How to Clone Oracle Home Without Using

Cloning Oracle Homes is a convenient way of getting a new Oracle Home. It’s particularly helpful when you need to patch out-of-place.

A popular method for cloning Oracle Homes is to use However, in Oracle Database 18c, it is deprecated.

[INFO] [INS-32183] Use of is deprecated in this release. Clone operation is equivalent to performing a Software Only installation from the image. 
You must use runInstaller script available to perform the Software Only install. For more details on image based installation, refer to help documentation.

This Is How You Should Clone Oracle Home

You should use runInstaller to create golden images instead of Golden image is just another word for the zip file containing the Oracle Home.

How to Create a Golden Image

  1. First, you create a directory where you can store the golden image:
    export GOLDIMAGEDIR=/u01/app/oracle/goldimages
    mkdir -p $GOLDIMAGEDIR
  2. Then, you create the golden image:
    $ORACLE_HOME/runInstaller -createGoldImage \
       -destinationLocation $GOLDIMAGEDIR \
  3. The installer creates the golden image as a zip file in the specified directory. The name of the zip file is unique and printed on the console.

Check the documentation for further details.

How to Deploy from a Golden Image

  1. First, you create a directory for the new Oracle Home and unzip the golden image:
    export ORACLE_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/product/19.0.0/dbhome_2
    mkdir -p $ORACLE_HOME
    unzip -q /u01/app/oracle/goldimages/
  2. Next, you need to install the Oracle Home. You can do it interactively:
    Or, you can do it in silent mode:
    ./runInstaller -ignorePrereq -waitforcompletion -silent \

That’s it!

If you need to read further on silent installations, check out

The Oracle Database 23c documentation has an good example of using use the new procedure.

But How about OraInst.loc?

One of the differences between and runInstaller is that the latter does not include the file $ORACLE_HOME/oraInst.loc.

This is intentional because the file is not needed for golden image deployment. runInstaller recreates the file when you install the golden image.

One of the things listed in oraInst.loc is the location of the Oracle inventory. Either runInstaller finds the value itself, or you can specify it on the command line using INVENTORY_LOCATION=<path-to-inventory>.

You can read more about oraInst.loc in the documentation or MOS note Significance of oraInst.loc When Installing Oracle Products and Applying Patches (Doc ID 418537.1).

Naming Your Golden Image

If you want your zip file (the golden image) to have a specific name, you have two options:

  1. Rename the zip file after executing runInstaller -createGoldImage.
  2. Use the secret parameter -name, which allows you to specify a name for the zip file. To name the zip file
    $ORACLE_HOME/runInstaller -createGoldImage \
       ... \

Why Is Deprecated?

Previously, many tools existed to do the same – clone an Oracle Home. Now, we have consolidated our resources into one tool.

From now on, there is one method for cloning Oracle Home. That is easier for everyone.

In addition, runInstaller has some extra features that doesn’t. For instance:

  • Better error reporting
  • Precheck run
  • Multimode awareness
  • Ability to apply patches during installation

When Will It Be Desupported?

I don’t know. Keep an eye out on the Upgrade Guide, which contains information about desupported features.

However, I can see in the Oracle Database 23c documentation that is still listed. But that’s subject to change until Oracle Database 23c is released.

Pro Tips

  • Remember, you can install patches to your golden image after it has been unzipped – as part of the installation.

  • If you clone Oracle Homes because you are doing out-of-place patching, you are on the right track. I strongly recommend always using out-of-place patching. Also, when you patch out-of-place, remember to move all the database configuration files.

  • If you clone Oracle Homes, you keep adding stuff to the same Oracle Home. Over time the Oracle Home will increase in size. The more patches you install over time, the more the Oracle Home increases in size. OPatch has functionality to clean up inactive patches from an Oracle Home. Consider running it from time to time using opatch util deleteinactivepatches. Mike Dietrich has a really good blog post about it.


Thanks to Anil Nair for pointing me in the right direction.

Further Reading

Installing Oracle Database 19c and All the Things to Put on Top

When you prepare for patching or upgrading Oracle Database 19c, you must also prepare an Oracle Home. Installing the Oracle Home is easy, but there is more to it.

Out-of-place Installation

I always use out-of-place installation. I install a new, fresh Oracle Home. I will move the databases into that Oracle Home as I upgrade or patch.

The alternative, in-place installation, leads to more downtime, is more error-prone, and makes fallback more complicated. In addition, in-place installation will gradually slow down patching; as Mike Dietrich describes in Binary patching is slow because of the inventory.

Download and Prepare Oracle Home

First, I download the base release from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, aka e-delivery.

Find REL: Oracle Database – Long Term Release, the right platform, and download.

Extract the zip file into a new Oracle Home location:

export NEW_ORACLE_HOME=<path>
unzip -oq /tmp/
rm /tmp/

Don’t run the installer yet.

Clone Existing Oracle Home

I could clone an existing Oracle Home and then just apply the new patches. But it will make me susceptible to the same issue described above about in-place patching. Plus, if you clone an Oracle Home with one-offs then you might need to roll them off before you can apply the next Release Update.

