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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Oracle Application Patch Basics

Application Patch:

One of the most important and time-consuming aspects of an Oracle Applications DBA’s job is applying patches to the E-Business Suite.

Patches may be required to resolve problems with the application code, to fix production issues, to install new features, or to upgrade components of the technology stack.

Types of Application Patches:

There are several different types of Oracle Applications patches. Below discussed are the more common patches:
  • Standalone/One-off patch: This is the simplest type of patch. It is created to resolve a specific bug.
  • Minipack patch: This is a collection of one-off patches and enhancements related to a particular module. Alphabetic characters denote the Minipack version for the module; for example, the product code for the Application DBA utilities is AD, and version Minipack I of this product would be called AD.I.
  • Family Pack patch: This is a collection of Minipack patches for a particular family group of application modules. Alphabetic characters denote the Family Pack version; for example, the J version of the Human Resources Suite Product Family would be HR_PF.J.
  • Maintenance Pack patch: This is a collection of Family Packs that serves as a point-level release upgrade; Oracle Applications Release 11.5.10 is an example of a Maintenance Pack.

There are also other special types of patches:
  • Consolidated patch: This is a collection of one-off fixes for a Family Pack or Maintenance Pack; Oracle Applications 11.5.10 Consolidated Update2 (CU2) is an example of a consolidated patch.
  • Interoperability patch: This is a patch that is required for Oracle Applications to function with a newer version of a technology stack component; for example, you would apply an interoperability patch when upgrading the database to version 10g.
  • NLS patch: This is a patch that updates language-specific information for multi-language installations.
  • Rollup patch: This is a collection of one-off patches that update code levels for particular products.
  • Legislative patch: This is a special patch for HR Payroll customers; it contains legislative data for multiple countries.

Oracle Apps Patch drivers are broadly classified in to two categories split driver and unified driver.

  1.  Split Driver – means patch actions are divided by function i.e.
  • cXX.drv – Copy Driver to change product files
  • dXX.drv – Database Driver to change Database Objects
  •  gXX.drv – Generate Driver to generate new forms, messages, graphics
    2. Unified Driver – contains all three functions (copy, database & generate) into single driver
  •  uXX.drv – Contains all three functions Copy, Database and Generate.

Copy Driver:  For split patch, You must run copy driver (cXX.drv) on all APPL_TOP containing one or more files being replaced by patch. If confused or not sure which files are being replaced by patch then its good idea to apply c driver on all tier i.e. Web, Forms, Concurrent Manager, Administration Server.

Database Driver: For split patch, You must run database driver (dXX.drv) on Administration (Admin) Node. (This is usually same as Concurrent Manager Node). To find where is your Admin Node run sql

SQL> select node_name, support_admin from apps.fnd_nodes;

Generate Driver: For split patch, You must run generate driver (gXX.drv) on all APPL_TOP containing one or more files generated by patch. If confused or not sure then its good idea to apply g driver on all tier i.e.  Web, Forms, Concurrent amd Administration Server.

Unified Driver: For unified patch (uXX.drv) , run it on all tier containing APPL_TOP i.e.  Web, Forms, Concurrent Manager and Administration Server.

If you are using shared APPL_TOP/Application Tier then run split patch (c,d,g) or unified patch (u) from any one node.

If you are confused about any driver file (to apply or not) then run all driver on all nodes and AutoPatch (adpatch) will determine appropriate action based on tier (forms, web, concurrent manager) and ignore steps not required on that tier.

Order of application for split driver (c,d,g)

This patch contains one or more driver files to be applied with AutoPatch. Please apply the driver files in the following order (if they exist):
  1. c011111.drv (This is the copy driver) 
  2. d011111.drv (This is the database driver)  
  3. g011111.drv (This is the generate driver)

The process of applying the patch generally involves the following logical steps:
  1. Download and unbundle the patch.
  2. Identify patch drivers required for the patch.
  3. Place the instance in maintenance mode.
  4. Use the AD Patch utility to apply patch driver files.
  5. Perform any manual steps that may be required.

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