It is the time of year to apply critical patches. This time round we have some databases at version 19c. We tend to install a new oracle home for each patch, as we find this helps us manage the migration. It also reduces downtime, especially if you have not yet taken advantage of pluggable databases as we haven’t.

Oracle Installer

I notice from the documentation that there is an applyRU parameter that can be passed to the installer to apply the patch. The documentation is quite poor though because it doesn’t specify what should be passed after that. Even more annoying is that if the patch attempt fails, it will leave the home in an intermediate state and it will have to be deleted and recreated.

After much trial and error with a combo patch I discovered the following procedure works:

  • Unzip the installer zip file into the new ORACLE_HOME.
  • Upgrade OPatch by unzipping the patch into the ORACLE_HOME.
  • Unzip the combo patch somewhere convenient. I chose $ORACLE_HOME/patch.

The combo patch contains two patch directories, database roll-up and Java. It seems they need to be applied as follows:

Make sure ORACLE_HOME is unset. I prefer to log out and in again and don’t set an environment, I like to make sure LD_LIBRARY_PATH and PATH don’t contain anything under an oracle home in case it causes problems.

cd /my/new/oracle/home
./runInstaller -applyRU patch/32126828/32218454 -applyOneOffs patch/32126828/32067171

The applyRU parameter specifies the database release update patch, and applyOneOff specifies the java patch. This is also a release update, but only one release update can be specified in the applyRU parameter. Any number of applyOneOff patches can be supplied, they are comma delimited.

It takes a few minutes to run each patch in, but it does work! Then the installer window appears. I picked the following options:

  1. Set up software only
  2. Single instance database installation
  3. Enterprise Edition
  4. Oracle base: I chose /oracle
  5. dba group for all groups apart from osoper which was left blank.
  6. Left automatically run configuration scripts unticked.
  7. Ticked Ignore all on the prequisite checks (We have a smaller swap than Oracle would like but we have masses of RAM.
  8. On the summary page I chose to save the response file.
  9. I ran the when instructed.
  10. The registration was successful! I clicked close.

More Automation

Armed with the response file generated above, I can use the following to run the installer in silent mode using the response file I generated above:

cd /my/new/oracle/home
./runInstaller -silent -responseFile /path/to/my/db.rsp \
     -applyRU patch/32126828/32218454 \
	 -applyOneOffs patch/32126828/32067171

We still need to run afterwards, as prompted by the standard output. Note that the behaviour is slightly different because dbhome, oraenv and coraenv are copied to /usr/local/bin, where if it is run interactively and the defaults taken these files are not copied to /usr/local/bin.

Switching Options with chopt

Once the home is installed, I make a habit of switching off cost options we haven’t licensed to prevent accidental usage. Some Oracle scripts check and use the options if they are switched on, so I think it is worth doing. We don’t use any options, so we do:

chopt disable oaa
chopt disable olap
chopt disable paritioning
chopt disable rat

It is general good practice to check whether something needs doing before doing it, especially when using languages like Ansible. Looking at the Makefile called by the chopt script I can see that it manges the libknlopt.a file. This is an archive file, which is kind of like a zip file, but it is controlled using the Unix ar command to list, add and remove files from the archive. ar commands are similar to tar commands, so t lists the contents of the archive.

cd $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/lib
ar t libknlopt.a

The options supported by chopt end up with the following objects being included in the archive:

  • dmwdm.o Oracle Advanced Analytics is on.
  • dmndm.o Oracle Advanced Analytics is off.
  • xsyeolap.o Oracle OLAP is on.
  • xsnoolap.o Oracle OLAP is off.
  • kkpoban.o Oracle Partitioning is on.
  • ksnkkpo.o Oracle Partitioning is off.
  • kecwr.o Oracle Real Application Testing is on.
  • kecnr.o Oracle Real Application Testing is off.

There are other options in here such as RAC which is set during installation (kecwr.o is on, kecnr.o is off) and unified auditing which is controlled by another script (kzaiang.o is on, kzanang.o is off)

Armed with this information we can tell Ansible whether it needs to switch options on or off.