Keeping on top of techstack patching with eBusiness Suite

Once an eBusiness Suite environment is installed, configured and up and running, patches will typically be applied in the following circumstances:

  1. To fix a specific bug or a problem
  2. Mandatory patches for legislative or legal reasons
  3. To keep the system meeting minimum required support levels
  4. Security patching
  5. To activate new features or modules
  6. Planned upgrade

These are all to one degree or another reactive patching exercises in response to a customer’s explicitly stated requirements.

However, all good Apps DBAs should also be recommending and performing proactive patching on the technology stack components of eBusiness Suite. This keeps the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the system up-to-date with all of the latest features and bug fixes.

Whenever there is a planned patching exercise or other maintenance activities on a system, I always check to see whether there are new techstack patches that can or should be included as well. I then present my findings to the customer with my recommendations and rationale.

  • If the customer approves, then the additional patches are applied and are tested along with the planned patches
  • (Or) If the customer wants to only apply a specific fix for a specific issue and does not want to widen the scope, then that is fine too!

Identifying new technology stack patches

The sort of patches we are interested in are not those that directly impact the functionality of the application. Oracle release family pack updates, minipacks, rollup patches and Recommended Patch Collections (RPCs) for the ‘transactional’ modules but those sorts of updates require careful planning and are not something that can just be tagged on to something else.

What we are interested in are the techstack patches and there are some useful notes on My Oracle Support that I keep as favourites and check, I have outlined these below for you:

eBusiness Suite 12.1

Question Oracle Note to check
What is the latest Applications DBA (AD) minipack and do I already have that? <have to search for the latest readme>
What is the latest Oracle Applications Manager (ADO) minipack and so I have that? Oracle E-Business Suite Releases 11i and 12.x: Required Updates for Patch Wizard (Doc ID 1267768.1)
What is the latest Framework (FWK) minipack and do I already have that? Oracle Application Framework Release Notes for Release 12.1 RUP Patchsets (Doc ID 1931412.1)
Do I have the latest recommended patches for my 10.1.2 Oracle Home? Upgrading OracleAS 10g Forms and Reports in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 437878.1)
Do I have the latest recommended patches for my 10.1.3 Oracle Home? Upgrading to the Latest OracleAS 10g 10.1.3.x Patch Set in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 454811.1)
Have I got the latest recommended patches for AutoConfig? Using AutoConfig to Manage System Configurations in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 387859.1)
Have I got the latest recommended patches for RapidClone? Cloning Oracle Applications Release 12 with Rapid Clone (Doc ID 406982.1)
Are there are new critical 12c databases patches recommended? Interoperability Notes EBS 12.0 or 12.1 with RDBMS 12cR1 (Doc ID 1524398.1)
Am I on the latest Patchset version of the database? Quick Reference to Patch Numbers for Database PSU, SPU(CPU), Bundle Patches and Patchsets (Doc ID 1454618.1)
Do I have the latest Java server-side patches? Using JDK 7.0 Latest Update with Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0 and 12.1 (Doc ID 1467892.1)
Am I on the latest version of the JRE Plugin and are there any new interoperability patches to apply? Deploying JRE (Native Plug-in) for Windows Clients in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 393931.1)
Do I have all of the recommended interoperability patches for the latest internet browser versions? Recommended Browsers for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 389422.1)

eBusiness Suite 12.2

Happily, this exercise is much easier for eBusiness Suite 12.2 as Oracle bundle up this information into a single note:

  • Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.2: Consolidated List of Patches and Technology Bug Fixes (Doc ID 1594274.1).

Within Oracle eBusiness Suite itself, the Patch Wizard can be used to list the latest recommended patches for the core technology products and transactional modules, however this only lists eBusiness Suite application patches and not those for the database or application server.

The first time going through all of these Notes can take some time and the list of patches to apply can be quite large – but take heart! After the first iteration, proactively checking these Notes on a periodic basis will mean that you won’t fall too far behind with these patches in future and catching up with the latest ones becomes a doddle with only one or two to do (and sometimes there are no new ones to do).

Why apply these patches at all?

There are several advantages to applying these patches on a periodic, proactive ad hoc basis:

  • Known Oracle bugs in the current version are fixed
  • Easier to get Oracle Support to respond on Service Requests, only if it can be proven that the system already has all of the recommended technology stack patches applied to it
  • Uptake of the latest security fixes for the technology stack
  • Uptake of the latest performance fixes for the technology stack
  • Ensures that the system is already compliant with any client-side rollouts of later versions of Windows operating systems, Java versions, Office versions or Internet Explorer versions
  • Proactively applied technology stack patches that will one day be mandatory pre-requisites for future functional patches – this is especially true for HCM RUP patches
  • Looks great to auditors!
  • Reduces the effort and downtime of future upgrade projects by starting from a later point on the current environment
  • Even if the customer is particularly risk-adverse and only wants to apply patches to fix specific problems in a reactive way, the effort is still not wasted and the ‘missing’ techstack patches can be documented for the future!

Of course introducing any sort of change carries risk and there could be new bugs introduced into the system that were not there before. However, a robust testing strategy should be able to capture these before they make it to the live environment – and if the system is being tested anyway for some planned patches, there is no additional testing effort that is required!

At Claremont we pride ourselves on our proactivity and implement this process as a matter of course; as a result we achieve stable systems and happy customers (as evidenced by our customer satisfaction scores!)

By Author

Kevin Behan

Oracle Applications DBA

Kevin is an Oracle Applications DBA with over 15 years experience in Oracle. Kevin is responsible for supporting numerous database and applications across Claremont’s customer base.

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