This blog provides recommendations and considerations for patching Oracle software and updating firmware in the Oracle Exalogic environment. It provides tips for the following:

  • Patching Oracle Linux on Exalogic
  • Patching Oracle Solaris on Exalogic
  • Patching Oracle WebLogic Server on Exalogic
  • Patching Software or Updating Firmware for Exalogic Machine Hardware Components

Oracle Linux

If you are an Oracle Linux user, Oracle Linux is pre-installed on each of the Exalogic compute nodes. Any operating system patches reside on the Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance, which is used by all compute nodes. Oracle recommends that you patch the Oracle Linux operating system installed on compute nodes simultaneously. This practice helps you maintain the operating system environment. Therefore, you should patch the operating system at the Exalogic machine level – all compute nodes at once.

Oracle Solaris

If you are updating Oracle Solaris installed on your Exalogic compute nodes, Oracle recommends that you update the Oracle Solaris operating system installed on compute nodes simultaneously. This practice helps you maintain the operating system environment. Therefore, you should update the operating system at the Exalogic machine level – all compute nodes at once.

Updates to Oracle Solaris can be downloaded from the support repository, which is available at the following URL: https://pkg.oracle.com/solaris/support

This URL is restricted. It can only be accessed by the IPS pkg commands. Ensure that you register and obtain the key and certificate from: https://pkg-register.oracle.com before you download any Oracle Solaris 11 Express Support Repository Updates (SRUs).

For more information about the support repository and SRUs (support repository updates), see “Support FAQ” on the Oracle Solaris 11 Express Overview” and “Support Package Repositories Explained”.

Oracle WebLogic Server

Oracle Exalogic Machine uses the Sun ZFS Storage 7320 appliance that allows all Oracle WebLogic instances in the Oracle Exalogic system, including instances running in different Oracle WebLogic Server domains, to share the same Oracle WebLogic Server installation.

Topologies using shared installations across Oracle WebLogic Server domains and physical servers offer some advantages over topologies using dedicated installations per domain or physical server. Shared installation topologies create fewer sets of product binaries to be managed, simplify the mapping of Oracle WebLogic Server instances to the installation being used, and enforce maximum consistency of Oracle WebLogic Server versions and maintenance levels in the Oracle Exalogic system. In some environments, shared installation topologies may result in management efficiencies.

However, in some scenarios, you may require multiple Oracle WebLogic Server installations within the Oracle Exalogic system, each dedicated to specific WebLogic Server domains or to compute nodes. Topologies with multiple dedicated installations provide more management flexibility, particularly when maintenance considerations are important.

Applications running in different WebLogic Server domains may have different maintenance requirements. The frequency of their updates may vary, and the update requirements may affect different functional areas of the WebLogic Server product, resulting in diverse patch requirements. They may also host applications from different departments or business units within the same organization, which require that their applications and systems, including the Oracle WebLogic Server products being used in those applications, are isolated from other applications to minimize cross-application dependencies. Therefore, Oracle recommends that you evaluate your specific WebLogic Server maintenance requirements when determining the installation topology that will be used within the Oracle Exalogic system.

One-Off Patches

One-off patches are provided to address specific functional issues within the WebLogic Server product. One-off patches are generally applied only when required to resolve problems observed in the user’s environment. While WebLogic Server patches can be applied on a per-domain basis (or on a more fine-grained basis), Oracle recommends that one-off patches be applied on an installation-wide basis. One-off patches applied to a WebLogic Server installation using this recommended practice affect all domains and servers sharing that installation.

Maintenance Release

Maintenance releases are applied on an installation-wide basis, and once applied, will affect all domains and servers sharing that installation. Oracle recommends that you create a unique Oracle WebLogic Server installation for each set of domains and compute nodes that must be maintained independently of their peers in the Oracle Exalogic system.

Maintenance Type to Evaluate

You should evaluate your specific requirements for maintaining domains and compute nodes within the Oracle Exalogic system and how to group (or isolate) domains and compute nodes from a maintenance perspective. For example, you can group domains and compute nodes based on the following:

  • Departments or business units they support
  • Required service levels
  • Current and future requirements for isolating domains
  • Historical practice

After extract a logical group of domains and compute nodes, you can set up an Oracle WebLogic Server installation for each group of domains and compute nodes that must be maintained independently.

Note: To patch an Oracle WebLogic Server installation, you must use the Weblogic Smart Update utility. For more information, refer to Oracle Smart Update Installing Patches and Maintenance Packs.

Patching Software or Updating Firmware for Exalogic Machine Hardware Components

Oracle recommends that you patch software or update firmware for the storage appliance, switches, and ILOM in the Exalogic environment on a system-wide basis.

Patching Oracle Software and Updating Firmware in Oracle Exalogic Environment