I generally don’t spend a lot of time surfing around Metalink. Normally, I get in, find the bug or patch or whatever thing I need, and get out. However, my current project involves a database upgrade for a very performance-sensitive application (they have an SLA that they actually have to honor–or honour for my UK friends :), so I’ve been doing a bit of research. Coincidentally, a posting to Oracle-L recently allowed me to mention one of my research findings and several subscribers (one publicly) there responded that they had never seen the document and that it was great. Well, it really is great and Oracle Support or whomever it is that supplied the content deserves a great round of applause for putting it together.

The document of which I speak is the Oracle 10g Upgrade Companion. This document contains more than just the upgrade steps, but starts with a list of recommended patches, then goes on to include sections on Behavior Changes (this is especially valuable and absent from most other upgrade plans), Best Practices for the upgrade process, and Documentation references. While I am reporting that this is a great resource, I have two general suggestions for improvement (see there how I replaced “complaints” with “suggestions for improvement”…that’s got to be in a management book somewhere):

  1. It’s 2008. While I agree that there are still lots of 9i databases running in production and in need of upgrading (such as the project I’m working on now), the publish (or is it update?) date of November 26, 2007 on this document is too late to help a lot of sites that have already done the 9i > 10g move. I hope that this same format can be adopted for a similar 11g Upgrade Companion that we can have available in the next quarter of *this* year. No doubt, it took quite a lot of effort to assemble, but it isn’t like 11g is really news–I was working with 11g betas starting in late 2006.
  2. The format of the document is “special.” I presume that this document was formatted “special” such that it would be difficult to copy/print/save. On that point, I think we all know that there are myriad plugins and hacks to get what we want from the web, so that’s a wasted effort. However, the format is pleasing to the user: lots of expandable sections making it easy to skip over things that don’t apply to you. I, for one, would find it very valuable to save this document including all its parts in a format (like PDF) that is easy to use and access when offline. Believe it or not, some high-security (and even some not-so-high) facilities restrict internet access–especially for us consultants (one guy surfing for porn probably ruined it for the rest of us).

So, the punchline is the document location. To access the 10g Upgrade Companion, go to Metalink Note 466181.1 (login required).

I also encountered a similarly-formatted and very useful repository of information in the Oracle Performance Diagnostic Guide (OPDG). I haven’t studied this document quite as much, but the information and references to other notes appear to be very valuable. This is available (with similar formatting to the Upgrade Companion) as Metalink Note 390374.1 (login required).

Finally, earlier today, an interesting couple of notes were referenced in a post to the Oracle-L list by Hemant K Chitale. They reference a relatively nasty bug in 9i databases related to chactersets and the create database statement. See for yourself at Metalink Note 469972.1 and Note 240764.1. Thanks to Hemant for bringing these to the community’s attention.

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    I was just trying to solve this issue – thanks for a great post!

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