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Oracle® Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Administrator's Guide
12c Release 4 (12.1.0.4)

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17 Patching Enterprise Manager Agents

This chapter how you can patch the Enterprise Manager Agents. There are two approaches to apply the Agent patches: automated approach, and the manual approach. Oracle recommends using the patch plans (automated approach) for patching as it not only saves time and effort in mass-deploying patches but also reduces human intervention, thereby minimizing the errors involved while patching.

This section contains the following topics:

Note:

Oracle recommends using the Automated Patching mechanism using the Patch Plans available within Enterprise Manager Console to carry out all your patching operations. For a large scale deployments, you can use EM CLI. For information about patching using EM CLI, see Oracle Enterprise Manager Lifecycle Management Administrator's Guide.

If you are unable to patch using patch plans, or using the command line interface, you can use the Manual Patching approach, though it is not recommended.

17.1 Overview

Management Agent Patches are released to fix one or more errors encountered in the agent targets. In addition to the Management Agent running on OMS, you can patch all the agent targets that report to the OMS running on your host machine.

Patch plans are used to patch the Agent targets. Patch Plans can be accessed using GUI and also EMCLI. For information about accessing the patch plans, see Section 17.2.1.

In Enterprise Manager 12c, there are separate Agent patches for core components and for plugins. Ensure that you navigate to the correct directory location under <installation_base_directory> to patch Agent core or Agent plugin:

<installation_base_directory>
    |_____core
         |_____12.1.0.4.0
    |_____plugins
    |_____plugins.txt
    |_____plugins.txt.status
    |_____agent_inst
    |_____sbin
    |_____agentimage.properties

For example, to patch Agent core component, you must navigate to <installation_base_directory>/core/ and for plugins, navigate to <installation_base_directory>/plugins.

17.2 Automated Agent Patching (Recommended Option)

Automated Patching is a quick-and-easy, reliable, and a GUI-based patching mechanism that is facilitated using Patch Plans, a new concept introduced through the Patches and Updates functionality within the Enterprise Manager Cloud Control console (Cloud Control console).

Note:

Oracle recommends that you set preferred credentials for all the Management Agent targets before beginning the patching process.

Automated patching can be performed in the Online mode, and in the Offline mode. In the Online Mode, you can connect to My Oracle Support Web site to download the patches. However, if you are patching in the offline mode, then you must ensure that the patches to be applied are already available on the Software Library.

This section includes the following:

17.2.1 Accessing Patch Plans

To access the Patch plans using GUI, follow these navigation steps: From the Enterprise menu, select Provisioning and Patching, then select Patches and Updates.

The following page appears:

Surrounding text describes patches_updates.gif.

Some of the advantages of using the Patches and Updates page (Automated Patching approach) are:

  • Patching operations are more organized, done through a single window, and is always initiated only from the OMS.

  • Allow you to schedule jobs that will run periodically, and connect to My Oracle Support, check for the latest patches, and automatically download them. This relieves you of the manual effort involved in searching the latest patches and patch sets, and downloading them whenever they are available.

  • One patch plan can be used to add multiple patches to multiple sets of homogeneous targets. For example, both core and plugin agent patches can be added to the same plan.

17.2.2 Viewing Patch Recommendations

The Patch Recommendation region is one of the regions in the patching domain that proactively communicates all the recommendations that are applicable to your environment. This region minimizes human effort in terms of searching for Oracle recommended patches, which may or may not apply to your environment.

Note:

Keep the following points in mind:
  • Recommendations are not available for custom plugins. Oracle only supports the default plugins that ship with the product, and releases timely updates for them.

  • You must use the configuration manager release 10.3.2 or higher for Patch Recommendations to be enabled.

Patches are primarily classified as Security patches, and Other Recommended patches. For example, if you select Security from the graph, all the security related patches are displayed on the Patch Recommendation page. Alternately, you can also view the patches by their target types. Click the bar graph to drill down to a list of recommended patches, view details about those patches, download the patches, or add them to a patch plan. The bar graph summarizes the number of issues found (for example, if there is one issue, then there is one recommendation for one target).

