Patching Engineered Systems compared to Expertly Integrated systems


I just wanted to post a quick follow on to my post about patching Engineered Systems compared to Expertly Integrated systems. In my last post I talked about the seven different tools that you have to navigate through to patch Oracle Exadata.

In the Oracle Open World session CON7745[1], Garmin talked about their migration to Oracle Exadata, and also about their experience and challenges. They mentioned the three different level of patching, and noted when they could do them:

  • Database Home patching windows (all instances down)
  • Storage Cell patching windows (during low activity)
  • InfiniBand patching windows (during low activity)

They went on to discuss some of the issues they encountered with this convoluted patching process, including:

  • Storage cell patch led to operating system issues where a node in the cluster was evicted or crashed.
  • During storage cell patching, we hit a documentation/readme bug that lead to a complete cluster failure. [2]

This is one of the fundamental flaws of system that has not been expertly integrated. In an expert integrated system the patches are delivered for the entire system all at once, in one patch, and the entire patch is tested together. With seven tools and three different tiers, testing all of the combinations and permutations becomes overwhelming, and things can be missed.


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Dwaine Snow

About Dwaine Snow

OLTP and Data Warehouse Competitive Analyst - Dwaine has worked for IBM for the past 21 years. In that time he spent a number of years working on DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows and has written 8 books and numerous articles on DB2, and has presented at conferences around the world. He recently started to work with our new colleagues from Netezza in the Product Management and Product Marketing arena, and is hoping to start writing his first Netezza book soon. Follow Dwaine on Twitter @DwaineSnow and be sure to check out his blog! It's at