Note 888828.1 in MOS is the leading document on Exadata patching.
In short until July 2013 for the then latest oracle software version 184.108.40.206 (dbs and grid) every month a new bundle patch is released for older versions like 220.127.116.11 the release frequency is lower.
Now Oracle supports new releases 12c and 18.104.22.168 on Exadata and the release frequency has changed to every quarter.
For the OS on the cell (or firmware on the cell) every quarter a new version is released.
For the OS on the db node you can build a local yum server or use a mounted iso image to update the OS combined with the cell update.
Every quarter a full bundle is released containing the latest patches for all Exadata components.
The recommended patch frequency is every three months (to be honest I only patch twice a year) but before patching track if there are issues for a period of 6 to 8 weeks before applying to prod systems.
You just need to apply Bundle Patches
Bundle Patches are the quarterly patches for Exadata (and Windows) which include both the quarterly security patches as well as recommended fixes.
Sami & Tycho,
Thank yo ufor the helpful replies concerning patch release schedules and application of Bundle Patches. I have gone through 888828.1 several times and have a basic understanding of how the Bundle Pathces work although we just set up our Exadata and have not applied any patched on it yet. So here is my initial, restated question in regards to PSUs versus CPUs (I am only speaking of DB patches at this moment).
To date on all of our DB servers, we have not been allowed to apply PSUs - only CPUs. With these DB Bundle patches, will we be able to just select the 'option' of applying a CPU (versus) PSU or is there no way to break them out and you are always forced to 'take' the PSU. I would hope we have a way of making the choice within these Bundle Packs. Thank you!
I have only applied full bundle patches and never did a partial patch from a bundle.
The readme that comes with the bundle patch only explains how to apply the full bundle as well.
The concept of the engineered systems is to have standardized patch levels on a base install of the software for ease of support.
I am afraid Oracle will not offer you the choice within the bundle packs.
Thanks for clearing up my last minute follow-up questions. I believe I have a better going-forward approach to present to our managmenet in regards to patching now.