Patch Recommendation region allows you to:

  • Compare the patches installed in your configuration with what Oracle recommends, and identifies any missing patches.

  • Identify and prioritize targets missing Critical Patch Updates.

  • Identify missing recommended patches issued by Oracle.

17.2.3 Searching Patches

The Patch Search is a region in the patching domain that allows you to search for Oracle, Sun, Siebel, and Hyperion products. The primary purpose of searching a patch is to limit results to the exact patch name or number.

The Patch Search region contains three tabs: Search, Saved, and Recent. The Search tab lets you apply the desired filters to drill down to the exact results. You can choose to save the search, and view it later. All the saved searches appear in the Saved region. A history of all the searches is registered in the Recent tab, and you can check the logs if you want to access them.

Use any of the following approaches to search for a patch:

Basic Search

To perform a Basic Search, follow these steps:

  1. From the Enterprise menu, select Patching and Provisioning, then select Patches and Updates.

  2. On Patches and Updates page, enter the Patch Name or Number, or Sun CR ID, if there are multiple values, then they must be separated by commas. You can select the platform name from the list in the Patch Search Region, and then click Search.

  3. The Patch Search Results page displays the results based on the search criterion provided.

    From the Patch Search results page, you can do the following:

    • You can highlight one or more patches in the search results and, from the inline tool bar, add the patches to a patch plan (if you use the collector), download the patches, or copy patch details to the system clipboard.

    • If a single patch is highlighted, you can view the patch readme.

Advanced Search

To perform an Advanced Search, follow these steps:

  1. From the Enterprise menu, select Patching and Provisioning, then select Patches and Updates.

  2. On the Patches and Updates page, click Product or Family (Advanced Search).

  3. Enter a Product name, and set the Release number to narrow down your search.

    Additionally, if you are accessing Patches and Updates page in the Offline mode, then click (+) icon to add more filters like Type, Platform, or Language. In the Online mode, in addition to all the filters available in the Offline mode, you can use advanced search categories like: Classification, Description, Patch Target, or Updated to drill down to the desired results.

    Note:

    Advanced Search allows you to search for recommended patches for your environment through the Classification search category available when you are accessing Patches and Updates page in the online mode.
  4. Click Search.

    After updating the appropriate search filters, you can save the search combination by clicking Save.

  5. The Patch Search Results page displays the results based on the search criterion provided.

    From the Patch Search results page, you can do the following:

    • You can highlight one or more patches in the search results and, from the inline tool bar, add the patches to a patch plan (if you use the collector), download the patches, or copy patch details to the system clipboard.

    • If a single patch is highlighted, you can view the patch readme.

17.2.4 Applying Management Agent Patches

To apply a Management Agent patch using patch plans, follow these steps:

Note:

Applying the core agent patch, or the plug-in agent patch follows the same patching process (as listed in this section.)

For a large scale deployments, you can use EM CLI. For information about patching using EM CLI, see Oracle Enterprise Manager Lifecycle Management Administrator's Guide.

Ensure that the patches selected have the same platform, as the targets being patched. For example, Linux x86 patches can only be applied on LinuxX86 targets, any mismatch will result in a patching error.

  1. In Cloud Control, from the Enterprise menu, select Provisioning and Patching, then select Patches and Updates.

  2. On the Patches and Updates page, select Management Agent patches from one of the following regions:

    • In the Patch Recommendation region, click the graph to drill down to the list of recommended patches for your environment.

      For more information on Patch Recommendation, see Section 17.2.2

    • In the Patch Search region, enter the patch number of the Agent patch or perform an Advanced Search to search, and select the desired patch.

      For more information on Basic and Advanced search, see Section 17.2.3

  3. Select one or more patches, and from the Add to a Plan menu, select one of the following options:

    • If you select Add to New, then the Create New Plan dialog box is displayed. Enter a unique Plan Name.

      From the Select a target menu, you can perform on of the following operations:

      Select Agent, and click search icon. From the list of agents displayed in the table, you can either selecte a single target or multiple targets as follows:

      • Provide the target name in the search field to select a particular target.

      • To add multiple target to the plan, keep the Control key pressed, and select the desired targets.

