Patch Conflicts Analysis Understanding Types of Patches in Oracle Database

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In this article, we will discuss the process of analyzing patch conflicts in Oracle Database. When working with production or test databases, it is common to encounter various issues and bugs that require patching. However, it is crucial to ensure that the patches being applied do not conflict with existing patches or bug fixes. Failing to perform a conflict check can result in lost time and the need to postpone patching activities.

To perform an effective conflict check, we will utilize the MOS Conflict Checker, as well as manual and automated methods. This topic is often confusing, so we will provide a step-by-step guide to understanding and resolving patch conflicts.

Key Points:

  1. Understanding Patch Sets and Patch Set Updates:
  2. Patch Sets: Patches that provide bug fixes for specific issues in the database.
  3. Patch Set Updates (PSU): Released quarterly by Oracle, these updates include both bug fixes and security patches.
  4. Bundle Patches: Similar to PSU, but specific to Exadata systems.
  5. Critical Patch Updates (CPU): Previously known as PSU, these updates are highly recommended for improved security.

  6. Interim Patches and Merged Patches:

  7. Interim Patches: Small patches that fix individual bugs or security issues.
  8. Merged Patches: Bundling two or more patches together to create a single patch.

  9. The Importance of Conflict Checks:

  10. Performing a conflict check prior to patching prevents issues during the patching window.
  11. Without a conflict check, scheduled changes may need to be postponed.

  12. Tools for Patching:

  13. OPatch: The primary tool for patching activities in Oracle Database.
  14. OPatch can be used for conflict checks, listing inventory, and applying or rolling back patches.

  15. Patch Installation Phases:

  16. Prerequisites (Conflict Check): Thoroughly check for conflicts using the MOS Conflict Checker, manual methods, or automation.
  17. Backup: Ensure a backup of all relevant files and libraries.
  18. System Update and Relinking: Update the system to the required version and perform relinking if necessary.
  19. Inventory Update: The patch will update the local and central inventories.
  20. Verification: Verify successful patch installation and functionality.

  21. Patch Set Update (PSU) vs. Security Patch Update (SPU):

  22. PSU can be applied on top of base releases or earlier PSU updates.
  23. SPU can only be applied on the base level or on top of a PSU update.
  24. Oracle strongly recommends using PSU and has replaced SPU with PSU starting from Oracle 12.1.

By following this comprehensive guide, you will gain a clear understanding of the different types of patches and the process of analyzing patch conflicts in Oracle Database. Remember to always use the latest patches and perform thorough conflict checks before applying any patches.