Oracle 12c RAC Upgrade: Moving from Solaris-10 to Solaris-11 and from 11G to 12c

Slightly different question that my previous post, but same subject.  Decided to open new question.  My customer became very nervous with our myriad of problems with my team’s rehearsing upgrading from Oracle RAC database with Solaris-10.  We stumbled significantly with an out of date OS requiring many patches, several needed Grid Infrastructure patches, before getting to the upgrade, and then still not yet successful.

New approach:  Customer is now considering upgrading to Solaris-11 first, and then updating RAC database from 11G to 12c.  Experts, need your wisdom and experience.  For sure a full RMAN backup and then validated back will be my first order of business, after that …..  Appreciate recommendations, suggestions, etc.. Thanks!
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Mark GeerlingsDatabase AdministratorCommented:
I have no Solaris experience, but I have usually done similar Oracle and O/S upgrades at the same time as a hardware upgrade.  That gave me the luxury of installing the new O/S version on clean hardware, and installing the new Oracle version in a clean O/S.  That approach also has the advantage of leaving the current production server, O/S and database untouched, so it is very easy to go back to (or stay on) if there is a problem with transferring the data or re-connecting all of the users to the new database.

The main disadvantage with this approach is the fact that many significant parts of the system are changing at the same time: server hardware; server O/S version and Oracle DB version.  If there is a problem shortly after the upgrade, it can be difficult then to determine where the problem is or exactly what to fix or patch.

And yes, especially if you don't have new server and storage hardware at the same time, make sure that you have a good RMAN backup of the database *PLUS* a good backup of the Oracle executables before you start an in-place upgrade of any part of the system.

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Richard OlutolaConsultantCommented:
As has been said already, a good backup which should also be "recovery-tested" to ensure it is good.

As you're deciding on going for OS upgrade at the same time and you don't have the luxury of a separate machine, I would consider the following steps:

1. Take Full Oracle backup
2. Take O/S backup/Image
3. Take my RAC out of RAC configuration
4. Upgrade O/S on Node 1 (while Node 2 is still available to users)
5. Upgrade Oracle on Node 1
6. Test Oracle is 'running', or fix until running
7. Upgrade O/S on Node 2
8. Upgrade Oracle on Node 2
9. Test Oracle is running on Node 2. Fix until functioning satisfactorily
10. 'Re-RAC'

Hope this makes some sense.

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