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Simultaneous Bulk Upgrades

Author: Rakesh Nagdev | | October 25, 2018

Digital Marketing Company Streamlines Oracle Database Bulk Upgrades


One of our digital marketing clients uses a large number of databases to support its operations. When it came time to upgrade their Oracle 12c databases, they needed the process completed in an efficient manner that minimized downtime. The databases were on Linux and Solaris platforms, with the Linux databases using a cluster configuration and the Solaris databases set up as a single instance. Any upgrade scripts needed to accommodate these two technologies. Datavail helped this company achieve their upgrade goals through a standardized process.

1. Client type

Digital Marketing

2. Their problem

The challenge was to perform bulk upgrades (20 dbs) in an 8-hour window, as the application must have the same version of databases to support the latest application release. While Oracle offers Oracle Cloud Control for bulk upgrading, this tool was a poor fit for the company’s needs. The company would have needed a license for Provisioning and Patch Automation Pack for Oracle Database, which was not cost-effective. The network is not stable during the maintenance window, and that solution could not adjust to this challenge.

3.  What Datavail did to fix the client problem.

We evaluated various upgrade paths for bulk db upgrades. OEM seemed to be more promising to perform bulk upgrades from the GUI based interface. However, in our case, we’d have network maintenance during the same maintenance window, so we can’t rely on the network between the OEM and target hosts. We brainstormed and came up with a scripted approach where we had developed a set of shell scripts that perform the following tasks:

  • Upgrade prerequisites
  • Pre-upgrade tasks
  • Perform the upgrade
  • Post-upgrade tasks
  • Post-upgrade verifications

This approach helped us perform multiple database upgrades at the same time. The process consisted of running the shell scripts in the correct order. Each shell script had the step number in the name. It doesn’t rely on the network and gets executed in the background.

This process was very well standardized and documented. It just takes a few minutes for a new DBA to get familiar with and perform the upgrades. This improvement also helped us speed up the overall upgrade process.

4. The results

The best thing about this approach is:

  • You can submit upgrades of multiple databases in parallel, which speeds up the process by 300%.
  • It’s highly standardized so it just takes a few minutes for a new DBA to get familiar with it. One DBA can handle multiple upgrades at the same time, which increased productivity by 200%.
  • It reduced downtime by 75%.
  • It’s less error-prone as no manual intervention is required.
  • The detailed logs are stored in a separate directory for each database.
  • The detailed consolidated upgrades status report is now sent after all upgrades get completed, which minimizes manual effort associated with log checking.

Oracle 12c database upgrades can be a challenging task, especially when an organization needs to minimize downtime. Datavail’s database administration experience made it possible for the company to have a standardized, fast database upgrade process in place that’s easy for their current and future DBAs to use. The OEM tool is not always the best choice for bulk database upgrades, especially when you have a lot of other things going on during the maintenance window.

A Helping Hand

Have more upgrades than you can handle? Datavail can step in and help you get up to speed. Learn about our Database Upgrade Services now.

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