The process of patch ODA is not complicated but requires attention over some steps. The 19.6 version was the first that was possible to patch from 18.8 version, and the version that allows upgrades to newer. If you want to go directly to 19.5 you need to reimage of the appliance. In this post, I will cover the process that I made recently to patch from 18.3 to 19.8 version.
The first part covers the upgrade from 18.3 to 18.8.
The Oracle Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) is the correct way to protect your Oracle database environment (and investment). It covers from a simple single instance to Exadata/Engineered Systems RACand a multi-site database with Data Guard protection. But do you know that to reach the MAA (whatever the architecture level that you are protecting) you need to use ZDLRA?
The question is why ZDLRA is needed? The point from ZDLRA is that it can (and needed to be used) to protect and reach zero RPO to all architectures. ZDLRA is more (much more) than just a backup appliance, is the core of every MAA design. You can’t reach zero RPO without using it.
But also wrote how to startup and configure the replication server in another post. This is the first step and needs to be done before what I will describe in this post, they are the “physical” configuration. Here I will show the “logical” configuration for native ZDLRA replication and how correctly define it to avoid problems.
The replication for ZDLRA operates in several ways, from a single upstream/downstream config to a multiple replication config, but both are done using the same procedure. The process is not complicated but has some details that are needed to be aware to avoid reconstruct (or even loss) replicated data. In this post, I will show the details to create the replication config.
The base about how the replication works for ZDLRA I wrote in this post. And how to configure the replication network config in this other post. This network configuration needs to be done just when you are adding the replication after the ZDLRA has been deployed, if you already deployed with replication enabled it is not needed. The official documentation about replication can be found here.
Is common that our systems grow with time, and the environment that sustains it needs to improve. And the same occurs for ZDLRA. Imagine that now you added a new datacenter and bought a new ZDLRA and want to replicate between them, or that now you want to enable the replication, configuring it.
This is possible and is not complicated to do, and I will show here how to do that. So, in this post, I will show how to configure the replication network for ZDLRA that was already deployed. Basically a post-install procedure.
The replication for ZDRLA works differently than a “normal” for Oracle Database that uses Data Guard (or even Golden Gate). The point is to replicate the ingested backup “as is” between ZDLRA’s and not datafile block replication. And, of course, it is completely different from tape clones.
ZDLRA replication is not just sent backup from one site to another, it is how to increase your protection and be part of the disaster recovery strategy. The replication does not occur just for “rman backups”, but also for archivelogs generated for Real-Time Redo. And adding, this is how you integrate ZDLRA at your MAA architecture that makes the difference and how you protect your environment and reach zero RPO. There are several points about replication, how it operates, modes, and integration for Oracle MAA universe. I will discuss some points here in this post.
The architecture for ZDLRA replication it is simple. There are two important definitions:
Upstream: It is the ZDLRA that receives the backup and forward it to another ZDLRA
Downstream: Is the ZDLRA that receives the backup from another ZDLRA
Oracle Data Guard Broker allows the database administrators to automate some tasks and an easy way to configure properly a lot of features and details for data guard environments. The Fast-Start FailOver (FSFO) allows the broker to automatically failover to standby database in case of failure of the primary. But until 19c the only option is always to trigger the failover. This changed at 19c with a nice new feature that allows us to put FSFO in Observe-Only Mode.
In this post, I will focus just on new features for FSFO like Observer-Only Mode and Health Conditions for it. Lag and other details will not be covered here.
The Observe-Only Mode is a simple change that allows putting the FSFO to just observing/monitoring the DG environment, but in case of failure, it does not change the roles between primary and standby. Simple like that. As the Broker documentation for Observe-Only Mode says:
The observe-only mode enables you to test the impact of using fast-start failover in your configuration, without making any actual changes to the configuration.
The process of patch ZDLRA is not complicated, but it is important to be aware of some details. The most important is from where you are until where you want to go. This is crucial because it will define what commands you will need to execute.
If you read the previous post about the process, you can notice that I was running the ZDLRA 12.2 version, and forwarded to 19.2 version. In that case, I needed to use the upgrade path since I was changing the major release and the racli commands had the “upgrade” parameter.
In this post I will show how to do a simple update (or patch apply) for ZDLRA, this means that I will remain inside the same major release for recovery appliance library. Some steps and checks are the same.
Whatever you need to do (patch or upgrade), the startup point it is the note 1927416.1 that cover the supported versions for ZDLRA. There it is possible to find all the supported versions for the recovery appliance library as well as the Exadata versions. Please, not upgrade the Exadata stack with a version that is not listed on this page.
When you change the parameters for the database is possible to specify the db_unique_name and allow more control where you want to apply/use it. This is very useful to limit the scope, but you need to be aware of some collateral effects. Even not present at the official doc, you can use it. But check here some details that you need to take care of.
The process to patch Exadata stack and software changed in the last years and it became easier. Now, with patchmgr to be used for all (database servers, storage cells, and switches) the process is much easier to control the steps. Here I will show the steps that are involved in this process.
Independent if it is ZDLRA or Exadata, the process for Engineering System is the same. So, this post can be used as a guide for the Exadata patch apply as well. In 2018 I already made a similar process about how to patch/upgrade Exadata to 18c (you can access here) and even made a partial/incomplete post for 12c in 2015.
The process will be very similar and can be done in rolling and non-rolling mode. In the first, the services continue to run and you don’t need to shutdown databases, but will take more time because the patchmgr applies server by server. At the second, you need to shutdown the entire GI and the patch is applied in parallel and will be faster.