Upgrading in the cloud – VM DB Systems

This is the first post in a series on the entry-level database system in OCI – being Virtual Machine DB System (VM DB System). You don’t get the same specs as with Exadata DB Systems and Bare Metal DB Systems, but it is much more affordable and still a very good platform. There is good tooling that allows most operations to be fully automated. Upgrades can be made in two ways:

  1. Automated
  2. Manual


Since November 2020 it is possible to upgrade a database to Oracle Database 19c using the cloud tooling. However, your DB System must meet these requirements:

  • Oracle Linux 7
  • Grid Infrastructure (GI) 19 (only for systems with ASM)

To check the OS version:

[oracle@host]$ cat /etc/os-release

To check GI version:

[grid@host]$ crsctl query crs activeversion

If your system doesn’t meet these requirements either:

  • Move the database to a new DB System that meets these requirements via cloning or backup/restore, or
  • Use the manual approach

At time of writing, if you must upgrade to any other version than Oracle Database 19c you have to do it manually.


There are some limitations that you must be aware of that makes manual upgrading slightly different.

  • It is not supported to install a second database Oracle Home. You must use the one that is supplied when the system is provisioned. If you need a new database Oracle Home, you must provision a new system.
  • It is not supported to upgrade the Grid Infrastructure.
  • It is not supported to upgrade the operating system.
  • It is not supported to drop the existing CDB and create your own. It is, however, supported to drop the pre-created CDB and replace it with a backup (and we will discuss this option later).
  • You can only provision systems with multitenant architecture.

Having said that, there are some advantages to do manual upgrades:

  • You are in full control
  • You can decide exactly how to perform the upgrade
  • It can be faster because you can customize the upgrade, and you can avoid some of the tasks that the tooling does.

But the downside is that you will need to move the database to a new VM DB System.

Choose a Method

Automated upgrade is easy – manual upgrade is faster and with more control. When you have decided on a method read the other blog post in the series for much more information and demoes.

Other Posts in This Series

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