Oracle Database 19.10.0 and Blockchain Tables and COMPATIBLE

Many of you recognized that we delivered a new feature with Oracle Database 19.10.0, the January 2021 Release Upgrade. So I’d like to put a few interesting things together from the upgrade and migration perspective regarding Oracle Database 19.10.0 and Blockchain Tables and COMPATIBLE.

What are Blockchain Tables?

At first, I don’t want to repeat what other people have blogged and written about already. You may just go through the blog posts of Connor McDonald and Tim Hall and others to learn more about this cool feature.

But the topic I’d like to shed more light from the upgrade perspective has to do with the tasks necessary if you’d like to enable Blockchain Tables in Oracle 19.10.0.

You need to apply a one off patch. And you must raise COMPATIBLE for a release update (RU).

Blockchain One-Off Patch 32431413

So at first you need to download patch 32431413 from MyOracle Support.

  • Bug 32431413: 19.10 RU FOR ORACLE IS MISSING QCPLK.O WHICH GETS LINKED INTO LIBGENERIC19.A

Without this patch you will receive an ORA-901: Invalid Create Statement when you try to create a blockchain table. As the README of the patch states, you can install it RAC rolling. In my environment I have no RAC, so I get a downtime anyway.

$ cd 32431413/
[CDB2] oracle@hol:~/32431413
$ $ORACLE_HOME/OPatch/opatch prereq CheckConflictAgainstOHWithDetail -ph ./
Oracle Interim Patch Installer version 12.2.0.1.23
Copyright (c) 2021, Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.

PREREQ session

Oracle Home       : /u01/app/oracle/product/19
Central Inventory : /u01/app/oraInventory
   from           : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/oraInst.loc
OPatch version    : 12.2.0.1.23
OUI version       : 12.2.0.7.0
Log file location : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/cfgtoollogs/opatch/opatch2021-02-17_22-57-31PM_1.log

Invoking prereq "checkconflictagainstohwithdetail"

Prereq "checkConflictAgainstOHWithDetail" passed.

OPatch succeeded.

And then I’m applying it – without running datapatch as this step isn’t mentioned in the README.

$ $ORACLE_HOME/OPatch/opatch apply
Oracle Interim Patch Installer version 12.2.0.1.23
Copyright (c) 2021, Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Oracle Home       : /u01/app/oracle/product/19
Central Inventory : /u01/app/oraInventory
   from           : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/oraInst.loc
OPatch version    : 12.2.0.1.23
OUI version       : 12.2.0.7.0
Log file location : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/cfgtoollogs/opatch/opatch2021-02-17_23-00-41PM_1.log

Verifying environment and performing prerequisite checks...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Start OOP by Prereq process.
Launch OOP...

Oracle Interim Patch Installer version 12.2.0.1.23
Copyright (c) 2021, Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Oracle Home       : /u01/app/oracle/product/19
Central Inventory : /u01/app/oraInventory
   from           : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/oraInst.loc
OPatch version    : 12.2.0.1.23
OUI version       : 12.2.0.7.0
Log file location : /u01/app/oracle/product/19/cfgtoollogs/opatch/opatch2021-02-17_23-02-34PM_1.log

Verifying environment and performing prerequisite checks...
OPatch continues with these patches:   32431413  

Do you want to proceed? [y|n]
y
User Responded with: Y
All checks passed.

Please shutdown Oracle instances running out of this ORACLE_HOME on the local system.
(Oracle Home = '/u01/app/oracle/product/19')


Is the local system ready for patching? [y|n]
y
User Responded with: Y
Backing up files...
Applying interim patch '32431413' to OH '/u01/app/oracle/product/19'

Patching component oracle.rdbms, 19.0.0.0.0...

Patching component oracle.rdbms.rsf, 19.0.0.0.0...
Patch 32431413 successfully applied.
Log file location: /u01/app/oracle/product/19/cfgtoollogs/opatch/opatch2021-02-17_23-02-34PM_1.log

OPatch succeeded.

Ok, step 1 completed. Now on with step 2.

Raising COMPATIBLE?

Sinan, a colleague from Oracle in Germany, send me a ping one night asking whether I may need to change my recommendation now:

In this blog post I clearly recommended with emphasis to never change COMPATIBLE within one release. Whether you are on 19.3.0 or 19.28.0, there is no feature and no reason to change COMPATIBLE to anything else than the default, 19.0.0.

Well, I was quite surprised since I didn’t expect that a feature would ever require to raise COMPATIBLE within a release. Even Oracle In-Memory, a really important feature did not require to adjust COMPATIBLE in a database patch set (!!). You can (and should) have COMPATIBLE in an 12.1.0.2 database set to “12.1.0” – and of course you can use In-Memory with no restrictions.

But this here is different. No Blockchain Tables without raising COMPATIBLE.

At least, I can see a very positive aspect here: Nobody will accidentally enable the feature as you need to change COMPATIBLE, and then restart your database.

When you plan to do this change as part of a database upgrade, then please keep in mind that you can’t downgrade anymore when you raised COMPATIBLE. Furthermore, you can’t even raise COMPATIBLE when you have a Guaranteed Restore Point (GRP) in place as AutoUpgrade for instance creates it by default.

What is the impact when you raise COMPATIBLE to 19.10.0?

The first pitfall I see is in a Multitenant environment. When you have one CDB with COMPATIBLE=19.10.0, and another one with the default, 19.0.0, you can’t unplug and plug PDBs back and forth anymore. As soon as you plugin a PDB sailing in with COMPATIBLE=19.0.0 into the Blockchain CDB with 19.10.0, COMPATIBLE gets raised implicitly. No big deal for now. Unless you’d like to unplug this PDB and plan to plug it into the original CDB or any other CDB with COMPATIBLE lower than 19.10.0. This is what I call the Silent COMPATIBLE change in Multitenant.

