Oracle RAC Upgrade from 11.2.0.3 to 12.2

Thinking about different options to get to Oracle RAC 12.2 database from 11g. I've read Recovery manager can restore a backup taken on an older database version into new version. Is this scenario true and viable for our 2-node, Solaris-10, 11G RAC database to 12.2 environment? I know recovery manager has duplicate and upgrade options. Suspect this method would be more complicated than our current choice to upgrade database in place? Data Pump export/import would also be an option with a complete fresh 12.2 install. Although re-importing our multiple terabyte database would require a while to recover.
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sdrussAsked:
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Geert GOracle dbaCommented:
dunno for solaris,
but recovery manager (rman) can restore an older version database using the newer home software
however ... you still need to upgrade the database after the restore to be able to open it in the newer version home

i typically restore a single instance database into a newer home
then use it as standby until the go-live
upon go-live, switch off old, run a last sync so the standby is up to date
open in upgrade mode and upgrade it

downtime is about 30 min
size doesn't really matter in this scenario
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Mark GeerlingsDatabase AdministratorCommented:
I think Geert's suggestions are good.  I think the simplest and fastest (but maybe not the safest?) option would be to upgrade the database in-place.  Before doing this though, I would want a good backup of the database and the Oracle executables.  Ideally, you have a non-prod system that you can practice the upgrade on to make sure that you know (or learn) and document all of the steps, and get an idea of the time required.

I like the idea of a new install of Oracle12 and a complete DataPump export and DataPump import.  Yes, this will require more application downtime.  But, it will give you a cleaner system tablespace, and it will clean up any "chained row" problems or fragmented free space problems that your database may (or may not) have now.  If your application has caused many "chained rows" or has deleted lots of records from any tables, the improved performance you get after a full export and import (plus rebuilding all of the indexes) may (or may not) be dramatic.  An in-place upgrade will not have any effect on either "chained rows" or fragmented free space (and that will not force any index rebuilds either - but of course, you can do index rebuilds at any time, before or after an upgrade).
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Geert GOracle dbaCommented:
an in-place is not the safest solution indeed
it keeps you on the old hardware too

if you have problems with chained rows, practice an "alter move table" + rebuild indexes and provide time for it during the upgrade
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sdrussAuthor Commented:
Appreciate guys, I will have follow-on question regarding moving from Solari-10 to Solaris-11 and upgrade from Oracle 11.2.0.3 to 12.2.  Many thanks for sharing your wisdom!
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