No doubt you have heard people discuss EPM Versions, Releases, Patch Sets and Patch Set Updates. But what do these terms mean and why does it matter?
First, let’s look at the numbers making up a typical ‘version’ to see what each part means.
People often refer to the ‘version’ as being 18.104.22.168. However, Oracle Development would refer to this as 11.1.2 Patch Set 4. This is a bit misleading as going from 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199 is not a case of applying a patch, rather it’s about a new set of binaries and reconfiguration of the environment to complete the upgrade.
A Patch Set Update (PSU) is a collection of fixes for a particular EPM Product. In recent years these have been extended to include new product features such as the new Financial Reporting Web Studio.
One of the main impacts of the Release, Patch Set and PSU combination is when looking at what’s stated in the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy for Oracle Fusion Middleware.
For most EPM products, 11.1.2.x remains in Premier Support (in other words, Oracle will continue to provide updates, support and fixes) until December 2020. However, this doesn’t mean that any Patch Set and PSU is supported. To find this out we can look at Oracle Enterprise Performance Management 11g Grace Periods for Error Correction.
Take the example of Financial Management. We can see that as of 16/04/2018 the following applies:
This demonstrates that to be in the best position to obtain Financial Management fixes from Oracle for any issues you may encounter, you should be on 188.8.131.52.205+. For anybody still on 184.108.40.206 you can see that error correction ended in March 2018.
Alongside PSU’s there are also Patch Set Exceptions (PSE’s). These are patches that Oracle releases to fix a specific issue. Unlike PSU’s, PSE’s should only be applied if you hit the issue, are advised to do so by Oracle Support, or the README for another patch that you are applying states you must do so.
Finally, we have Critical Patch Updates (CPU’s). These are patches that are released to close security vulnerabilities that have been found. The key difference with CPU’s is that they don’t just apply to the EPM Products, but all technologies that make up an EPM installation. The key products that CPU’s are issued for that apply to EPM are:
- Oracle HTTP Server (OHS)
- Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) which underpins FDMEE
- Java/JRockit (see our blog post for further detail on support for Java)
- The Oracle Common Framework
Planning for CPU’s is more straightforward as Oracle releases them on a quarterly basis across all of their products; we know which date they will be released. The starting point for analysing which CPU’s are relevant is to read this overview by Oracle. From here you can select the latest Oracle Critical Patch Update Advisory and then work through the list of products to determine which patches are relevant.
As each round of CPU’s are released, inlumi labs’ experts review the documentation (there is a lot!) and test the new CPU patches for any compatibility by issues when applying them to EPM environments.