      Select a Group, click search icon, and then select the desired group. To create a group of targets, from Setup menu, select Add Target, and then click group. On the Create Group page, add all the Agent targets to the group, and create the group with a unique name.

      Click Create Plan

      Surrounding text describes patch_reco.gif.

      The patch selected along with the associated target gets added to the plan.

    • If you select Add to Existing, then Add Patch To Plan dialog box is displayed. The actual process of updating the plan is a two step process as follows:

      Step1: Select Plan

      Click an existing plan to select it, then click Select Targets.

      Step2: Select Targets to Plan

      To search and select targets, follow one of these approaches:

      • If you know the target name, enter the name of the target in the search field.

      • Click the search icon to view all the targets reporting to the OMS running on your host machine, group them by type Agent, and select the desired Agent targets.

      • From the Select a target menu, select Agent, and click the search icon. From the list of agents displayed in the table,select one or more targets and click Add Patch To Plan. You can also perform a group search by providing the group name in the search field to add all the targets in that particular group to the plan.

      After selecting the targets, click Create Plan. The selected patches and associated targets are added to the plan after validating for conflicts.

      Figure 17-1 Add Patch To Plan

      Surrounding text describes Figure 17-1 .
  4. If the selected patches are applied on homogeneous targets, then the plan gets successfully created with a link to View Plan. Click the link to view the plan details.

    If any of the agent targets added to the patch plan are NFS-Agents or Cluster-Agents, then you may see a warning message Issues with Adding Patch.

    Surrounding text describes issues_adding_patch.gif.

    As a solution to this problem, a list of all the targets impacted appear, click Add All To Plan to add all the affected targets to the patch plan.

    However, if there is a mismatch between the platform of the patch selected, and that of the target, you may see one of the following warnings:

    1. Null Platform: This error occurs when the target selected appears with a null platform, the validation fails as there is a mismatch in the platform of the patch and that of the target. This could happen when a target is down, in this case the plan is not created until the error is fixed.

    2. Platform Mismatch: This warning message appears when the platform of the patch does not match the target platform. All the other homogeneous targets get added to the plan, however, the mismatched target is ignored, and the plan is created without this target. Click View Plan to see the details.

    Note:

    Oracle recommends that you fix the warning before proceeding as it may result in an error during the plan validation. However, if you still want to proceed, you can select the patches, and click Ignore Warnings and Add to proceed
  5. On the Patches & Updates page, in the Plans region, click the plan name you want to view, and from the context menu, click View.

    To filter the plans table, select All Plan Types or Patch depending on your preference. To search for a plan, enter a plan name or partial plan name in the search box, then click the search button.

  6. In the Create Plan Wizard, on the Plan Information page, in the Overview section, validate the Patch Plan name. You can choose to edit it if you want.

    (Optional) Select a date and time when you want to deploy the Patch Plan, and enter a short description to describe the Patch Plan.

  7. Click Next.

  8. On the Patches page, review the patches added to the Patch Plan.

    To associate additional targets to a patch that is already in your Patch Plan, click Add Patch. In the Edit Search dialog box, enter the patch number and click Search. Select the patch, and click Add to This Plan. From Add Patch To Plan dialog box, select the targets, and click Add to This Plan.

  9. Click Next.

  10. On the Deployment Options page, in the Where to stage section select Yes to retain the default location (%emd_emstagedir%) available on the target machine. If you select No, then you must provide a stage location to pre-stage the patches. Ensure that you provide a mounted file system or an NFS shared location for staging the patches. Table 17-1 describes an example of the directory structure you must follow for staging the Agent patches and OPatch patches.

    Table 17-1 Pre-Stage Location Example

    Patch Type Stage Location Where to unzip the patch

    Agent Patches

    /scratch/<user_name>/

    Create a directory structure as follows:/scratch/<user_name>/<patch_number>/

    Unzip the patch inside the above location

    OPatch

    /scratch/<user_name>/

    If you want to upgrade the OPatch component before patching, then ensure that OPatch is also available at the same folder level. For example: /scratch/<user_name>/6880880

    Unzip the OPatch downloaded from ARU inside the above location


    In the Oracle Home Credentials section, select Use to use the existing Oracle Home Preferred Credentials that you have set. Oracle recommends using preferred credentials to apply patches to Management Agent home, as the preferred credentials can be reused in any patch plans, and saves you the trouble of setting it multiple times. On the other handm if you use override option, you need to specify the named credentials for each patch plan for the same agent target, which can be cumbersome.

