Patching Oracle Grid Infrastructure 19c – Beginner’s Guide

This is the start of a blog post series on patching Oracle Grid Infrastructure 19c (GI). It is supposed to be easy to follow, so that I may have skipped a detail here and there.

I know my way around database patching. I have done it countless times. When it comes to GI, it’s the other way around. I have never really done it in the real world (i.e., before joining Oracle) and my knowledge was limited. I told my boss, Mike, and he gave me a challenge: Learn about it by writing a blog post series.

Why Do I Need to Patch Oracle Grid Infrastructure

Like any other piece of software, you need to patch GI to get rid of security issues and fix issues.

You should keep the GI and Oracle Database patch level in sync. This means that you need to patch GI and your Oracle Database at the same cadence. Ideally, that cadence is quarterly.

It is supported to run GI and Oracle Database at different patch levels as long as they are on the same release. GI is also certified to run some of the older Oracle Database releases. This is useful in upgrade projects. Check Oracle Clusterware (CRS/GI) – ASM – Database Version Compatibility (Doc ID 337737.1) for details.

A few examples:

GI Database Supported
19.18.0 19.18.0 Yes – recommended
19.16.0 19.18.0 Yes
19.18.0 19.16.0 Yes
19.18.0 Yes – used during upgrade, for instance
19.18.0 21.9.0 No

If possible and not too cumbersome, I recommend that you first patch GI and then Oracle Database. Some prefer to patch the two components in two separate operations, while others do it in one operation.

Which Patches Should You Apply to Oracle Grid Infrastructure

You should apply:

Whether you download the bundle patches individually or go with the combo patch is a matter of personal preference. Ultimately, they contain the same.

Some prefer an N-1 approach: When the April Release Update comes, they patch with the previous one from January; Always one quarter behind. For stability reasons, I assume.

What about OJVM patches for GI? The short answer is no.

Which Method Do I Use For Patching

You can patch in two ways:

  • In-place patching
  • Out-of-place patching
In-place Out-of-place
You apply patches to an existing Grid Home. You apply patches to a new Grid Home.
You need disk space for the patches. You need disk space for a brand new Grid Home and the patches.
You patch the existing Grid Home. When you start patching a node, GI drains all connections and moves services to other nodes. The node is down during patching. You create and patch a new Grid Home without downtime. You complete patching by switching to the new Grid Home. The node is down only during switching.
Longer node downtime. Shorter node downtime.
No changes to profile and scripts. Profile, scripts and the like must be updated to reflect the new Grid Home.
My recommended method.

Note: When I write node downtime, it does not mean database downtime. I discuss it shortly.

In other words:

In-place patching replaces the Oracle Clusterware software with the newer version in the same Grid home. Out-of-place upgrade has both versions of the same software present on the nodes at the same time, in different Grid homes, but only one version is active.

Oracle Fleet Patching and Provisioning

When you have more systems to manage, it is time to consider Fleet Patching and Provisioning (FPP).

Oracle Fleet Patching & Provisioning is the recommended solution for performing lifecycle operations (provisioning, patching & upgrades) across entire Oracle Grid Infrastructure and Oracle RAC Database fleets and the default solution used for Oracle Database Cloud services

It will make your life so much easier; more about that in a later blog post.

Zero Downtime Oracle Grid Infrastructure Patching

As of 19.16.0 you can also do Zero Downtime Oracle Grid Infrastructure Patching (ZDOGIP).

Use the zero-downtime Oracle Grid Infrastructure patching method to keep your Oracle RAC database instances running and client connections active during patching.

ZDOGIP is an extension to out-of-place patching. But ZDGIOP will not update the operating system drivers and will not bring down the Oracle stack (database instance, listener etc.). The new GI takes over control of the Oracle stack without users noticing. However, you must update the operating system drivers by taking down the node. But you can postpone it to a later point in time.

More details about ZDGIOP in a later blog post.

What about Oracle Database Downtime

When you patch GI on a node, the node is down. You don’t need to restart the operating system itself, but you do shut down the entire GI stack, including everything GI manages (database, listeners etc.).

What does that mean for Oracle Database?

Single Instance

If you have a single instance database managed by GI, your database is down during patching. Your users will experience downtime. By using out-of-place patching, you can reduce downtime.

Data Guard

If you have a Data Guard configuration, you can hide the outage from the end users.

First, you patch GI on your standby databases, then perform a switchover, and finally patch GI on the former primary database.

The only interruption is the switchover; a brownout period while the database switches roles. In the brownout period, the database appears to hang, but underneath the hood, you wait for the role switch to complete and connect to the new primary database.

If you have configured your application properly, it will not encounter any ORA-errors. Your users experience a short hang and continue as if nothing had happened.


If you have a RAC database, you can perform the patching in a rolling manner – node by node.

When you take down a node for patching, GI tells connections to drain from the affected instances and connect to other nodes.

If your application is properly configured, it will react to the drain events and connect seamlessly to another instance. The end users will not experience any interruption nor receive any errors.

If you haven’t configured your application properly or your application doesn’t react in due time, the connections will be forcefully terminated. How that will affect your users depend on the application. But it won’t look pretty.

Unless you configure Application Continuity. If so, the database can replay any in-flight transaction. From a user perspective, all looks fine. They won’t even notice that they have connected to a new instance and that the database replayed their transaction.

Happy Patching!


Other Blog Posts in This Series

Further Reading

10 thoughts on “Patching Oracle Grid Infrastructure 19c – Beginner’s Guide

  1. Hello Daniel,

    I am really looking forward to this series! Always good to get new angles of the patching process.

    Kind Regards


  2. Good morning Daniel,

    I am currently using the opatchauto OOP approach. Hope to see the „true“ OOP with a new home deployed before the update.

    This will probably be too much for a beginne’s Guide, but it would be interesting to see how to rollback a failed update. Like killed in the middle of the upgrade – how to get back to the old home.



  3. Hi Daniel,

    Great subject to blog about – I think GI patching is not so well understood or blogged about
    so I am looking forward to following this one!

    It would be great if you can do something like Mikes “Patching my environments with the 2023 Bundle Patches” and show how Grid Infrastructure is part of this.

    It would be especially good if you could show both in place, and out of place patching, single instance / RAC and with and without Dataguard!

    Thanks again


  4. Hi Daniel,

    Very useful information from scratch one. Can you cover the Goldengate topic too??🤔



  5. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the ideas. I have added them to my list. “How-to” posts are already in the making. I like the idea of having posts for each scenario (single instances, DG, RAC, etc.). Let’s see if time allows.

    Stay tuned!


  6. Hi Rupesh,

    Thanks. Currently, I am very busy with Oracle Grid Infrastructure and the patching topic.

    In the future, Oracle GoldenGate could be a cool blog post series as well. What specifically do you have in mind? “Just” how to patch OGG or other things as well?



  7. Hi Daniel,

    Sounds good. With OGG patching if you include topology which goldengate supports it’ll be very useful.



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