Important Changes to Oracle Database Patch Sets Starting With 11.2.0.2

Applies to:

Oracle Server - Enterprise Edition - Version: 11.2.0.2 and later   [Release: 11.2 and later ]
Oracle Server - Standard Edition - Version: 11.2.0.2 and later    [Release: 11.2 and later]
Oracle Server - Personal Edition - Version: 11.2.0.2 and later    [Release: 11.2 and later]
Information in this document applies to any platform.

What is being announced?

Important Changes to Oracle Database Patch Sets Starting With 11.2.0.2

What has changed?


Packaging: Starting with the first patch set for Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (11.2.0.2), Oracle Database patch sets are full installations of the Oracle Database software. In past releases, Oracle Database patch sets consisted of a set of files that replaced files in an existing Oracle home. Beginning with Oracle Database 11g Release 2, patch sets are full installations that replace existing installations.

Because Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and later patch sets are a full installation, Oracle patch sets are now released as several installation bundles, just as are the base releases:
  • Oracle Database Server
  • Oracle Grid Infrastructure
  • Oracle Database Client
  • Companion/examples
  • Oracle Gateways

Simplified new installation: Because the release 11.2.0.2 patch set is a full installation package, if you are installing Oracle Database on a system without an existing Oracle Database installation, then you can simply install the release 11.2.0.2 patch set. You are no longer required to install the base release, and then apply the patch set.

Upgrade process:
Beginning with the release 11.2.0.2 patch set, you have two ways to apply a patch set:

  • Out-of-place upgrade – This is Oracle's recommended way to apply a patch set. You install the patch set into a new, separate Oracle home location. After you install the patch upgrade, you then migrate the Oracle Database from the older Oracle home. The patch set upgrade is now the same process to upgrade from one version to another. Oracle recommends that you perform an out-of-place patch set upgrade, because this patch set application option requires much less downtime, and is safer because it does not require patching an ORACLE_HOME that is already being used in production. However, you must ensure that you have sufficient free disk space to accommodate two Oracle home directories at the same time.
  • In-place upgrade – You install the patch set into an existing Oracle home location. Oracle recommends that you select this option only if you do not have sufficient free disk space to perform an out-of-place upgrade, as the upgrade removes the existing Oracle installation. This patch option requires less disk space, but requires more time, and is riskier, because if you encounter an installation failure, then you must recover the entire existing Oracle home from a backup. If you choose this more risky option, then before you begin the patch installation, complete the following tasks:
    • Make a complete backup of your existing Oracle home
    • Read through the entire Upgrade Guide section dealing with in-place upgrades


Note: All Oracle Grid Infrastructure patch set upgrades must be out-of-place upgrades, in which you install the patch set into a new Grid home. In-place patch set upgrades are not supported.


Direct upgrade from previous releases:
You can upgrade from a previous Oracle Database release directly to the latest patch set, without having to install the base release. For example, if you want to upgrade from Oracle Database 10g Release 2, or Oracle Database 11g Release 1, then you can upgrade directly to Oracle Database 11g Release 2, patch set 2 (11.2.0.2) using an out-of-place upgrade. Oracle now supports direct upgrades to the release 11.2.0.2 patch set from any release where direct upgrade to the base release (11.2.0.1) is supported, as well as direct upgrades from 11.2.0.1 to 11.2.0.2.

New Features Available in Patch Sets

In addition to the usual set of fixes, the release 11.2.0.2 patch set contains a small number of features that complete the Database 11g Release 2 feature set. The new features fall into the following five categories:
  • General improvements
  • Oracle Automatic Storage Management Cluster File System (ACFS) improvements
  • Quality of Service Management
  • Database Replay
  • Management

How to Obtain the Patch Set

As with all previous patch sets, the release 11.2.0.2 patch set is available for download from the Patches tab on My Oracle Support.

Important Changes to Note:

  1. Disk space requirement: Because the out-of-place upgrade requires the installation of a new Oracle home, you must have enough free disk space to accommodate the new Oracle home, as well as disk space needed for temporary files during installation.
  2. ORACLE_HOME location change: When using the out-of-place upgrade path, the location of your Oracle home is different after you complete the upgrade. You must change any direct references to the old location of your Oracle home (such as in /etc/oratab or in tnsnames.ora) to the new location, and update user environment variables for the Oracle home.
  3. In-place upgrade process differs from previous patch set installation processes: Even though it seems similar, the in-place upgrade process for the release 11.2.0.2 patch set differs from previous patch set installation procedures. It is very important to read the entire in-place upgrade process before you begin to install the release 11.2.0.2 patch set, because the preinstallation steps are different.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is this really a patch set?

A. Yes – This patch set still consists primarily of incremental bug fixes to the base release (11.2.0.1) but with different packaging. While new features are included in 11.2.0.2, the number of new features is very small, and is included to complete the 11.2 feature set.

Q. Why did Oracle make this change?

A. In response to customer feedback, Oracle is making this change for several reasons:
  • Out-of-place upgrade has been a best practice of many customers for patch set application for years. Out-of-place upgrades reduce downtime, because you can complete the initial installation and configuration of the upgrade before you take down the existing installation. Out-of-place patch upgrades are easier, safer, and provide faster fallback if needed: If you encounter issues with the new installation, then simply point clients back to the original Oracle Database installation Oracle home, and restart the database.
  • Out-of-place upgrades allow customers running multiple instances out of one Oracle home to upgrade each instance individually rather than having to upgrade all instances sharing an Oracle home at the same time (and incur downtime on them all simultaneously).
  • Full installations provide a better customer experience during the upgrade. By creating a full installation package that uses the same installation process as a base release (as opposed to a differential install of the changes objects), Oracle is able to use the same tools to build and test the patch set installation as Oracle uses with the base release. Improved testing enables a smoother, more trouble-free upgrade process that uses significantly less down time.
  • Full installations provide an easier upgrade for customers moving to release 11.2.0.2 from releases earlier than Oracle Database 11g release 2. Instead of having to install the base release, and then applying a patch release, you can now upgrade to the latest release in one step.
Q. Is this new packaging unique to the 11.2.0.2 patch set, or will Oracle follow this model for future patch sets?

A. This will be the new model going forward. Oracle will release patch set release 11.2.0.3 and later patch sets as full installation packages. Direct out-of-place upgrade is the Oracle best practices recommendation for patch set upgrades.

Q. There are many new features in 11.2.0.2. Are patch sets not just for bug fixes?

A. Oracle intends to maintain the focus of patch sets as a fix delivery vehicle. Oracle has included a very small number of new features in past patch sets. In this case, after the release of Oracle Database 11g release 2 (11.2.0.1), Oracle completed development of a small number of features that are closely related to the 11.2 release, and Oracle is including these features so that you can use them now, rather than wait for their inclusion in next major release.

Reference Note: Important Changes to Oracle Database Patch Sets Starting With 11.2.0.2 [ID 1189783.1]

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