6 months after the 19.6, the first 19c production release, here comes the 19.9 Oracle Database Appliance patch with major improvements.
Will my ODA supports this 19.9 patch?
First, the 19.9 release will be the same for all ODAs, as usual. Like 19.6, the oldest ODA compatible with this release will be the X5-2. Don’t expect to install 19c on older models. X4-2 is stuck to 18.8, X3-2 is stuck to 18.5 and V1 is stuck to 12.2. If you are still using these models, please consider an upgrade to X8-2 and 19c to go back to supported hardware and software.
What are the new features?
For sure, 19.9 includes all the latest patches for all database homes, including for those versions no more supported with Premier Support (provided patches are the very latest from the 20th of October, 2020).
It’s not a new feature, but odacli now support Data Guard since 19.8. Expect 19.9 to be more reliable regarding this feature. This was a great improvement over previous versions.
The most important new feature is dedicated for those willing to use virtualization. The OLVM/KVM stack has now replaced OVM/Xen. It means the implicit death of oakcli and the end of having to manage 2 appliance tools for ODA, odacli finally becoming the main and only tool for appliance management, associated with the GUI if you need it. This OLVM/KVM virtualization stack comes for sure with hard partitioning for you ODAs, useful if you have Enterprise Edition licenses: the cores not enabled for databases are available for running application VMs. And now it also works with ODA X8-2S and X8-2M: virtualization was always limited to HA ODAs before. This can be a game changer as ODA lite, especially X8-2M, has plenty of resources for other purposes than databases.
If you plan to use virtualization, you do not have to deploy a specific ISO image for virtualized mode anymore. All ODAs will now be deployed as Bare Metal, and virtualization is running on top of this Bare Metal deployment. Your databases will continue to run on Bare Metal, having the advantages of both previous solutions (fully virtualized or Bare Metal without any VM).
What is also interesting is the ability to dedicate additional Bare Metal CPU pools to other DBhomes for better database isolation. For example, you can imagine to have a 2-core pool for test databases and a 4-core pool for production databases. CPU pools are also available in the VM CPU pools flavour, here for dedicating cores to group of VMs on your ODA.
Finally, the SE-HA high availability feature for SE2 (the one that replaced RAC removed from the SE recently) seems to be included as well with odacli.
Still able to run older databases with 19.9?
Yes, 19.9 will let you run all versions of database starting from 188.8.131.52. However, it’s highly recommended to migrate to 19c, as it’s the only version with long term support available now. Deploying 19.9 and planning to migrate your databases in the next months is definitely a brilliant idea. With ODA you can easily migrate your databases with odacli move-database: this move to another home running 19c will update your database to 19c accordingly.
Is is possible to upgrade to 19.6 from my current release?
You will need to already run 19.x release, starting from 19.5, to apply this patch. If your ODA is running on 18.8, you will have to patch to 19.6 prior applying 19.9. If your ODA is running on 18.7 or older 18.x release, an upgrade to 18.8 will be needed before patching to 19.6. If you are using older versions, it’s highly recommended to do a reimaging of your ODA. It will be easier than applying 3+ patches. And you’ll benefit from a brand new and clean ODA. Patching is still a lot of work, and if you didn’t patch regularly, it could be tough to bring your ODA to the latest version. Reimaging is a lot of work too, but it’s success guaranteed.
If you are using a virtualized ODA with OVM/Xen, you will not be able to patch. A complete reimaging is needed. But it’s worth it.
19.9 is a major release for customers using ODAs. Apart from maturity of databases including 19c, you will benefit from virtualization even for lite ODA models. And virtualization keeping Bare Metal databases is a great solution.