Oracle To Grid and Database Upgrade On Exadata

Recently one of our consultant has upgraded grid and oracle database on Oracle Exadata from to He has shared upgrade instructions as per the Oracle best practice and documentation. 

Hope it will help who are planning to upgrade exadata environment.

If proper plan is in place than upgrade activity is not much difficult.

There are five main section for upgrade.

1. Prepare the Existing Environment
2. Install and Upgrade Grid Infrastructure to
3. Install Database Software
4. Upgrade Database to
5. Post-upgrade steps

Now let's see what all are the steps need to perform for each section.

1. Prepare the Existing Environment

Steps need to be performed in this sections are:
  • Planning 
  • Review Database Upgrade Prerequisites
  • Download and distribution of the required Files
  • Application of required patches
  • Run Exachk
  • Validate Readiness for Oracle Clusterware upgrade
  • Execute and verify output of cluster verification utility and act if anything need to be done

2. Install and Upgrade Grid Infrastructure to

This will perform grid installation and upgrade it to The Grid Infrastructure upgrade is performed in a RAC rolling fashion, this procedure does not require downtime.

Data Guard

If there is a standby database, then run these commands on the standby system separately to upgrade the standby system Grid Infrastructure. The standby Grid Infrastructure upgrade can be performed in parallel with the primary if desired. 

However, the Grid Infrastructure home always needs to be on later or equal level than the Database home. Therefore upgrading Grid Infrastructure home needs to be done before a database upgrade can be performed.

Steps need to be performed in this sections are:
  • Install MGMTDB or not
  • Validate hugepage configuration for new ASM SGA requirements
  • Create a snapshot based backup of the database server partitions
  • Create the new GI_HOME directory where will be installed
  • Prepare installation software
  • Perform Grid Infrastructure software installation and upgrade using OUI
  • Apply latest Bundle Patch contents to Grid Infrastructure Home using 'opatch napply' (when available)
  • Change Custom Scripts and environment variables to Reference the Grid Home

3. Install Database Software

This section will install Oracle RDBMS software in new Oracle Home. This section only installs Database software into a new directory, this does not affect currently running databases, hence all the steps below can be done without downtime.

Data Guard 
  • If there is a separate system running a standby database and that system already has Grid Infrastructure upgraded to, then run these steps on the standby system separately to install the Database software.  The steps in this section can be performed in any of the following ways:
  • Install Database software on the primary system first then the standby system.
  • Install Database software on the standby system first then the primary system.
  • Install Database software on both the primary and standby systems simultaneously.

Steps need to be performed in this sections are:
  • Prepare Installation Software
  • Perform Database Software Installation with OUI
  • Update OPatch in the new Grid Infrastructure home and New Database Home on All Database Servers
  • When available: Install Latest Bundle Patch available for your operating system - Do Not Perform Post-Installation Steps
  • When available: Apply Bundle Patch Overlay Patches as Specified in Document 888828.1
  • When available: Apply Customer-specific One-Off Patches

4. Upgrade Database to

The commands in this section will perform the database upgrade to

For Data Guard configurations, unless otherwise indicated, run these steps only on the primary database.

Steps need to be performed in this sections are:
  • Backing up the database and creating a Guaranteed Restore Point
  • Analyze the Database to Upgrade with the Pre-Upgrade Information Tool (if not done earlier)
  • Data Guard only - Synchronize Standby and Switch to
  • Data Guard only - Disable Fast-Start Failover and Data Guard Broker
  • Before starting the Database Upgrade Assistant (DBUA) stop and disable all services with PRECONNECT as option for 'TAF Policy specification'
  • Upgrade the Database with Database Upgrade Assistant
  • Review and perform steps in Oracle Upgrade Guide, 'Post-Upgrade Tasks for Oracle Database'
  • Change Custom Scripts and Environment variables to Reference the Database Home
  • Add Underscore Initialization Parameters back that were removed earlier
  • When available: run Bundle Patch Post-Installation Steps
  • Data Guard only - Enable Fast-Start Failover and Data Guard Broker
  • Delete Guaranteed Restore Point created before the upgrade

The database will be inaccessible to users and applications during the upgrade (DBUA) steps. Course estimate of actual application downtime is 30-90 minutes but required downtime may depend on factors such as the amount of PL/SQL that needs recompilation. 

Note that it is not a requirement all databases are upgraded to the latest release. It is possible to have multiple releases of Oracle Database Homes running on the same system. The benefit of having multiple Oracle Homes is that multiple releases of different databases can run. 

The disadvantage is that more planned maintenance is required in terms of patching. Older database releases may lapse out of the regular patching life cycle policy in time. Having multiple Oracle homes on the same node requires more disk space.

5. Post-upgrade Steps

Steps need to be performed in this sections are:
  • Remove Guaranteed Restore Point if still exists
  • DBFS only - Perform DBFS Required Updates
  • Run Exachk and validate the exacheck report
  • Verify nproc setting (CRS_LIMIT_NPROC) for Grid Infrastructure
  • Deinstall the,, or Database and Grid Homes
  • Re-configure RMAN Media Management Library
  • Restore settings for concurrent statistics gathering

It is always better to read updated Oracle Doc ID to make smooth upgrade in timely manner.

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