OEM 12c – How patched are you?

It is a common mistake for many people to get their OEM 12c environment up and running, and then neglect to keep it patched up. All the while they will be cursing at how many error messages and bugs they hit day after day. This article explains the various OEM components which you’re going to want to think about patching every couple of months to get the most out of OEM.

Consider the various components –

Major release. This is the difference between 12.1.0.3, 12.1.0.4 etc. 12.1.0.4 is the latest version and brings with it a fair improvement to performance as well as quite a few nice features for cloud management and general look and feel. Upgrading from 12.1.0.3 to 12.1.0.4 is an out-of-place upgrade and you can chose both 1-system and 2-system approaches for completing the upgrade. The process is actually covered in another blog here.

Check your current version by navigating to the USER > “About enterprise manager” link at the top of the OEM console.

Major management agent software version. The agents which you have throughout your estate monitoring your servers have a version too. Here I’m reviewing the version of my various agents via a screen available in Setup > Manage Cloud Control > Agents.

The version of the agent is somewhat tied to the version of OEM that you’re using. As you saw, I’m on OEM 12.1.0.4 which means I also had to deploy the 12.1.0.4 agent software to the OEM server itself. I also had the option of deploying it out to my other servers, and you can see in the screenshot above that I haven’t chosen to do this yet (the version still shows as 12.1.0.3 on the other 3 servers). Deploying the latest agent software once OEM is upgraded is extremely straight forward though, and something you should do ASAP after the OEM upgrade.

Navigate to this screen to check that your agents are running the same version as your OMS, and deploy the correct version if necessary.

Plugins. The majority of the agent plugins are updated via the Self Update feature of OEM. You can check the current versions against the latest available in the Plugins screen available via Setup > Extensibility > Plugins.

If you want to de-clutter the list, you can select View > Plug-ins > Only Deployed to limit the list of plug-ins to the ones you’re actively using. If there are any updates required, you can download them via Self Update and deploy them via the Plugins page.

OEM will bring it to your attention if any updates are required by a bright blue icon –

Bundle Patches. The final piece of the puzzle, and really worth keeping on top of. There are two excellent MOS articles (view the relevant one depending on whether you’re on 12.1.0.3 and 12.1.0.4) –

Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 Bundle Patch Master Note (Doc ID 1572022.1)
Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.4.0 (PS3) Master Bundle Patch List (Doc ID 1900943.1)

Lets take 12.1.0.4 as the example as that is what I’m running. The latest bundle patches include –

System Patch 12.1.0.4.1. Applied via the Patch Management part of OEM (I’ll probably blog this separately but it is a really excellent way for deploying both OEM and Non-OEM plugins that would otherwise be manual opatch commands). It is arguably an unnecessary complication for single-host database patches, but it is a crucial time-saver for OEM agent patches which you’ll be rolling out across your entire estate. The system patch includes the OMS side of the plugin updates I’m about to mention, but not the agent-side updates (it at least makes half of your job here easier).

Management Agent 12.1.0.4.1. An actual agent software bundle patch – roll out to all of your agents via OEM. It’ll handle all of the blackouts for you, and will even update OPatch for you if necessary!

Oracle Database plugin 12.1.0.6.1 – another bundle patch for the agent and OMS (OMS part is handled via the system patch if you apply that).

Fusion Middleware plugin 12.1.0.6.1 – same deal as the database plugin.

You get the picture hopefully – the MOS article walks you through exactly what patches you need, and they can be applied via the OEM patch management which takes care of everything for you.

Summary

Much as Oracle are obviously trying to make the patch process for OEM easier, there are still quite a few different methods for updating the various components. I’d like to see it all in Self-Update eventually, but for now checking these individual areas works OK.

– Release Upgrade
– Management agent software
– Plugin updates
– Bundle patches
– OPatch (don’t forget this – each home, ie Middleware, Agent has it’s own copy)

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