    For more information about setting Preferred credentials using Cloud Control, see Oracle Enterprise Manager Lifecycle Management Administrator's Guide. For setting Host Preferred Credentials Using SSH Key Credentials, see the Enterprise Manager Cloud Control Security Guide.

    Note:

    If you have not set the Normal and Privileged Oracle Home Credentials for your target, then the plan becomes non-deployable, which means that you will not be able to proceed to analyze or deploy your plan.

    Also, note that the Named Credentials of type SSH Key Credentials cannot be set as the preferred credentials for the Normal Host Credentials or Privileged Host Credentials credential set for Oracle Home targets.

    To Override the existing credentials, you must specify if you would like to Overide the credentials for each of the Oracle home targets in your plan, or all the Oracle home targets, to do so select Each Home or All homes from the Specify For menu. Click Edit to edit the Normal Oracle Home Credentials and Privileged Oracle Home Credentials, and click Validate Credentials to verify the accuracy of the credentials provided.

    In the Customization section, you can choose one of the following options to resolve a patch conflict:

    • Stop at Conflicts - This option stops the plan from being deployed when a conflict is detected.

    • Force Apply - This option will rollback the conflicting patches in the Oracle Home and forcefully apply the incoming patches.

    • Skip Conflicts - This option will apply only the non-conflicting patches and skips the conflicting ones.

    In the Rollback section, ensure that the Plan deployment rolls back the patches in this plan option is not selected if you would like to apply the patches. If you select the rollback option, it will mean that the plan is not for applying the patches, but instead for rolling back patches. Therefore, only if you want to rollback the selected patches from the selected targets, this rollback option should be selected.

    If you do not have the latest version of OPatch patch on the targets to be patched, then you can enable the Opatch Upgrade option in the OPatch Upgrade section.

  11. Click Next.

  12. On the Validation page, click Analyze to validate the patch before deploying it.A Validation job is submitted, that performs an exhaustive list of checks like: check for conflicts, check for the latest OPatch version, check if the version and platform of the targets and the patch match (homogeneity rule), and so on in the background.

    Note:

    Alternately, you can directly go to the Review and Deploy page to deploy the Agent Patches without analyzing the plan. If you do so, a Deploy Job is submitted which internally analyzes the plan, and deploys it on successful analysis. If there are any issues in the Analysis phase, then the split plan feature is triggered, in which a plan is split into two plans, one plan with the failed targets and another plan with the successful targets. The successful plan is available for deployment, while the failed plan can be reanalyzed and deployed separately.

    To track the progress of the job, click Show Detailed Results. If the status is Succeeded, then the job is valid. If not, then review the issues, and try to resolve it according to the corresponding problem description available on the page. After resolving the issue, click Re-Analyze.

    Upon validation, if there are conflicts between the two patches, you must contact Oracle Support.

    See Also:

    For more information about the common errors during the Validation phase, see Section 17.2.6
  13. Click Next.

  14. On the Review & Deploy page, review the details you have provided for the patch plan, then click Deploy.

    Important:

    A new split plan feature has been introduced with Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3 patch set release 2. According to this feature, upon failure, a plan is split into two plans, one plan with the failed targets, and another plan with the successful targets. The successful plan is avilable for deployment, while the failed plan can be reanalyzed and deployed separately. The plan details are provided in the validations page, or review and deploy page.

    The plan may fail due to several validation errors. For more information about these errors, see Section 17.2.6.

    For an example that captures split plan feature, see Figure 17-2.

    A job is submitted, to track the progress of the job, click Show Detailed Results.

Note:

For a demonstration about how to apply patches on Enterprise Manager 12c Agents using Cloud Control Console, see My Oracle Support note 1359221.1.