Hence, I would just think of doing this change when all your environments are on 19.10.0 already. Then you may be able to raise COMPATIBLE on all of them at the same time – of course with the expected restart of all databases. But then adjust your DBCA templates to ensure that new databases will be created with the exact same COMPATIBLE setting as well as otherwise you’ll end of with an inconvenient mix again one day.

Let me steal Connor’s example and create a blockchain table – but not in CDB$ROOT as this will fail with ORA-05729: blockchain table cannot be created in root container.

create blockchain table bc1 (d date, amt number)
no drop until 0 days idle
no delete until 31 days after insert
hashing using "sha2_512" version v1;

And then a customer commented already on the blog since I wrote about new parameters in 19.10.0 and a default change. Export of the database is supposed to fail.

Ok, I’d like to test this – hence, I’ll export from my PDB:

$ expdp system/oracle@PDB1 parfile=x.par

Export: Release 19.0.0.0.0 - Production on Wed Feb 17 23:32:11 2021
Version 19.10.0.0.0

Copyright (c) 1982, 2019, Oracle and/or its affiliates.  All rights reserved.

Connected to: Oracle Database 19c Enterprise Edition Release 19.0.0.0.0 - Production
ORA-39001: invalid argument value
ORA-39021: Database compatibility version 19.10.0.0.0 is not supported.

Ouch. Even though the user schema I’m exporting has nothing to do with the blockchain table I created, Data Pump does not function anymore.

Why is that? This has to do with:

The one-off is not yet available for 19.10.0. As far as I see it will be included in the 19.11.0 RU – and Roy filed a BLR for it already on top of 19.10.0.

Luckily, there is a simple workaround: You set VERSION=19.0.0.0.0 in your expdp par file, for instance:

DIRECTORY=DATA_PUMP_DIR
DUMPFILE=dumpfile.dmp
LOGFILE=logfile.log
SCHEMAS=SYSTEM
EXCLUDE=STATISTICS
LOGTIME=ALL
METRICS=YES
FLASHBACK_TIME=SYSTIMESTAMP
VERSION=19.0.0.0.0

Then it will work fine.

Export with Blockchain Tables

But what happens if you have a Blockchain Table in this user schema you are exporting?

I’m doing a simple INSERT into my table:

insert into BC1 values (sysdate,1);
commit;

And then I’m gonna export the entire schema:

$ expdp system/oracle@PDB1 parfile=x.par

Export: Release 19.0.0.0.0 - Production on Wed Feb 17 23:45:36 2021
Version 19.10.0.0.0

Copyright (c) 1982, 2019, Oracle and/or its affiliates.  All rights reserved.

Connected to: Oracle Database 19c Enterprise Edition Release 19.0.0.0.0 - Production
17-FEB-21 23:45:40.561: Starting "SYSTEM"."SYS_EXPORT_SCHEMA_01":  system/********@PDB1 parfile=x.par 
17-FEB-21 23:45:41.038: W-1 Startup took 1 seconds
17-FEB-21 23:45:43.588: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/TABLE/TABLE_DATA
17-FEB-21 23:45:44.015: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/DEFAULT_ROLE
17-FEB-21 23:45:44.061: W-1      Completed 1 DEFAULT_ROLE objects in 1 seconds
17-FEB-21 23:45:44.411: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/PRE_SCHEMA/PROCACT_SCHEMA
17-FEB-21 23:45:44.432: W-1      Completed 1 PROCACT_SCHEMA objects in 0 seconds
17-FEB-21 23:45:49.500: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/TABLE/TABLE
17-FEB-21 23:46:01.343: W-1      Completed 2 TABLE objects in 14 seconds
17-FEB-21 23:46:01.734: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/TABLE/COMMENT
17-FEB-21 23:46:04.288: W-1 Processing object type SCHEMA_EXPORT/TABLE/INDEX/INDEX
17-FEB-21 23:46:07.620: W-1 . . exported "SYSTEM"."BC1"                              9.929 KB       1 rows in 0 seconds using direct_path
17-FEB-21 23:46:07.690: W-1 . . exported "SYSTEM"."T1"                               2.585 MB   23427 rows in 0 seconds using direct_path
17-FEB-21 23:46:08.104: W-1      Completed 2 SCHEMA_EXPORT/TABLE/TABLE_DATA objects in 0 seconds
17-FEB-21 23:46:08.971: W-1 Master table "SYSTEM"."SYS_EXPORT_SCHEMA_01" successfully loaded/unloaded
17-FEB-21 23:46:08.993: ******************************************************************************
17-FEB-21 23:46:08.993: Dump file set for SYSTEM.SYS_EXPORT_SCHEMA_01 is:
17-FEB-21 23:46:08.995:   /u01/app/oracle/admin/CDB2/dpdump/BB90AC0C81B81CC6E055000000000001/dumpfile4.dmp
17-FEB-21 23:46:09.030: Job "SYSTEM"."SYS_EXPORT_SCHEMA_01" successfully completed at Wed Feb 17 23:46:09 2021 elapsed 0 00:00:32

Works. The Restrictions section in the documentation (you need to scroll down a bit as linking doesn’t hit the exact place) explains:

Oracle Data Pump Export and Import

Blockchain tables are exported and imported as regular tables, without the system-generated hidden columns.

You don’t need to worry as this is documented and expected.

Other Restrictions

We updated the documentation just recently to list the currently known restrictions with Blockchain Tables.

I think it is still worth playing with this feature – but in an environment where changing COMPATIBLE has no influence on other environments.

Further Links and Information

–Mike

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