Eye on Oracle

Jan 30 2008   8:45AM GMT

DBAs react to Oracle CPU blog

Derek Kuhr Derek Kuhr Profile: Derek Kuhr

In a recent blog post, I looked at some new survey results and asked if database administrators (DBAs) really care about installing the latest Oracle patches in a timely fashion. Here are a couple of the more interesting responses:

“My employers or customers have regularly installed the patches since the practice began, so here’s one vote in the minority,” wrote a commentator named Dave. “What the survey fails to specify is whether or not the respondents had responsibility for managing the patches. Yes, I haven’t done the patches for years – but also yes, someone else has done them.”

Meanwhile, Ravi Krish had an interesting approach to patching:

“In my last job as DBA for a huge IT consulting multinational I was leading a half yearly CPU patch application project for all the clients. We used to apply if not regularly at least half yearly the CPU patches. Quarterly is a bit too frequent and requires way too much time and effort considering there were hundreds of databases on multiple clients,” Krish wrote. “In my current job for a government agency, there has not been a single CPU applied. I’m proposing to apply one now and in future look forward to applying as they are released. There are only about 5-6 databases here and it’s not too time consuming to apply for about 5 databases every quarter.”

Thanks for writing in, folks.

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  • MAlam
    We are on Oracle on Windows 2000 server. Our Database is in Archive Mode, Our Backup is RMAN level 0 and 1, and cold backup once in every week. We would like to have standard Backup Strategy documentation, can any one suggest or provide sample documentation about it. How often should we take the backup, for how long should we keep the backups(cold, archive, control, incremental etc). we use the backup tapes to move the backup thru NT backup system. Thanks in advance
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  • Brian Fedorko
    MAlam, It sounds like the big foundation elements are in place, but you're asking a question that only you and you company can answer. The first question when engineering a Backup & Recovery system is "How quickly do we NEED to be operational again?". Of course, we all WANT our data & computing resources back RIGHT NOW, but do you *need* to? Once you have your critical functions identified and MTTR need, you can develop scenarios and mitigation plans. You have to factor in the most likely need for recovery, to the worst case scenario, and tier the recovery times depending on what resources will be involved (Hardware, alt location, tapes, backups on disk). Then meet the needs with the budget you can get or the resources you already have. Techtarget has some outstanding whitepapers on Disaster Recovery planning and strategy - It will take much in the way of creativity and teaming to accomplish what you're looking for, but when (not if) it comes time to use it, it is well worth the effort. As for the quarterly patches, anyone who works with the DoD in any capacity is extremely familiar with the Oracle CPU process. With no profit margins to gain (from avoiding IA), and extremely sensitive information to lose, the DoD spends the money to ensure a proactive Information Assurance posture. When you know that Oracle CPUs are not only beneficial, but a mandated install, you develop a plan and the soft & hard infrastructure to mitigate downtime. Luckily, unlike the willy-nilly timing of Microsoft patches, Oracle makes planning testing and implementation of their patches EASY. They have schedules patch releases 2 years out, like clockwork. Depending on your budget & tolerance for downtime, you can optimize your databases before applying the CPU to minimize downtime, or you can shuffle Oracle Homes on the same box, or Stream to a standby server, or a host of other options. Given the ease of exploiting many of the vulnerabilities patched, it seems well worth the time to plan for this activity and engineer it into your Data Management System.
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