Database upgrades can be unnecessarily complicated.
Everything looks easier on paper but the reality can be much more complex when you actually dive into the upgrade.
Oracle database upgrades are a major component of ennVee's Managed DBA services offering. After guiding many clients through the upgrade process we developed an approach that reduces the complexity and duration of the project. The approach is divided into three phases with specific tasks and deliverables. Here's how it works.
How it works
Phase 1 — Assessment
1.1 — Identify the current state and take inventory of the current Oracle Database environment.
1.2 — Capture all necessary information:
- Current version, edition, and architecture.
- Advanced technologies in use such as Oracle Grid and Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Automatic Storage Management, ASM, etc.
- Platform, hardware, virtualization, operating system, storage, etc.
- The current Backup process and tools being utilized, Disaster Recovery, DR, and solution (if one exists).
- Review options and additional features that are enabled and in use, and all dependent systems on the current Oracle Database.
- Whether the latest quarterly Oracle Security patches are applied.
1.3 — Discuss project expectations with the client to make sure each party is on the same page. These expectations include:
- Upgrade and migration effort
- Project timeframe
- Foreseen road blocks
- All related parties that will be affected by the project.
- Pain points with the current Oracle Database, on-going issues, etc.
Phase 1 Deliverable:
- A detailed document based on the information gathered about the client's environment.
Phase 2 — Planning
The future state is identified during the Planning phase.
2.1 — Confirm certification and support from Oracle Support and other product vendors that are dependent on the database upgrade.
2.2 — Identify and customize the upgrade path based on specific criteria to ensure it is certified and supported by Oracle. This also includes applying the latest available security patches released by Oracle.
- Client-specific requirements
- Platform migration or upgrade
- Operating System (OS)
- Environment architecture
2.3 — Work with the client to build the project plan.
- Make sure to include multiple iterations, client testing, and adhere to any client-specific requirements.
- Frame each identified iteration with making available to be the latest Production data and a production-like environment. You should also include any pain points and on-going issues with the current Oracle Database.
Phase 2 Deliverable:
- Project Plan
Phase 3 — Execution
The final phase involves executing the actual database upgrade or migration. Execution is documented for each iteration.
3.1 — Build technical documentation using the project plan deliverable from the Planning phase.
- The initial iteration starts with the lower level, non-production environment.
- The initial iteration includes all steps pre, during, and post, including any client-specific post steps, and collaborating with the client to address and resolve any issues identified during testing.
3.2 — Perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT) on a Production-like environment with the same production architecture configuration. This will give the best estimate to compare and plan for the production upgrade.
3.3 — Build a detailed production upgrade plan that builds in the following tasks for:
- Backup points
- Status calls and decisions
- Applicable, production-only tasks like configuration of backups, monitoring, etc.
3.4 — Review the production upgrade plan at multiple levels before clearing it for execution. This should include a review of the technical document.
3.5 — Track the execution of the production upgrade as it occurs with regular updates and communication.
3.6 — Declare the upgraded Oracle database successful after validation and acceptance.
3.7 — Provide post-upgrade support to facilitate a smooth cutover to the upgraded Oracle database.
3.8 — Complete post-go-live tasks like shutting down and retiring obsolete databases and systems.
3.9 — Conduct a final project review to close out the successful Oracle database upgrade.
Phase 3 Deliverables:
- Technical Documentation
- Production Upgrade Plan
- Successful Database upgrade or platform migration