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Oracle relational database management: Multiple Oracle homes

Oracle relational database management and troublshooting can be complicated. This tip offers one best practice from Oracle expert Arup Nanda.

IT Reseller Takeaway: Oracle's relational databases management and troubleshooting can be challenging. With Oracle...

Database 11g out, it will be worthwhile to fill your tool box with best practices that you can offer to your customers. In this tip, 13-year Oracle veteran and DBA of the year winner, Arup Nanda, boils down his experience into pragmatic advice.

Multiple Oracle Homes

My favorite best practice is the one about multiple Oracle Homes. Here it how it goes. When applying a patch or a patchset, I recommend against applying to the existing Oracle Home. Instead, I suggest creating a new Oracle Home, and apply the patches there.

I create the first Oracle Home at /app/oracle/db_1, for instance. When a patch comes out, I install the whole Oracle software in a different home -- /app/oracle/db_2 -- and then apply the patch there. During the process of installation and patch application, the database is up and running, as it runs off the home /db_1. When the outage window comes, all I have to do is to shut down Oracle; change Oracle Home to db_2 and bring the database up. If there is a problem, I can reset the Oracle Home back to the old one.

So, here is the conventional approach:

  1. Shut down the database
  2. Apply patch to the Oracle Home
  3. Start the database
  4. In case of problems:
  5. Shut down the database
  6. Roll back the patch
  7. Start the database

Read more best practices from Arup Nanda at


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