17.2.5 Verifying the Applied Agent Patches

To verify the applied patches using Enterprise Manager, perform the following steps:

  1. In Cloud Control, click Targets, then select All Targets

  2. On the All Targets page, enter the target name in the Search Target Name field to search for the target you patched.

    For example, enter adc2101818 in the search field, and click the search icon.

  3. Click the target name to select Oracle home of the target that was patched.

    In the Agent home page under Summary section, in the Configuration sub-section, click Oracle Home and Patch Details to view all the jobs that have run on the Oracle Home Target of that Agent.

  4. In the Patch Advisories region, select Patches Applied tab to verify all the patches that have been successfully applied on the target.

17.2.6 Validating Agent Patch Errors

Here are some of the errors that you may typically see during the Validation phase of patch plans:

Note:

For all the errors mentioned in this section. Oracle recommends contacting the customer support to resolve the error.
  • Oracle Home Credentials Not Set

    This error occurs when the Oracle Home credentials like Privileged Oracle Home credentials or the Normal Oracle Home credentials are not set.

    Note:

    This error occurs only when you submit the patch plan using EMCLI. Using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control interface, you will not be allowed to proceed to validate and deploy the patch plan unless you set the credentials.

    Note:

    For example if you apply Linux x86 patch on a Linux x64 target, then the plan fails.

    Surrounding text describes wrong_platform.gif.

    Workaround: You can use the Deployment Options page available in your patch plan to set the Privileged Oracle Home credentials or the Normal Oracle Home credentials.

  • Target Is Down

    This error occurs when the target added for patching is not up and running.

    Surrounding text describes targetdown.gif.

    Workaround: Start the target, and Re-Analyze the plan.

  • Conflict Check Analysis

    This error occurs when there is a conflict in the patches added.

    Surrounding text describes conflict_analysis_failure.gif.

    Workaround:

    Approach 1: Contact Support to get a merged patch.

    Approach 2: Choose the Advanced OPatch Options to force apply the patch. But choosing this option and applying the patch will make you loose earlier patch changes.

  • User Not a SuperUser

    This error occurs when the user running the patch plan does not have root access.

    Surrounding text describes Not_A_SuperUser_PDP.gif.

    Workaround:

    Step 1: Create a new credential with root access.

    Step 2: Check if the privilege delegation has been done for that host. For more information about privilege delegation, see Oracle Enterprise Manager Lifecycle Management Administrator's Guide.

    Step 3: Re-analyze the plan

  • Patch Not Staged or Found

    This error occurs when the patch is not present in the stage location.

    Figure 17-2 Split Plan Feature (with patch not found error)

    Surrounding text describes Figure 17-2 .

    Split Plan Feature:

    The following graphic Uses the Spilt Plan Feature Introduced in Enterprise Manager 12.1.0.3. Basically, page 1 displays the error with which the plan fails. But, since the plan consisted of two patches, one of which was successful, the split plan feature enabled. Bacause of this, the successdul targets are deployed. Page 2 essentially captures how you need to create a new patch plan to stage snd deploy the patch appropriately for the plan to be successful.

    Workaround

    Ensure that the patch is available in the stage location, and then re-analyze the plan.

17.3 Manual Agent Patching

Manual patching is a patching mechanism that requires you to follow step-by-step instructions to patch a Management Agent manually. This mechanism of patching expects you to meet certain prerequisites, manually validate the patch for applicability and conflicts, and patch only one Management Agent at a time.

Note:

Oracle recommends you to use the automated patching mechanism because it not only saves time and effort in mass-deploying patches but also reduces human intervention, thereby minimizing the errors involved while patching.

To patch manually, you must perform the following steps:

  1. Log into My Oracle Support (https://support.oracle.com) console with the necessary credentials.

    Note:

    Check the Patch Recommendation region to view the patches recommended for your environment. You can also provide the recommended patch number in the patch search region to download the recommended patch.
  2. On the My Oracle Support home page, click Patches and Updates.

  3. Enter the patch number in the Patch Search region, then click Search.

  4. Select the patch, and from the context menu, click Download.

  5. After downloading the zip file, follow the instructions available in the Readme.html or Readme.txt to install the patch.