Update OPatch

OPatch is needed later on to apply patches to the new Oracle Home. Get the latest version and install it into the new Oracle Home:

rm -rf $NEW_ORACLE_HOME/OPatch
unzip -oq /tmp/<opatch_zip_file>
rm /tmp/<opatch_zip_file>


Now, I will determine which patches to apply to the Oracle Home.

  • Start by getting the latest Release Update. I really mean the latest. I have helped too many customers with issues, only to find out the issue is already solved in a later Release Update. If your database has JAVAVM installed, then get the combo patch.
  • Review the list of important one-off patches for the specific Release Update. The list contains important fixes that haven’t made into a Release Update yet. I don’t need to get all of them, but based on my knowledge of my database, I can cherrypick those that could be relevant.
  • If I am using Data Pump, I get the Data Pump bundle patch. Data Pump fixes rarely make it into Release Updates, because they are not RAC-Rolling Installable which is a clear requirement for inclusion in Release Update.
  • If I am using GoldenGate, I get the GoldenGate bundle patch.
  • If my database uses OJVM (see appendix), I get the OJVM patch that matches the Release Update I am using. I can also get the OJVM patch as a combo patch together with the Release Update.


Now that I have downloaded a number of zip files, I go ahead and unzip the files into separate directories. In the below example, I am using 19.16 Release Update and Data Pump bundle patch:

#Release Update 19.16.0
mkdir -p $NEW_ORACLE_HOME/patch/p34133642
cd $NEW_ORACLE_HOME/patch/p34133642
unzip -oq /tmp/
rm /tmp/

#Data Pump bundle patch
mkdir -p $NEW_ORACLE_HOME/patch/p34294932
cd $NEW_ORACLE_HOME/patch/p34294932
unzip -oq /tmp/p34294932_1916000DBRU_Generic
rm /tmp/p34294932_1916000DBRU_Generic


Now, I can install the Oracle Home and apply all the patches in one operation. Mike has a really good description of the functionality and a demo.

I do a silent installation using a response file. Notice how I am applying the patches during the installation using -applyRU and -applyOneOffs:

export ORACLE_BASE=<path_to_oracle_base>
export ORACLE_HOME=<path_to_oracle_home>
#Path to inventory is most likely /u01/app/oraInventory
export ORA_INVENTORY=<path_to_inventory>
./runInstaller -ignorePrereqFailure -waitforcompletion -silent \
   -responseFile $ORACLE_HOME/install/response/db_install.rsp \
   -applyRU patch/p34133642/34133642 \
   -applyOneOffs patch/p34294932/34294932 \
   oracle.install.option=INSTALL_DB_SWONLY \
   UNIX_GROUP_NAME=oinstall \
   oracle.install.db.InstallEdition=EE \
   oracle.install.db.OSDBA_GROUP=dba \
   oracle.install.db.OSBACKUPDBA_GROUP=dba \
   oracle.install.db.OSDGDBA_GROUP=dba \
   oracle.install.db.OSKMDBA_GROUP=dba \
   oracle.install.db.OSRACDBA_GROUP=dba \
   oracle.install.db.isRACOneInstall=false \
   oracle.install.db.rac.serverpoolCardinality=0 \
   oracle.install.db.config.starterdb.type=GENERAL_PURPOSE \
   oracle.install.db.ConfigureAsContainerDB=false \

You can read more about silent installation on That’s where I got inspired from. The reponse file db_install.rsp is the default one that comes with the Oracle Home. I don’t change anything in it.

Finally, I execute as root:



Download the latest version of AutoUpgrade, and put it into $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin.

Et Voilà

That’s it. I can now use the Oracle Home to upgrade or patch my Oracle Database 19c.

When you move your Oracle Database to the new Oracle Home, be sure to move all the necessary configuration files as well.



As if the list of patches to apply wasn’t long enough. There are even more MOS notes!

Good news is that you don’t have to go through them, as long as you stay on the latest Release Update. If you check the notes, you will see that almost all bugs are already included in a Release Update. That’s a pretty strong argument for always using the latest Release Update.

  • Things to Consider to Avoid Prominent Wrong Result Problems on 19C Proactively (Doc ID 2606585.1)
  • Things to Consider to Avoid Database Performance Problems on 19c (Doc ID 2773012.1)
  • Things to Consider to Avoid SQL Performance Problems on 19c (Doc ID 2773715.1)
  • Things to Consider to Avoid SQL Plan Management (SPM) Related Problems on 19c (Doc ID 2774029.1)

Grid Infrastructure

If Grid Infrastructure manages my database, I must remember to keep GI and database patch level in sync.

It Looks Complicated

It is a little to cumbersome. We know, and that’s why there are several initiatives to make it easier.

You could also look at Oracle Fleet Patching & Provisioning (FPP). Philippe Fierens is product manager for FPP. You can read his blog posts or reach out to him (he is a nice guy who takes every opportunity to talk about FPP).


If your database is using OJVM, then you must also apply the OJVM patch to your Oracle Home. You can check it using:

select version, status from dba_registry where comp_id=’JAVAVM’

I have seen many databases that had OJVM installed, but it was never used. In such case, you can remove the component from your database. Then you no longer need to apply the OJVM patch to your Oracle Home. Plus it has the added benefit that it will make your upgrades faster.

Mike Dietrich has a good blog – the OJVM Patching Saga. Catchy title!