Maintaining an Exadata Cloud@Customer System

Learn how to perform patching operations on Exadata Cloud@Customer infrastructure.

User-Managed Maintenance Updates

Maintaining a secure Exadata Cloud@Customer system in the best working order requires you to perform the following tasks regularly:

Oracle Managed Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure Maintenance Updates

In addition to the maintenance tasks you perform, Oracle manages the patching and updating of all other infrastructure components, including the physical compute nodes (Dom0), Exadata storage servers, Exadata InfiniBand switches, ROCE switches, and Control Plane servers. This is referred to as Exadata Cloud@Customer infrastructure maintenance.

Overview of the Infrastructure Patching Process

Infrastructure maintenance begins with patching of the Exadata compute nodes. Compute nodes are updated in a rolling fashion, with a single node being shut down, patched, and then brought back online while other nodes remain operational. This process continues until all nodes are patched. After compute node patching completes, Oracle patches the storage nodes. Storage server patching does not impact VM cluster nodes availability.

Note that while databases are expected to be available during the patching process, Oracle does not verify that all database services and pluggable databases are available after a node is brought back online, as these can depend on the application service definition. Oracle recommends reviewing the documentation on workload management, application continuity, and client failover best practices to reduce the potential for an outage with your applications. By following the documentation's guidelines, the impact of infrastructure patching will be only minor service degradation due to connection loss as compute nodes are sequentially patched.

Oracle recommends that you follow the Maximum Availability Architecture (MAA) best practices and use Data Guard to ensure the highest availability for your critical applications. For databases with Data Guard enabled, Oracle recommends that you separate the patching windows for the infrastructure instances running the primary and standby databases, and perform a switchover prior to the maintenance operations for the infrastructure instance hosting the primary database. This allows you to avoid any impact to your primary database during infrastructure patching.

Based on the shape of the rack, maintenance can take up to 30 hours from the schedule start time.
  • Maintenance window will start with performing prechecks on all the ExaC@C infrastructure components. This will take approximately 2 hours to complete.
  • Each Dom0 takes 90 minutes on an average
  • Each storage cell takes 60 minutes on an average
  • InfiniBand or RoCE switches take 60 minutes on an average
  • Control Plane Server takes 240 minutes on an average
The approximate computed time for infrastructure patching operations is as follows:
  • Quarter Rack (2 Dom0/3 Storage Cells): Approximately 13 hours
  • Half Rack (4 Dom0/6 Storage Cells): Approximately 19 hours
  • Full Rack (8 Dom0/12 Storage Cells): Approximately 31 hours

Scheduling Oracle-Managed Infrastructure Updates

Exadata Cloud Service updates are released on a quarterly basis. You can set a maintenance window to determine the time your quarterly infrastructure maintenance will begin. You can also view scheduled maintenance runs and the maintenance history of your Exadata Cloud@Customer in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. For more information, see the following:
  • Set the Automatic Maintenance Schedule for Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure
  • View or Edit the Time of the Next Scheduled Maintenance for Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure
  • View the Maintenance History of Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure

In exceptional cases, Oracle might need to update your system apart from the regular quarterly updates to apply time-sensitive changes such as security updates. While you cannot opt out of these infrastructure updates, Oracle alerts you in advance through the Cloud Notification Portal to help you plan for them.

Set the Automatic Maintenance Schedule for Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure

Learn how to set the maintenance schedule for an Exadata Cloud@Customer infrastructure.

  1. Open the navigation menu. Under Database, click Exadata Cloud@Customer.
  2. Choose your Compartment.
  3. Click Exadata Infrastructure.
  4. In the list of Exadata Infrastructures, find the infrastructure you want to set the maintenance window for and click its highlighted name.
  5. On the infrastructure details page, under Maintenance, click the edit link in the Maintenance Details field.
  6. In the Edit Automatic Maintenance page, select Specify a schedule.
  7. Under Maintenance months, specify at least one month for each quarter during which Exadata infrastructure maintenance will take place. You can select more than one month per quarter. If you specify a long lead time for advanced notification (for example, 4 weeks), you may wish to specify 2 or 3 months per quarter during which maintenance runs can occur. This will ensure that your maintenance updates are applied in a timely manner after accounting for your required lead time. Lead time is discussed in the following steps.
  8. Optional. Under Week of the month, specify which week of the month maintenance will take place. Weeks start on the 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd days of the month, and have a duration of 7 days. Weeks start and end based on calendar dates, not days of the week. Maintenance cannot be scheduled for the fifth week of months that contain more than 28 days. If you do not specify a week of the month, Oracle will run the maintenance update in a week to minimize disruption.
  9. Optional. Under Day of the week, specify the day of the week on which the maintenance will occur. If you do not specify a day of the week, Oracle will run the maintenance update on a weekend day to minimize disruption.
  10. Optional. Under Start hour, specify the hour during which the maintenance run will begin. If you do not specify a start hour, Oracle will pick the least disruptive time to run the maintenance update.
  11. Under Lead Time, specify the minimum number of weeks ahead of the maintenance event you would like to receive a notification message. Your lead time ensures that a newly released maintenance update is scheduled to account for your required minimum period of advanced notification.
  12. Click Save Changes.
View or Edit the Time of the Next Scheduled Maintenance for Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure

Learn how to view and edit the time of the next scheduled maintenance.

