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Don Burleson Blog 







How to do a fast upgrade of Oracle

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonApril 16, 2015


Question by Ben Pruzinski:  I am looking for a method that would minimize server downtime while performing a database upgrade from Oracle 9i to Oracle 10g. We cannot use Data Guard due to licensing costs. Which is better method to use, Streams for Oracle9i or advanced replication for minimal downtime during upgrades?

Answer By Steve Karam: Doing a fast upgrade is in fact very easy and here are complete notes on minimizing downtime for Oracle release upgrades. Once upgraded, see these important upgrade notes:

If you are staying on the same server, you can upgrade from 9i to 10g with about 5 minutes of downtime.

To do this, you will be using transportable tablespaces. The only requirement is that all your tablespaces are locally managed. The idea is simple.

1) Install Oracle 10g to a separate Oracle Home on the same server
2) Create a 10g database with only the base tablespaces: SYSTEM, SYSAUX, UNDO, and TEMP
3) On the 9i database, put all your tablespaces into read only mode (write downtime begins)
4) Perform a transportable tablespace export of all non-system tablespaces (as a sysdba user)
5) Shut down the 9i database (true downtime begins)
6) Start up the 10g database
7) Perform a transportable tablespace import into the 10g database (end true downtime)
8) Make all your tablespaces read/write (end write downtime)

This works from 9i to 10g because 10g datafiles are version aware. When you do the transportable tablespace export from 9i, all you are doing is dumping the datafile metadata to a dump file. When you import it to 10g, all you are doing is plugging in where to find the datafiles. Oracle 10g looks at the datafile headers, realizes that they're 9i, and changes the header to be 10g. Since the 10g database already has SYSTEM, SYSAUX, UNDO, and TEMP, there's no downtime doing pesky data dictionary upgrades.

If you pre-script it all out, you can do all this with only about 5 minutes of downtime!

By the way, Dataguard's physical backups are a GREAT DR situation for a failed upgrade. You will have an exact physical copy of your database ready to switchover to if anything goes wrong with the upgrade. Basically you switch your final archive log and shut down your primary, then begin the standard upgrade. If something goes wrong, you can perform a failover on your standby server and you're back up with no possibility of inconsistencies since it's a physical backup. In my opinion, the only method better than DataGuard for a backup for upgrade scenario would be to use SAN tools like NetApp's snapMirror or Sun's Availability Suite in order to back it up; these tools can snapshot a DB in a matter of seconds and are good for this sort of situation: if the upgrade goes wrong, simply restore the snapshot.

If you do it right, you can set up dataguard with only 5 minutes of downtime, then perform your database upgrade with only 5 minutes of downtime. I have done this method for clients in the past and they have been very happy with the results.

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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