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.