Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oracle's CPU Patch Naming

Just today I discovered that Oracle changed the nomenclature used to refer to Critical Patch Updates.

Up through the patch bundle issued in October 2007, these were referred to by the date of release. The October 2007 release was "Oracle Critical Patch Update - October 2007", often shortened to "CPU Oct 2007".
Oracle Critical Patch Update - October 2007

When viewing the documentation for the October 2007 CPU you will see this:

Oracle® DatabaseCritical Patch Update Note
Release for Microsoft Windows (x64)

The documentation for the January 2008 CPU however looks a bit different:

Oracle® Database Server Version Patch 17
Bundle Patch Update Note
Release for Microsoft Windows (x64)

Note the difference. The Oct 2007 CPU is referred to by date, while the Jan 2008 CPU is referred to by patch number.

By digging down into the Oct 2007 CPU documentation you will find that it is referred to as "Patch 16".

Doing the same for the "Patch 17" documentation reveals that it is indeed the Jan 2008 CPU.

Why does it matter?

Imagine working with consultants for a major application system that uses Oracle as a database. Imagine also that these consultants also know only 'Patch 17', while you know only about 'Jan 2008 CPU'.

This can lead to a great deal of confusion, as it did for me (as well as the consultants) recently. Digging down into the docs revealed the change in nomenclature.

It led to (I am telling on myself here) me installing both the October 2007 CPU and the January 2008 CPU on a single database. This wouldn't be so bad, if they had been applied in the wrong order.

Maybe most other Oracle folks already know about this, and I just missed the memo explaining that Oracle would start referring to their CPU's by a different name.

In any case, not knowing this caused a lot of extra work.


Bradd Piontek said...

I thought the Patch XX naming was only valid for windows (and had been for a while). The names still apply to non-Windows platforms. I believe Oracle puts out Windows Patch Bundles once a month or so (last I inquired GCS)

Jared said...

There may be Windows patch bundles monthly, but that doesn't seem to match up with the naming of the CPU.

Patch 16 is the Oct 2007 CPU.
Patch 17 is the Jan 2008 CPU.

Yes, this is on Windows, I hadn't looked at the naming for other platforms.

Bradd Piontek said...

You may want to check out Metalink Doc #161549.1 It explains the naming conventions for Windows Patches.

Another minor point to make is that the "CPU" Windows patches don't follow the N-Apply process started in 10.2.03 Jul2007CPU. In other words, Windows Patch Bundle #16 and #17 contain more than just security fixes and are an all-or-nothing patch.

Jared said...

Thank you, I will take a look at that note.