Oracle database patching is one of the major processes/actions if you are a DBA/System Admin handling huge oracle database platform…patching is a must to protect your organizations data as serious security vulnerabilities will be fixed/mitigated with these patches. Oracle releases quarterly patches (every 3 months) and they are called RU (release updates) and they are cumulative patches. So, if you “miss”one the next one will contain fixes from previous patches. And recently Oracle release MRP’s (Monthly Recommended Patches) on top of your base RU for fixing operational bugs that you might face afterwards.
For Non-DBA readers the process of patching takes two phases:
Phase 1: Patching the database on binary level
Phase 2: Patching the database it-self from SQL level
Of course there are pre-requisite steps such as downloading the patch itself, downloading the latest OPatch utility (java based utility)…I have blogged many times about “patching process”and you can check my old posts about this topic:
The new thing I want to shed-light about in this blog/article is the datapatch parameters (really useful) that most technical analysts are not aware of….since by default and based on standard procedure in “Phase 2” we run the following datapatch command while the database is up and running:
Instead run the help command:
And there is a long list of parameters with their explanation….one parameter that is really helpful and interesting is sanity_checks
It will report to you if your database environment is ready for SQL patching or not….this is great to know in advance before any maintenance window you are planning to patch your database system in.
A long list of output will be generated and displayed and will report to you warning messages …for example in my sandbox environment PDB2 pluggable database is in “mount”state :
Interesting part also, it will check third party security products that are used as for multiple purposes such as DAM (database activity monitoring) and VA (Vulnerability Assessment Scans) and they are IBM Guardium and Imperva