10 Oracle Database Patching Best Practices

Oracle Database patching can be a daunting task, but following these best practices can help make the process go more smoothly.

Oracle Database patching is an important part of database maintenance and security. It is essential to keep your Oracle Database up-to-date with the latest patches and security updates. However, patching can be a complex and time-consuming process.

In this article, we will discuss 10 best practices for Oracle Database patching. We will cover topics such as patching strategy, patching process, patching tools, and patching automation. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your Oracle Database is secure and up-to-date.

1. Understand the patching process

Patching is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. It’s important to understand the patching process in order to ensure that patches are applied correctly, without causing any disruption or downtime.

The Oracle database patching process involves downloading the patch from My Oracle Support (MOS), applying the patch, testing it, and then rolling back if necessary. The patch must be tested thoroughly before being rolled out into production, as this will help minimize the risk of unexpected issues. Additionally, it’s important to have a backup plan in place in case something goes wrong during the patching process.

2. Perform a dry run of your patching plan

A dry run allows you to test the patching process without actually applying any changes. This gives you an opportunity to identify and address any potential issues before they become a problem. It also helps ensure that your patching plan is complete and accurate, so you can be confident that it will work as expected when you do apply the patches.

Finally, performing a dry run of your patching plan allows you to practice the steps involved in the patching process, which can help reduce the risk of errors or mistakes during the actual patching process.

3. Back up your database and file system before applying patches

When you apply a patch, it can cause unexpected changes to your database and file system. If something goes wrong during the patching process, having a backup will allow you to quickly restore your system to its pre-patch state. This is especially important if you are applying a major patch or upgrade that could have significant impacts on your system.

Backing up your database and file system before patching also allows you to easily roll back any changes made by the patch in case of an issue. Having a backup ensures that you won’t lose any data due to a failed patch.

4. Use OPatch to apply Oracle Database patches

OPatch is Oracle’s patching utility, and it provides a secure way to apply patches. It also helps ensure that the correct versions of files are updated, and that any conflicts between different versions of files are resolved. Additionally, OPatch can be used to roll back patches if necessary, which makes it easier to undo mistakes or revert to an earlier version of the database. Finally, OPatch can help automate the process of applying patches, making it faster and more efficient.

5. Apply one-off patches first, then CPU patches

One-off patches are specific to a particular issue, and they don’t contain any other fixes. This means that if you apply them first, you can be sure that the patch is addressing the exact problem you’re trying to solve. CPU patches, on the other hand, contain multiple bug fixes, so it’s important to make sure that the one-off patch isn’t already included in the CPU patch before applying it.

By following this best practice, you can ensure that your Oracle database is patched correctly and efficiently.

6. Check for conflicts between patches

When you apply a patch to an Oracle database, it can potentially conflict with other patches that have already been applied. This could cause the system to become unstable or even crash. To avoid this, always check for conflicts between patches before applying them.

You can do this by using Oracle’s Patch Conflict Checker tool. This will compare the current version of your database against the new patch and identify any potential conflicts. Once identified, you can then decide whether or not to proceed with the patching process.

7. Run catpatch.sql after applying patches

Catpatch.sql is a script that checks the Oracle database for any inconsistencies or errors after applying patches. It’s important to run this script because it can help identify and fix any issues before they become major problems. Additionally, running catpatch.sql helps ensure that all of the components in your Oracle database are up-to-date and functioning properly. This will save you time and money in the long run by preventing costly downtime due to patching errors.

8. Verify that all components are patched correctly

When patching an Oracle database, it’s important to ensure that all components are patched correctly. This includes the database server, application server, and any other related components. If one component is not properly patched, then the entire system could be vulnerable to security threats or performance issues.

To verify that all components have been patched correctly, you should use a tool such as Oracle Database Patch Verification Tool (DBPVT). DBPVT will scan your environment for any missing patches and alert you if there are any discrepancies. Additionally, you can also use automated scripts to check for any inconsistencies in the patching process.

9. Keep track of applied patches

When patching an Oracle database, it’s important to know which patches have already been applied. This is because applying the same patch twice can cause conflicts and errors in the system. Keeping track of applied patches also helps you identify any potential issues that may arise from a particular patch.

To keep track of applied patches, use a patch log or spreadsheet. This should include information such as the patch number, date applied, version, and description. Additionally, make sure to document any changes made to the database after the patch was applied. This will help you troubleshoot any problems that may occur in the future.

10. Automate the patching process

Automating the patching process helps to ensure that all of your databases are patched in a timely manner, and it also reduces the risk of human error.

Automation can be achieved by using Oracle’s Enterprise Manager Cloud Control (EMCC) or other third-party tools such as Redgate SQL Automation Pack. These tools allow you to schedule patching jobs, monitor their progress, and even roll back any changes if necessary.

Additionally, automating the patching process allows for more efficient use of resources since manual patching requires significant time and effort from DBAs. By automating the process, DBAs can focus on more important tasks instead of spending hours manually patching each database.


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