Oracle Database RU and RUR Recommendations and Facts

Oracle Database RU and RUR Recommendations and FactsWell … another post about RU and RUR patches. But after having multiple discussions personally, via web conferences, in conference calls and of course on Twitter I think some clarifications may be helpful. Below you’ll find Oracle Database RU and RUR recommendations and facts. At least some of them …

Oracle Database RU and RUR Recommendations and Facts

First of all, you will find more information in several blog posts about RU (Release Update) and RUR (Release Update Revision) patches:

In addition to these posts I’d like to clarify some interesting facts.

Five Facts

Fact 1 – There MAY be two RURs –

In Differences between PSU / BP and RU / RUR I mentioned already that RURs usually will get released every quarter. USUALLY and QUARTER are the important words regarding RURs.RURs contain the previous RU plus new security fixes and maybe some important regression fixes in addition. They MAY be released every quarter.

Example RUR containing the previous RU plus ONLY NEW security and regression fixes in addition

Additionally our goal is to release two RURs on top of one RU at the same schedule as RUs. But there’s no guarantee for it. This means, we may release an RUR earlier if something really important happens. We may also release a third RUR on top of an RU if there’s a need for it.

Fact 2 – An RU is a patch – and not an upgrade

I love upgrades. Of course I do as otherwise I wouldn’t do this upgrade and migration job for almost 10 years now in Oracle’s Development organization. But an RU is just a patch bundle. Despite the fact that it will increase the release number on its second digit. Remember that we will change the release numbering as well. Therefore an RU is not an upgrade. See Differences between PSU / BP and RU / RUR and My thoughts about the new Oracle Database Release Schedule.

Oracle Database RU and RUR Recommendations and Facts

It’s a patch – not an upgrade.

Fact 3 – RUs are cummulative

It’s the similar to the Bundle Patches for previous releases. If you apply an RU it will contain automatically all previous RUs for this releases. For instance, if you will apply 18.4.0 you’ll automatically have 18.2.0 and 18.3.0 included. See Differences between PSU / BP and RU / RUR for further details.

Fact 4 – Same tasks to apply RU or RUR

I’d just like to point this out: There’s zero difference in work and tasks, regardless if you apply an RU or RUR.

Fact 5 – You can download OJVM patches separately

You can either take an RU and download the OJVM patch separately or you may download the Combo patches containing both in separate subdirectories. See Are OJVM patches included in the RU /RUR? for further details.

Please see this MOS Note explaining the Conditional Install for further clarification and guidance.


Two Recommendations

Recommendation 1 – Go with RUs

Please use the RUs. RURs are just meant for special cases for customers who want only the security fixes for the next 6 months. Don’t be afraid of Optimizer behavior changes: those are disabled by default in RUs. You will need to enable them. If an RU contains such fixes you’ll find this paragraph in the patches’ readme:

“This patch introduces fix control for one or more fixes contained herein. These fixes are disabled by default and will have to be explicitly enabled via alter session/system commands to persist in pfile/spfile as appropriate”

If this paragraph is not present in the readme, no such fix is included.

Recommendation 2 – Apply RUs every quarter – be agile!

You may now say: “Well Mike, we are happy if we can apply it every 6 months.” And in fact, that’s what many customers tell me for ages. I can see the point of it. Patching is neither fun nor pleasureful work. It’s a tough topic. Especially in cases where you take care on many many database environments at the same time and don’t use Oracle Multitenant.

But please consider three facts:

  • RUs are not BPs anymore. Optimizer behavior changing fixes are disabled by default. See Differences between PSU / BP and RU / RUR as well.
  • Get the most recent security fixes asap. If not, Google this or that.
  • Remember: Our release and patching model will become more agile. You should adopt it. Become more agile as well.



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5 thoughts on “Oracle Database RU and RUR Recommendations and Facts

  1. Hi Mike,

    Oracle has released November RU for Linux (only):
    Patch 26925392 – Database Release Update
    Patch 27010638 – Grid Infrastructure Release Update GI RU

    Aren´t RUs supposed to be released quarterly?


    • Andreas,

      those are called “RU Incremental Drops”. They are labeled RU (and not RUID) and it is not obvious to everybody if they are recommended or not, and how to distinguish them from full RUs (quarterly).

      Stay tuned – I will post something useful as soon as I understood the topic by myself.


    • Andreas,

      those are called “RU Incremental Drops” and are meant for Linux only and just for customers who want to patch more often. They are currently not labeled as a separate thing and sail under the name tag “RU” which is misleading.
      RUs available for all platforms are still under a quarterly schedule.


  2. I have a question regarding RU’s down the line. One of my team had a bad experience with the Bundle Patches for OEM where the application of BP2 needed to rollback BP1 and then apply BP1/BP2. After several iterations this was taking a really long time (BP7, rollback BP6,5,4,3,2,1 and then apply BP7). I appreciate this could have been a local issue or someone’s incorrect interpretation, but it is causing concern.

    What is the process for RU/RURs? Is it just a matter of apply RU3 over RU2 and RU1? Is a rollback necessary before application

    • Simon,

      no rollback for the binaries is necessary – a rollback usually happens for the SQL changes when you execute “datapatch -verbose”. But this is usually straight forward. I remember that there were issues with 12.1 BPs in the past where specific releases led to the complete deinstall of previous bundles. This shouldn’t be the case anymore (and I applied several RUs for 12.2 already).


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