Thursday, December 04, 2008

Upgrading clusterware/ASM from 10g to 11g - a complaint

I have a RAC setup with 3 environments; DEV, BCP and Production. So, starting with my development cluster, I made an attempt to upgrade the clusterware and ASM from 10g to 11g. That was quite painful. I will not spend much time complaining about the documentation here (and there is a lot I could say *grin*). But allow me to take a little tangent.

I collected all my "constructive criticisms" and suggestions into what I hoped was a cogent document and fired it off to Oracle Support and Erik Peterson of the RAC SIG. Erik forwarded my note to a document manager, and his response was overwhelmingly encouraging and very understanding. The Oracle Analyst in Support that picked up my case was also quick to understand my frustrations. Both of these two different groups were able to collaborate and redeliver a nutshell document that was supposed to supplant/supplement the online documentation.

For the clusterware upgrade, they hit it on the nose. I was able to upgrade the clusterware in my BCP environment with no problem. Well.... I admit, I am still very confused about the CRS and ASM software owners. There seems to be a push to use different users (in both cases) other than the normal "oracle" user. There is not much justification in the documentation, IMO; rather a bland "for security reasons" statement.

The ASM upgrade was a little more tricky. All the documentation that I have, including the new nutshell cookbook, indicate that ASM can be upgraded in a rolling fashion. That is a lie! *grin* I have a new SR open that is exploring this little nuance (or not so little, depending on how much time you have spent trying to wrap your head around this). Apparently, ASM Rolling Upgrades are available in 11gR2. Oh..... well, guess I'll just go download 11gR2 then. Wait - it is not available yet?!? So the documentation lists steps that are not applicable to any version that is currently available? Did I read the right?

So confusing. The good news is that I was able to complete the BCP upgrade with less pain. Since the documentation strongly suggests that one create a new ASM user, there are a ton of manual steps to follow if you choose to go that route. However, smart DBA that I am *sly grin*, I kept the same user and was able to use the DBUA to go from 10g to 11g ( to - that was sweet. Why would I want to switch users and go through many manual processes? What is the rationale for that? The patchset upgrade from to was less friendly. As I mentioned above, all the documentation states that you should do a rolling upgrade. This is not possible. So I hacked my way through; had to shutdown abort my instances which left shared memory segments hanging around that I had to manually kill off. Not a big deal, but the error messages can be very confusing (ie, ora-12547 TNS lost contanct).

I am looking forward to the document changes that will result from my contacts with Oracle.