By Joel Peréz ACED.gifSkant Gupta


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Hi readers


Here one more article about managing databases in Cloud. Sometimes a frequent question I receive from some readers is: Can I upgrade my Cloud Database in Place ?

Talking this point with experts in this area, the answer is: No.. you can not upgrade your Cloud DB in place.. you have to create a new Cloud database service and move-to & upgrade your DB at the new Cloud Computing node(s). Of course this is an scope out of Autonomous databases which has the capability to self-upgrade in place.


When you create your database Cloud service is very explicit that you choose one software version. Up to now it's only available:

  • 11gR2
  • 12cR1
  • 12cR2
  • 18c ( Very soon , starting December 2018 )


So.. basically the Cloud service create a compute cloud node with an specific database software version that can not be changed by the user since all this configuration was already pre-created and fixed to use without software changes beyond the patches to apply.


Upgrade has been always a big matter for enterprises that does not want to stop the production activity because of an upgrade.. and when they are decided to do it, they want to do it as fastest possible.

Oracle Multitenant architecture offer us a lot of capabilities and modes to upgrade-move-cloning our DBs and PDBs with more versatility than how is done with regular non-CDB.


12cR1 was release in 2013,  Oracle Multitenant architecture came with a lot of new functionalities, one of them were the new facilities to upgrade. At the beginning "personally I thought" the upgrade of PDBs database could be done "in hot mode".. something like that.. as the PDB's Clone is done in 12cR2. But the reality is that you have still to stop your database to move-upgrade your PDB even between the higher versions available in this moment.


Here  my friend and expert colleague "Mike Dietrich" ( Oracle Corp. Master Product Manager in Database Upgrades and Migrations ) clarify that point in a great article written by him but focused in Cloning. This technique apply exactly same when you are working "On-prem" and "Cloud".

Cloning and moving is not the same but the important thing, you can realize in this article is that at the end you have to carry out an upgrade process when you clone-move your PDB from 12cR1 to 12cR2.


So.. the title of this post is: It's possible to upgrade my Cloud DB in Place ?, answer: No.. you have to create a new Cloud database service and move-upgrade your DB with the same methods known up to now, there is not any difference if you are "On-prem" or "Cloud" at the time of moving-upgrade your database to another host/"Cloud Compute Node", basically the software can not be changed of version in traditional Oracle Cloud Database Services.


If I have a PDB the upgrade process can be more smooth between 12cR1 to 12cR2 than if I have non-CDB ?

Answer: you can take advantage of the new moving capabilities of PDB between containers but anyway you have to stop your production database because there is an “Upgrade Process” that requires the total control of the database.


The article written by Mike Dietrich will help you to understand deeply this point.


Cloning a PDB from Oracle 12.1 to Oracle 12.2


If you are planning to upgrade to 12.2, these overview advices can be useful for "On-prem" & "Cloud"




Oracle's general recommendation for upgrade to a new major version is to do an out-of-place upgrade (moving data and settings to a new ORACLE_HOME and upgrade there, leaving the original intact). In DBCS, the simplest and best way to do this is to keep the original DBCS instance intact and move data and settings to a new instance.



At the simplest level, the general process would be:


    Create the new DBCS instance (which has the software installed)

    Move the database to the new instance

    Upgrade the database


Upgrade Methods



The above steps can be done in several ways. For simplicity sake, all examples given will be for upgrading to 12.2 but the approaches can be used to upgrade to 12.1 as well.



A. Move 12.1 PDB to the new 12.2 Instance


    By far the easiest and fastest method

    Non-CDB 12.1 databases can be converted to Multitenant architecture. We highly recommend this for many reasons, and since the non-CDB architecture is deprecated in 12.2, this is a great time to convert. For information and resources on Multitenant Architeture see the Multitenant topic on Oracle Technology Network.



B. Use the backup cloud service


    This combines steps 1 & 2 by backing up to the Database Backup Cloud Service, and using that backup to create the 12.2 instance

    Straightforward, supported by existing DBCS cloud tooling

    Requires command-line upgrade (step 3) after restore



C. Copy the database from existing instance into the new 12.2 instance


    After creating the 12.2 DBCS instance, drop the default database and copy the data files, control files, etc., from your instance

    Could use data guard to eliminate downtime for the move in this case

    Also requires command-line upgrade



D. Use data pump expdp/impdp to migrate to 12.2


    Use this to implement new features, change partitioning, get a "clean" data dictionary, etc

    This combines steps 2 and 3 into the data pump expdp/impdp, and could go from non-CDB to PDB if desired



E. Use full transportable expdp/impdp


    Similar to data pump expdp/impdp, but likely a lot faster if you have a large amount of data

    Less flexible than data pump expdp/impdp in terms of implementing features


Encrypted Tablespaces in 12.2



All DBCS 12.2 tablespaces are encrypted. If the database you are upgrading is not encrypted, currently the only way to get your data into 12.2 is with data pump ("D" above). A future version of DBCS tooling will allow other methods to be used as well and will be announced in the DBCS What's New documentation page when available.


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Author Bios:


Joel Pérez is an Expert DBA ( Oracle ACE Director, Maximum Availability OCM, OCM Cloud Admin. & OCM12c/11g ) with over 17 years of Real World Experience in Oracle Technology, specialised in design and implement solutions of: High Availability, Disaster Recovery, Upgrades, Replication, Cloud and all area related to Oracle Databases. International consultant with duties, conferences & activities in more than 50 countries and countless clients around the world. Habitual and one of leading writers of Technical Oracle articles for: OTN Spanish, Portuguese, English and more. Regular Speaker in worldwide Oracle events  like: OTN LAD (Latin America), OTN MENA (Middle East & Africa), OTN APAC ( Asian Pacific), DTCC China, Oracle Code.. . Joel has always been known for being a pioneer in Oracle technology since the early days of his career being the first Latin American awarded as “OTN Expert” at year 2003 by Oracle Corp., one of the first “Oracle ACE” globally in the Oracle ACE Program at year 2004. He was honoured as one of the first “OCM Database Cloud Administrator” & Maximum Availability OCM in the world. Currently Joel works as Senior Cloud Database Architect in “Yunhe Enmo (Beijing) Technology Co.,Ltd”., company located in Beijing, China


Skant Gupta is an Oracle Certified Cloud Professional in Oracle Database 12c, an Oracle Certified Expert in Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) in Oracle Database 11g and 12c, and an Oracle Exadata Certified and an Oracle Certified Professional in Oracle Database 10g, 11g, and 12c. He works at Vodafone Technology in the UK and formerly worked as a senior DBA at Etisalat in Dubai. He has six years of experience with various Oracle technologies, focusing mainly on Cloud, database, and high availability solutions, Oracle WebLogic Suite, Oracle Exadata and Oracle GoldenGate. He has presented at several Oracle user groups worldwide, most recently in the US, the United Arab Emirates, and the India. Skant website link: