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Saturday, January 17, 2009

POC findings: Offline Patching of Previous CPUs and Modifying Reports

We were just going through a POC for Enterprise Manager Grid Control recently in a large client, and had some interesting results I like to share with everyone.

This particular client will not connect the Grid Control management service (OMS) to the internet for security reasons. This means the Refresh from Metalink job has to be run manually.

This has to be done after downloading certain xml files from Metalink (which contain the Patch Analysis metadata ie. which patches are available and what bugs they fix) and uploading these files, as per the following "Grid Automation Deployment Procedures" document on the Oracle OTN website:

After this the patch advisory on the Grid Control Home page rightly suggested that for a home, the patch as well as the October CPU had to be applied. Since the xml files had been downloaded manually from Metalink in December, the October CPU was the latest and therefore recommended to be applied.

The client wanted the earlier July CPU to be recommended instead. They said they rarely apply the latest patch but instead apply the earlier CPU patch. Now, the only way to do this would be to download the xml files from Metalink each month and store them on separate directories somwhere, but only upload the xml files to Grid Control as per the CPU you would like to be recommended by the Patch Advisory. For eg, if you want the Jul CPU to be recommended, then only upload the Jul or August or Sep xmls.

They also wanted a report to show all the patches applied on all their databases, showing each database one by one. The report as suggested was not fully available off-the-shelf in the reporting facility in Grid Control. The closest we come to this, is in this report:

Reports..Oracle Home Patch Advisories..Applied Interim Patches

This shows the patch, bugs fixed, installation time, Host, Home directory and Platform. It doesn’t show the databases, the reason being that the patch is actually at the Oracle Home level and not at the database level. This report may be appropriate for their needs, however if they wish to add in the database name, it is possible to modify the report by creating a copy andthen modifying the Sql statement. Oracle has mgmt$ views from which the info may be extracted.

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