Infrastructure at your Service

Introduction

It’s been 1 year now that 19c is available on-premise. Finally, 19c is now available today on ODA too, in a real production release. Let’s have a glance of what’s inside.

Is 19.6 available for my old ODA?

The 19.6 release, like most recent releases, is the same for all ODAs. But oldest ODAs will not support it. First-gen ODA (now 8 years old), X3-2 (7yo) and X4-2 (6yo) won’t support this very latest version. X4-2 just get stuck to 18.8 as this 19.6 release and later ones will not be compatible on that hardware. All other ODAs between X5-2 and X8-2 in S/M/L/HA flavours are OK to run this release.

What is the benefit of 19.6 over 18.8?

You need 19.x ODA release to be able to run 19c databases. Why do you need 19c over 18c database? Or why not waiting for 20c database? Because 19c is the long-term release of Oracle database, meaning that you will have standard support until 2023, and extended support until 2026. Both 11gR2 and 12cR1 need extended support today, 12cR2’s standard support will end this year with no extended support available and 18c’s standard support will end next year with no extended support available. Because they are short-term releases. Patching to 19.6 makes sense, definitely.

Am I able to run older databases with 19.6?

Yes for sure! Oracle has always been conservative on ODA, letting users running quite old databases on modern hardware. 19.6 supports 19c databases, as well as 18c, 12cR2, 12cR1 and 11gR2 databases. But you’ll need extended support if you’re still using 12cR1 and 11gR2 databases.

Does 19.6 makes my 19c migration easier?

Yes, definitely. ODA benefits from a nice odacli update-database feature for a while now, and this is now replaced by odacli move-database. By moving a database to a new home you can upgrade it to a new version without using another tool.

What are the main changes over 18.8?

If you were using older version, it will not be a big difference but ODA 19.6 is provided with Linux 7 instead of Linux 6. This is the main reason we had to wait all this time to get this new version. This Linux is more modern, more secure and surely more capable on newest servers.

Is is possible to upgrade to 19.6 from my current release?

If your ODA is already running on latest 18.8, it’s OK for a patch. If you’re still using older 18c releases, like 18.3, 18.5 or 18.7 you will need to upgrade to 18.8 before. Please take a look at my blog post.

If you’re coming from an older version, like 12.2 or 12.1, it will be a long journey to update to 19.6. Just because you’ll have to prior upgrade to 18.3 then 18.8 and finally to 19.6. 3 or more patches to apply is quite a big amount of work and you may encounter more problems than applying fewer patches.

But remember, I already advised to always consider reimaging as a different way of patching. So don’t hesitate to start from scratch, and make a complete refresh, especially if you’re still running these old versions.

What about coming from 19.5?

I hope you’re not running this version, because you cannot upgrade to 19.6. Applying 19.6 needs a complete reimaging.

Is it complex to patch?

Patching is not complex, the operations to apply the patch are limited compared to what you should have done on a classic server. But preparing the patch and do the debugging if something goes wrong is complex. If you never patched an ODA before, it could be challenging. This is even more challenging because of the major OS upgrade to Linux 7. And documentation is showing the way when you read this part “Recovering from a Failed Operating System Upgrade”. If your ODA system has been tuned these past years, it will clearly be tough to patch. Once again, consider reimaging before going straight to the patch. Reimaging is always successful if everything has been backed up before.

What’s new for Standard Edition 2 users?

As you may know, RAC is no longuer provided in 19c SE2 edition, but you now have a free High Availability feature in this version that brings automatic failover to the other node in case of failure. A kind of RAC One Node feature, assuming you’re using HA ODA’s, so one of these four: X5-2, X6-2HA, X7-2HA and X8-2HA.

Conclusion

19c was missing on ODA, and that was quite annoying because how to recommand this platform if 19c is not available in 2020? Now we need to deploy this 19.6 on new ODAs and reimage or patch existing ODAs to see if this release meets all our (high) expectations. Stay tuned for first feedbacks from me.

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Jérôme Dubar
Jérôme Dubar

Consultant