PSU or BP? Patch Set Update or Bundle Patch? RUR or RU?

Well, in my new role as unofficial Junior Product Manager for Patching (just kidding) I get asked once a day (at least!) via email or in customer meetings or workshops: Should we take the PSUs or the BPs? Or RUs or RURs?

Addition: I updated the blog post due to the arrival of the RUs and RURs in Oracle Database are marked in orange.

Should we take the PSUs or the BPs? RURs or RUs?

PSUs are Patch Set Updates, BPs are (sometimes called: Proactive) Bundle Patches.
RUs are Release Upgrades which replace the BPs in Oracle Database, RURs are Release Upgrade Revisions which DON’T replace the PSUs in Oracle Database And this is important – Revisions are different from PSUs.

And the answer is very simple:

  • If you have an Oracle Engineered System: Take the Bundle Patches for Engineered Systems
  • In all other cases:
    • If you are on Oracle Database or newer: Take the Upgrades (RU)
    • If you are on Oracle Database 12.1.0.x: Take the Bundle Patches (BP)
    • If you are on Oracle Database Take the Patch Set Updates (PSU)
    • If you are on a release below Oracle Database Upgrade!

Is there an official recommendation or guideline?

Yes, of course, there’s one. Very well explained in MOS Note: 1962125.1 – Overview of Database Patch Delivery Methods:

Bundle Patch Recommendation

Recommendation for Oracle 12c: Bundle Patches

What else do you need to know?

  1. Q: Is there a difference between “Bundle Patch” and “Proactive Bundle Patch“.
    A: It’s the same thing.
  2. Q: What are RUs and RURs? Do they replace BPs and PSUs?
    A: Please see:
  3. Q: Can I apply Exadata Bundle Patches on non-Exadata Systems in Oracle 11g?
    A: Even though this is technically possible for Linux, there are certain restrictions. This is only supported in a standby configuration where one part is operated on an Exadata. See the FAQ at the end of MOS Note: 1962125.1 – Overview of Database Patch Delivery Methods
  4. Q: Can I flip from PSUs to BPs?
    A: When you approach a release or patch set upgrade (i.e. Oracle Database to Oracle Database, or Oracle Database to Oracle Database you will start from scratch and have the full choice. But in-between a release you’ll have to deinstall at least the sql changes and roll in the new sql changes when you change between PSUs and BPs or vice versa. See my previous blog posts about switching from PSUs to BPs:
  5. Q: Why does Oracle still deliver PSUs in Oracle 12c even though it recommends to use the BPs?
    A: I don’t know. I can just assume that some customers insist to get the PSUs having a smaller number of fixes meaning potentially lower effect on their systems. But personally I totally disagree. When you look up the current issues list for Oracle you will find out that many of the fixes are included in the BPs but not in the PSUs. If it would be my choice, I can perfectly (and better) live without PSUs but only getting BPs instead.
  6. Q: I have issues with the patches’ readme – can you explain it to me?
    A: No. Please log an SR. I get the “readme complaint” from almost every customer I see. And I see all the points and agree in most of them. Still, I’m not the owner of patching nor the owner of the readme’s. Telling it me is good – but telling it Oracle Support via an SR, and force a bug to be logged is the much better solution. Please please please, do log SRs when you are not happy with the patches’ readme, when things are unclear or wrongly carried over or whatever. The readmes get written by humans and they will need your feedback to improve the readmes.


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28 thoughts on “PSU or BP? Patch Set Update or Bundle Patch? RUR or RU?

  1. Hi Mike,

    Appreciate the clarification on this topic. In the latest (non-Windows) BP readme, it was indicated that 12c Bundle Patches are for 12c EE only (confirmed this via a SR). Do you know of any plans to make this available to SE2 in the future?

    • Adam,

      I doubt that this is true. BPs are for EE and SE2 – there shouldn’t be any difference as far as I know. But I’m not the master of patching – so if you have an SR number for me I’ll happily dig into that and blog about it once I know the reason behind such a statement by our support.

      Cheers and sorry for any inconvenience!

          • Hi Mike,

            Have you heard back from the SR engineer regarding this topic? Thanks again for looking into this more.


          • Adam,

            we are still in discussion. I will post a new blog post as soon as we have reached an agreement 😉


    • Yes – if they are not included. You potentially must check/request them via an SR if they haven’t been produced “on top” of your PSU or BP. Or sometimes it’s just required to get the “go” from support when libs get touched which are not part of the PSU/BP.


  2. Hi, Mike,

    I was wondering if 12.2 will release any BP in the next few weeks. We’re planning to migrate our production environment from 11.2 to 12.2, but we’d like to apply at least one bundle patch before going live. I’m a little concerned deploying this with the “very base version” got from OTN.

    After reading your post, I started searching and after digging a lot I found this BP for 12.2.

    However, this BP is not listed anywhere related to recommeded patches, patch advisor, etc. I have just submitted a SR asking for clarification, but I would very glad if you could share some opinion.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Ricardo,

      you saved my day – thanks a lot. I was looking for this BP and couldn’t find it either. Even though I knew that it must have been published this week.
      Let me download and apply it – and then I blog about it.

