PSU or BP? Patch Set Update or Bundle Patch?

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?

Should we take the PSUs or the BPs ?

PSUs are Patch Set Updates, BPs are (sometimes called: Proactive) Bundle Patches.

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 12.1.0.x or newer: Take the Bundle Patches
    • If you are on Oracle Database 11.2.0.4: Take the Patch Set Updates
    • If you are on a release below Oracle Database 11.2.0.4: 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: 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
  3. Q: Can I flip from PSUs to BPs?
    A: When you approach a release or patch set upgrade (i.e. Oracle Database 11.2.0.3 to Oracle Database 12.1.0.2, or Oracle Database 12.1.0.1 to Oracle Database 12.1.0.2) 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: https://mikedietrichde.com/2016/05/03/can-i-apply-a-bp-on-top-of-a-psu-or-vice-versa/
  4. 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 12.1.0.2 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.
  5. 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.

–Mike

12 thoughts on “PSU or BP? Patch Set Update or Bundle Patch?

  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!
      Mike

          • Hi Mike,

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

            -Adam

          • Adam,

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

            Cheers
            Mike

    • 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.

      Cheers
      Mike

  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.
    Patch 25793908: DATABASE PROACTIVE BUNDLE PATCH 12.2.0.1.170516

    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.

      Obrigado!!!
      Mike

    • Ricardo,

      it’s the first official BP for 12.2.0.1 – 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.

      Cheers
      Mike

  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 12.2.0.1.170718).

    Regards.

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