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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle version control tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonFebruary 4, 2015


Proper version control is essential for all information systems and mainframe database management have used version control for decades.  In the CODASYL Network database IDMS, change control was built-in to the data dictionary.  All fields (columns) were versioned, and all records (tables) could be stored with specific version numbers.

Today, the scope of version control has expanded, partly due to Oracle extension of the base data management functions to include working code (PL/SQL stored procedures and functions).


Oracle version control is an industry best practice


In a real-world production database, change control and version control are an absolute necessity, especially for dynamic databases where the data structures are continuously changing.


BC has Oracle Certified Professionals who can develop customized version control procedures for any mission-critical database.


Unfortunately, Oracle 11g does not yet provide integrated version control for objects (tables, indexes, columns, &c), but there are 3rd party consultants who have proprietary tools that you can use to implement a certifiable change control procedure for Oracle.


What can Oracle version control do for me?


Besides the obvious necessity of ensuring that all database objects are in-sync for each production release, implementing version control for database objects allow the DBA to perform temporal database management, restoring the schema to a specific point in time.  The DBA can also use version control to perform reverse engineering and auditing.


What Oracle components need version control?


There are many areas of Oracle databases that require version control, an absolute necessity for any production shop that makes changes to their schema and applications:


  • Database objects - All schema objects including indexes, columns and tables.

  • Process code - All PL/SQL stored procedures and functions.

  • Procedural language code - All Apex applications, Pro*Cobol, Pro*C and other pre-compiled languages should be under the check-in, check-out of a version control system.

  • External entities - All Oracle parameter files (init.ora, sqlnet.ora, protocol.ora, listener.ora) and all scheduling crontab files should be under version control.  Also, all server files (/etc/passwd) might have version control.

Before exploring 3rd party version control solutions, let's take a look at the Oracle vendor solution.


The Oracle Change Management Pack


Oracle offers an extra cost change management pack (CMP) to compete with 3rd party offerings, but it's critical to note that CPM IS NOT integrated into the Oracle data dictionary.


Oracle claims that their CMP allow the DBA to "evaluate, plan, and implement database schema changes. Using the Change Management Pack, administrators can investigate and track changes, compare and synchronize objects and schemas, modify schema objects, evaluate the change impact, and if required undo changes that have been made previously.".


However, because of the loosely-coupled integration and more mature strap-on version control packages, many Oracle shops choose less expensive version control solutions.





A review of Oracle change control tools


There are a variety of third-party Oracle change control and version control tools

  • Open source tools such as SCCS (Source Code Control System) for Oracle.  This is superseded by the Gnu CSSC version control software.

  • Oracle's SQL Developer also has an interface for third-party change control and version control.

  • Merant PVCS (Serena) version control for Oracle

  • Mercury ITG ( Formally Kintana) for Oracle revision, change control and Oracle version control.

If you like Oracle tuning, you might enjoy my book "Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference", with 950 pages of tuning tips and scripts. 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 30%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts.



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