      And I’ll try to find out why this is treated like a secret.


    • Ricardo,

      it’s the first official BP for – we delayed it on purpose from the usual schedule to include a good number of fixes (which wouldn’t have been the case at the usual date in mid-April). I can only guess the reason for not being in the usual MOS notes in the availability for Linux-only right now. But this is a pure guess.

      Anyway, it is official – and thanks again for your pointer to the correct patch number.


  3. Hi, Mike,

    “De nada!”. That’s very nice… Glad I could help.

    And, thanks a lot for looking for the “officiality” of it.

    Regarding SR I’ve opened they replied that the first “recommended” patchset for 12.2 RDBMS will be released in July 2017 (aka


  4. Hello Mike,

    We are on non-exadata non-rac EE home and ASM GI home. We opened a SR 3-15314417671 to advise on patches on top of database and asm home. As per SR, we should apply PSU instead of Proactive Bundle Patch.

    Even after referencing this blog post and “Oracle Database – Overview of Database Patch Delivery Methods (Doc ID 1962125.1)”, Oracle SR thinks PSU is appropriate.

    As per the docs, it seems we should apply Proactive Bundle Patch, but SR says PSU.

    Any advise is appreciated.


    • Hi MG,

      this is nonsense. And sorry to hear that you’ve got a wrong advice from a support engineer.
      The blog post has a screenshot of THE official MOS Note for patch delivery methods – and it clearly says that 12.1 should use BPs. 🙂
      You may please update the SR with the MOS note – and ask the support engineer to give you detailed reasons why you should use PSUs over BPs even though the official publicly available Oracle statement by Oracle Support and Sustaining Engineering (our group who’s responsible to fix bugs) clearly says “Use Proactive Bundle Patches”.

      Cheers and sorry for the inconvenience!

  5. Pingback: The first RU (Release Update) for Oracle Database is available

  6. Hi Mike,

    Just to notice you that MOS rather change “Recommended Patch Advisor” section if “Release” is 12.1.0.x to provide the result of Bundle Patch rather than PSU. However the “Release” provides the result of RU that’d be correct.

    Thank you,

  7. Pingback: Au revoir Oracle, bonjour Oracle 18! |

  8. Can I be jackass and provide you some feedback?
    For f***s sake, you guys should settle down for once on a naming scheme and start using it across all of your support documents.
    It’s hard as it is to find the proper patches, let alone attempt any automated patching. All we need now is yet more names.

    Thanks for not deleting my comment.

    • Hi JJ,

      I edited just the f-word if you don’t mind 😉
      And it will be way more helpful if you’d direct your complaint via an SR to Support. And if others would do this as well. I personally can’t even edit a MOS note. MOS Notes are owned by Support. I see your points. And I’ll happily hear about it. But believe me, I’m just the messenger 😉


  9. Hi Mike, I really appreciate the advice re PSU vs BP … although it does lead to the question of why the rdbms clones for ODA’s come with the PSU and not the BP? Being engineered systems, I would have expected them to go the bundle patch route? Are you able to comment on this?

    • Randall,

      if you drop me an email ( – name exactly as written on the blog with “mike” and “dietrich” then I’ll happily forward this to the ODA people.
      And btw, with 12.2 they have no choice either as there are no PSUs anymore 🙂 🙂 🙂


  10. Hi Mike,

    This post helps a lot and clarifies many of my doubts .

    Conclusion from your post :

    BP’s replaced by RU’s
    PSU’s are replaced by RUR.

    Then if we are on 12C R2 ,which one you prefer either RUR or RU .


    • Ashok,

      sorry for the confusion – but I had to correct my blog post a bit.

      It is correct to say “BPs get replaced by Upgrades (RUs)” but it’s not correct to say “PSUs get replaced by Revisions (RUR)”.
      Actually there are no PSUs anymore. Revisions always include the Update they are based on. PSUs contained much less fixes making customers always adding a good number of merge and one-off patches.

      You should clearly stay with Updates (RU).


  11. Hi Adam,

    Vulnerability scans at my company showed sometimes show that PSU are missing from our Oracle servers. When discussed with the DBA team, they’ve said that they install Bundle Patch Updates (BPs) instead of PSUs, which is consistent with what I learned in this article.

    1) How frequently are BPs released?
    2) Do the BPs include the same security fixes that the Critical Patch Updates do?
    3) If the BPs do not include the same fixes as the as the CPUs, or if they are included but the BPs are released much later, is it possible to install a CPU on a DB that normally installs BPs?
    4) Unlike with the Oracle Critical Patch Updates, I have not been able to find a public resource with information about the BPs. Does one exist?

    Thanks for any help.

    P.S. Thanks for the blog post. I’m not familiar with the Oracle world so it helped alot

  12. Mike,

    I’m curious whether OEM’s LCM (Life Cycle Management, Fleet Mgt, whatever they are calling it now) uses the recommended patching methods mentioned above or whether that tool does something else?



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