Fast… Faster… Fastest DB Upgrades

Did you notice that maintenance windows are getting shorter?

Five years ago, when I still managed the apps team, DBAs could shut down the database for maintenance for an entire day. Three years ago four hours window every month were acceptable. Now we are down to two hours.

Upgrading a DB to the latest version was always time consuming. Just the installation can easily take an hour. Then there is the catalog upgrade, and recompiling. Apply few patches and your maintenance window is far over. And that is when everything went according to plan.

So, here is our latest take on fast upgrades:

  1. Install the new version of Oracle Software on a new server, with patches and all. Don’t create a DB.
  2. During maintenance window – stop the old DB.
  3. Use Netapp’s SnapMirror technology to copy all the DB files (data, redo, archive, control) to the new server. Make sure it “looks” exactly like it did in the old server – same mount names.
  4. Copy spfile to new server.
  5. startup upgrade
  6. run catalog upgrade
  7.  Restart DB
  8. Recompile
  9. Start Listener

We did all this in less than an hour, with catalog upgrade taking about 30 minutes.


4 Comments on “Fast… Faster… Fastest DB Upgrades”

  1. moshez says:


    I guess this is why — the state of the art keeps getting better, and thus it is demanded…Hopefully in the future people will be able to upgrade DBs with no down time at all. DBAs’ work will get harder, but the users’ lives will get better — and the DBAs are paid 🙂

  2. Virag Sharma says:

    Just an idea , we can install software any time before maintenance windows start.

  3. prodlife says:

    Hi Virag,

    Of course, this is exactly what we are doing. Step #1 of the process is done whenever we want.

  4. Sergey11g says:

    There are DataPump Transportable Tablespaces feature, so update can be even faster.

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