How To: Manage your Oracle patch deployment life cycle using Oracle Support Patch Plans

Introduction

 

As part of my writing I often try to document and share best practices I develop on my day to day work, this one relates to formalizing the patch deployment process for your oracle environments. This approach is developed for organizations that have formal release cycles and have established procedures to take patches through test life cycles that; at a minimum, begin in a develop environment, followed by integration testing in a QA and culminate when patches are promoted to production.

I will try to keep this post brief so, at a high level, I have found that the best way to manage patches is to use the Oracle support portal patch & upgrades functionality to create a patch plan for each environment in the life cycle for either each major release or at least each quarter. This process is always initiated by the need to apply a patch so whenever no patches are necessary during a release or quarter no patch plans are created.

The two main benefits of this approach is (1) that it brings transparency into which patches have been approved for each environment, (2) it is a straight forward process that does not carry a lot of overhead. The way patches make it to a patch plan is when a project manager requests a patch to be applied or promoted to each environment in your life cycle, this in turn is monitored using standard project management mechanisms such as issue, task and test management.

 

Implementation

Creating your first patch plan is very simple, just take your first requested patch through the process outlined below.

 

  1. Login to http://support.oracle.com
  2. Click on the Patches & Updates tab
  3. Locate the appropriate version of your patch by specifying a patch number and operating system on the patch search interface

    Locate the appropriate version of your patch by specifying a patch number and operating system on the patch search interface

  4. Locate your patch on the search results screen and click on Add to Plan > Add to new …

    Locate your patch on the search results screen and click on Add to Plan > Add to new ...

  5. Locate the a valid target application server or host name using the search box
  6. Provide a patch plan name using your company’s naming standard and click create plan

    An example naming convention I have used in the past, this particular one allows system administrators to sort by date and to manage patch plans by product:

    – – – approved patches

    Provide a patch plan name using your company's naming standard and click create plan

  7. To add any additional requested patches to your plan go back to Patches & Updatesand select your plan from the Plans list and click on the Add Patch… button.

Having this patching plan makes it easy to manage patch deployment through your environments. As for the actual deployment of each patch, I am a command line geek and like the ability to make sure that each individual patch deployment works correctly by running OPatch for each individual package.

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Reference:

As part of my writing I often try to document and share best practices I develop on my day to day work, this one relates to formalizing the patch deployment process for your oracle environments …

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