Oracle introduces Patch Set Updates (PSU) for Database

On July 14th Oracle announced on MetaLink the release of a new patching strategy for the Oracle Database.

The new Patch Set Updates (PSU) will contain cumulative patches, which contain recommended bugfixes. They will be provided on a the same quarterly basis as the Critical Patch Update (CPU), therefore release months will be January, April, July and October. The Patch Set Update will be described in the release version. E.g. will be the first Patch Set Update (PSU), the second PSU etc.

As described in the release information, the PSU Patch (Patch 8576156) contains all the recommended patch bundles up to July 2009 (Generic, CRS, RAC, Services, DataGuard) as well as the Critical Patch Update July 2009. Moreover 5 additional critical bugfixes are included. OPatch version is required for installation of PSU and the PSU is rolling installable on RAC environments without downtime.

Later PSU patches can be installed on either the base release or on top of any previous PSU. For example, PSU can be installed on top of Base, PSU, PSU

As already mentioned, the customer has the option to install security patches only by installing the quarterly Critical Patch Update or to install security plus non-security bugfixes by installint the Patch Set Update (PSU). As the PSU already contains Critical Patch Update July 2009, the documentation states that future security patches are recommended to be installed not by CPU Patches but through PSU Patches.

Further information can be found in these MetaLink Notes:

854428.1 – Intro to Patch Set Updates (PSU)
850471.1 – Oracle Announces First Patch Set Update For Oracle Database Release 10.2
8576156.8 – Bug 8576156 Patch Set Update (PSU)
854473.1 – Known Issues with this Patch Set Update

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  1. Hi Martin,

    thanks for this useful info.

    Are you aware of any important one-off patches on top of that are not included in this PSU nor fixes are provided for them on top of

    I’ve done a search using Metalink and it reports more than 500 bugs on top of which is way too long for checking and it’s not a complete list(I’m not able to get a list of all known bugs affecting, it’s only a random one that consists of 500 entries).

    I’ve posted about one such one-off patch needed to be applied on top of before applying the PSU –
    which I think is an important issue because it can lead to unexpected primary db downtime.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Hi Adrian,

    thank you very much for your contribution. I am not aware of any specific patches. Somehow we have to trust Oracle that they “flag” important patches with “recommended”. Before PSUs, I checked the list of recommended patches in MetaLink for a specific platform and release but there is no guarantee that all needed, critical patches are listed.

    In my opinion, Oracle will include these important interim patches in future patchsets, patchset updates or other recommended patches if they are relevant to a high number of customers.

    There are many customers who do not install interim patches, patchset updates or recommended patches on production systems before they hit a specific bug. In my opinion, that does not make sense as there are so many bugs and it is only a matter of time, until they hit one.

    On the other hand, PSUs give us an optimal and easy way to get most of the critical bugfixes on a regular basis. However we have to be aware that not all bugfixes are included and there is still the possibility of hitting a critical issue, although the probability is much lower than without PSUs.

    Best regards,

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