  1. Open the navigation menu. Under Database, click Exadata Cloud@Customer.
  2. Choose your Compartment.
  3. Click Exadata Infrastructure.
  4. In the list of Exadata Infrastructures, find the infrastructure you want to set the maintenance window for and click its highlighted name.
  5. On the infrastructure details page, under Maintenance, click the view link in the Next Maintenance field.
  6. On the Maintenance page, scheduled maintenance events are listed.
  7. Optional. To change the time of the next scheduled maintenance, click the Edit link in the Scheduled Start Time field.
  8. In the Edit Infrastructure Maintenance Scheduled Start Time page, enter a date and time in the Scheduled Start time field.
    The following restrictions apply:
    • Infrastructure maintenance cannot be rescheduled to occur more than six months after the announcement of the maintenance update's availability. If a new patch is announced prior to your rescheduled maintenance run, the newer patch will be applied on your specified date. You can reschedule your maintenance to take place earlier than it is currently scheduled. You cannot reschedule start time less than two hours from the current time.
    • Oracle reserves certain dates each quarter for internal maintenance operations, and you cannot schedule your maintenance on these dates.
View the Maintenance History of Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure

Learn how to view the maintenance history for an Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure.

  1. Open the navigation menu. Under Database, click Exadata Cloud@Customer.
  2. Choose your Compartment.
  3. Click Exadata Infrastructure.
  4. In the list of Exadata Infrastructures, find the infrastructure you want to set the maintenance window for and click its highlighted name.
  5. On the infrastructure details page, under Maintenance, click the view link in the Next Maintenance field.
  6. Click Maintenance History to see a list of past maintenance events including details on their completion state.

Monitoring Patching Operations Using Lifecycle State Information

The lifecycle state of your infrastructure resource (either the cloud Exadata infrastructure or the DB system resource) enables you to monitor when the patching of your infrastructure resource begins and ends. In the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console, you can see lifecycle state details messages on the Exadata Infrastructure Details or DB System Details page when a tool tip is displayed beside the Status field. You can also access these messages using the ListExadataInfrastructures API, and using tools based on the API, including SDKs and the OCI CLI.

During patching operations, you can expect the following:
  • If you specify a maintenance window, then patching begins at your specified start time. The patching process starts with a series of prerequisite checks to ensure that your system can be successfully patched. These checks take approximately 30 minutes to complete. While the system is performing the checks, the infrastructure resource's lifecycle state remains "Available," and there is no lifecycle state message.

    For example, if you specify that patching should begin at 8:00 a.m., then Oracle begins patching operations at 8:00, but the infrastructure resource's lifecycle state does not change from "Available" to "Maintenance in Progress" until approximately 8:30 a.m.

  • When Exadata compute node patching starts, the infrastructure resource's lifecycle state is "Maintenance in Progress", and the associated lifecycle state message is "The underlying infrastructure of this system (dbnodes) is being updated."
  • When cell storage patching starts, the infrastructure resource's lifecycle state is "Maintenance in Progress", and the associated lifecycle state message is "The underlying infrastructure of this system (cell storage) is being updated and this will not impact Database availability."
  • After cell patching is complete, the networking switches are patched one at a time, in a rolling fashion.
  • When patching is complete, the infrastructure resource's lifecycle state is "Available", and the Console and API-based tools do not provide a lifecycle state message.

Receive Notifications about Your Infrastructure Maintenance Updates

There are two ways to receive notifications. One is through email to infrastructure maintenance contacts and the other one is to subscribe to the maintenance events and get notified.

Oracle schedules maintenance run of your infrastructure based on your scheduling preferences and sends email notifications to all your infrastructure maintenance contacts. You can login to the console and view details of the schedule maintenance run. Appropriate maintenance related events will be generated as Oracle prepares for your scheduled maintenance run, for example, precheck, patching started, patching end, and so on. For more information about all maintenance related events, see Exadata Cloud@Customer Infrastructure Patching Event Types. In case, if there are any failures, then Oracle reschedules your maintenance run, generates related notification, and notifies your infrastructure maintenance contacts.

For more information about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Events, see Overview of Events. To receive additional notifications other than the ones sent to infrastructure maintenance contacts, you can subscribe to infrastructure maintenance events and get notified using the Oracle Notification service, see Notifications Overview.

Infrastructure Maintenance Contacts

Maintenance contacts are required for service request based communications for hardware replacement and other maintenance events.

Add a primary maintenance contact and optionally add a maximum of nine secondary contacts. Both the primary and secondary contacts receive all notifications about hardware replacement, network issues, and software maintenance runs.

You can promote any secondary contacts as the primary anytime you want. When you promote a secondary contact to primary, the current primary contact will be demoted automatically to secondary.

For more information, see: Using the Console to Create Infrastructure and Managing Infrastructure Maintenance Contacts.