2.0/grid, where would you put your 184.108.40.206 home when it's ready to come out? This was the topic of more than a few discussions around the Enkitec office. Do you extend the version out another digit to 220.127.116.11, or version the home (/u01/app/11.2.0/grid_18.104.22.168, etc). Well, Oracle has put this discussion to rest....Your new Oracle home directories on Exadata are:
Grid Infrastructure - /u01/app/22.214.171.124/grid Database - /u01/app/oracle/product/126.96.36.199/dbhome_1
read on for another change (it has to do with bundle patches)