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Oracle EBS 12.2 Online Patching – First Glance

Posted on by Brent Lowe

Anyone that’s been following the release of 12.2 knows that Online Patching is the BIG feature that everyone is talking about.  I’ve had the opportunity to utilize this new functionality and it’s been quite interesting.  Online Patching is based on the Oracle Database 11.2 feature called Edition-Based Redefinition.

The patch process has completely changed.  There is now a patch edition and a run edition in the database.  Additionally, the filesystem itself has 2 editions, a patch and run edition (there’s also one other filesystem that is non-editioned).  There are 5 major steps in the patching process.

  1. Prepare – Creates the patch edition.
  2. Apply – Applies the patches to the patch edition
  3. Finalize – Ensures the system is ready for cut over (from patch to run edition)
  4. Cutover – This is where the patch edition becomes the run edition.
  5. Cleanup – Removes unnecessary code from obsolete editions.

Steps 1-3 can be run while users are actively using the system.  All of the patching is done in the patch edition of both the database and file system.  Users essentially have no clue that patching is happening.  Step 4 does require users to be booted off the system as the physical cutover is performed making the patch edition the new run edition, but this time should be nominal as all of the time consuming patching has already occurred in Steps 1-3.  Additionally, the cutover process can be scheduled anytime after steps 1-3.  For example you could take care of Steps 1-3 and then wait a week for an optimal time to run the actual cutover itself.  Step 5 also does not require the system to be down and can be run anytime after the cutover and before the next prepare phase.

One of the features of EBR is the ability to have certain users using the new functionality while other users use the old, non patched functionality.  I was pretty excited about this.  What a great way  to test patches in the wild right?  Give access to some power users to the patch edition and let them have it to really test it out.  Unfortunately, this particular feature of EBR does not seem to be available in the online patching functionality of EBS.  Users are quarantined to the RUN edition only.

This new patching methodology is going to be mean changes for a lot of people.  Both 3rd parties like STR Software that have bolt on products and individual companies that are maintaining customizations will require modifications to their code base to support Online Patching.  I am currently going through the process of determining what those changes are and what they mean to our product and installation/upgrade scripts.  I will likely have more comments on that subject once I’m further along in my investigation!

For now, if you’ve been maintaining and patching previous versions of EBS and you are moving to 12.2, I would highly recommend that you thoroughly read the Oracle EBS Concepts Guide and Oracle EBS Maintenance Guide focusing on the patching and filesystem sections as everything has changed.  It will give you a good primer as to what you are in for!


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