Accelerating Fusion Applications (FA) Bundle Patching for Human Capital Management (HCM)

Introduction

Applying functional bundle patches to your Fusion Applications (FA) environment is a normal part of the FA life cycle. Typically these bundle patches are released on a monthly basis, an although they are cumulative, it is still considered to be a best practice to apply these bundles as often as possible within the constraints of your operational environment. In this article we will discuss a method for doing this that should enhance your operational efficiency to a great degree. To illustrate how this can be done, we will use a bundle patch from the Human Capital Management (HCM) family. However, the techniques applied here are applicable to other bundle patches as well.

Note: This document does nothing more than provide a workflow for the patching process, it does not remove any requirements from the process. There may still be manual steps that need to be followed but are not explicitly documented, processes that need to be stopped/started, etc. – please ensure you have read and understand all of the individual readme files for the patches being applied.

Step1- Download the Latest HCM Bundle

Download the latest HCM bundle patch. To do this you will need to go to My Oracle Support, and once there choose the Patches and Updates tab.

patch dl - fig 1

Figure 1 – My Oracle Support Home Page

Next, choose the Product or Family (Advanced) tab and fill in the information for your FA family and Release, as shown below and then hit the Search button.

patch dl fig 2

Figure 2 – Search for a patch

You will be presented with a list of available patches from which you can download the latest HCM bundle patch. For complete instructions, see Patching Fusion Applications – What Types of Patches Exist and How Often Should They Be Applied.

Step 2 – Open the ReadMe for the HCM Bundle and Download the Patches

In the typical HCM bundle there are a few major components:

  • The prerequisites for the patch
    • Note: It is important to notice that many of these prerequisites may have prerequisites; the Business Intelligence (BI) patch that is often part of the HCM bundle prerequisites is a prime example of this.
  • The bundle itself
  • Post implementation patches for the bundle

You now need to download all of the associated patches as well as their prerequisites. By way of example, I am going to use patch 20724469 – Patch bundle 4 for HCM Release 11.1.9.1.2. But all of them are pretty similar, so the approach defined here is not patch specific.

How you download and store the patches and prerequisites is important, so let’s start from the top of the readme for patch 20724469. Besides the P4FA patch – which we will assume has already been applied – you will usually see a BI patch (in this case 20372185) first in the list. Open up the readme for the BI patch and you will see that it has several prerequisite patches. Follow the detailed instructions to determine which of these needs to be applied and store them in a directory all by themselves.

Use an approach similar to:
> cd tmp
> mkdir biprereq

Download the BI prerequisites required for your environment to the biprereq directory you just created, these patches should be the only things in this directory. Please note that it is possible for any of these prerequisite patches to have prerequisites themselves, be certain to download these as well.

Next download the Bi patch itself, in this case patch 20372185 to the directory of your choosing. For example, you could use: /tmp/patches

Now it is time to download the remainder of the HCM bundles prerequisites, these are usually listed under the heading of “Fusion Applications Patches”. These should go in a directory by themselves as well, something like /tmp/hcmbundle. Now download the HCM patch itself, patch 207244496 in this case, and place it in the same /tmp/hcmbundle directory.

Lastly, download the post install patches for the HCM bundle and place them in the same directory as the HCM prerequisite patches (/tmp/hcmbundle). The directory /tmp/hcmbundle should now hold the HCM bundle prerequisites (excluding the BI patch), the HCM bundle itself,  and the HCM post install patches.

To recap, you should now have three directories and containing the following items:

  • /tmp/biprereq
    • This directory holds all the required prerequisites for the BI patch
  • /tmp/patches
    • This directory holds the BI patch
  • /tmp/hcmbundle
    • This directory holds
      • All the prerequisites for the HCM bundle except those associated with BI
      • The HCM bundle itself
      • The post install patches for the HCM bundle
    • If you have language packs installed then you would have a forth directory to hold the language patches for the HCM bundle, something like /tmp/hcmlang. You will require one directory per language.

Step 3 – Perform the Patching

We are going to use a few patching methods here, but we will work through them on at a time.

Step 3a – Apply the BI Prerequisite Patches

Ensure you have read all of the readme’s for the patches you are about to apply, and that you are using the proper version of OPatch. Verify that any manual prerequisite steps (shutting down services, etc.) have been followed. Should any one of the readme’s indicate that a patch should be applied using fapatch manager, please apply these patches in that manner.

The BI prerequisite patches can be applied using the opatch napply option. Set your Oracle home according to the instructions in the BI prerequisites patch readme file. Navigate to the patch directory where you stored the BI prerequisite patches and run opatch using the napply option.

After completion of the application of the BI patches, please review the readme’s for the patches you just applied for any manual post patching steps that may be required.

Step 3b – Apply the BI Patch

The BI patch has its own orchestration, so use the application instructions in the BI patch to apply this patch.  Don’t forget to apply any post patching steps for BI.

Step 3c – Apply the HCM Prerequisites, HCM Bundle, and HCM Post Install Patches

To perform this step you will first need to develop a patch plan. The complete instructions on how to do this are found in the Fusion Applications Patching Guide in Chapter 3.7. Apply these patches using the instructions associated with the process defined in the patching guide. The directory you will point to for the patching framework to use will be the /tmp/hcmbundle directory where you are storing the patches required for this step.

This approach should significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to apply the HCM patch bundle as using the patch plan will allow the patching framework to minimize the number of environment bounces required to successfully apply the patch bundle and its prerequisite and post patches.

Step 3d – (Optional) Apply HCM language patches

The completion of this step will follow the same path as step 3c above. You will utilize the patching framework described in the patching guide to build a patch plan for each language you have installed and apply the patches. The directory used for the patching plan this time will be one of the /tmp/hcmlang directories.

Summary

Using the patching frameworks provided as part of the Fusion Applications toolset can save you a tremendous amount of time when performing periodic maintenance for your environment.

 

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