Platform change and upgrade in one step – XTTS

Today I want to tell you something about cross platform transportable tablespaces (XTTS) and incrementally updated datafile copies. This is a very nice feature to move to another platform and change the Oracle version in one step. There are several MOS notes, whitepapers and of cause some Upgrade-Slides by Mike Dietrich covering this topic.

The basic steps in all cases and versions are these:

  1. set tablespace(s) read only
  2. export metadata for those tablespaces
  3. transport datafiles and dump to target system
  4. create necessary database users
  5. import dump into target database which makes the datafiles part of the target database
  6. set tablespace(s) read write
  7. optionally, transport other objects like views, PL/SQL etc.

But what if the tablespaces are too big and copy time would exceed the allowed downtime window? Then we can use incremental backups to shorten the downtime. The steps to do this, are quite similar.

  1. backup tablespace(s) for transport
  2. copy backup to target system
  3. restore and convert datafiles to target destination and platform
  4. create incremental backup for transported tablespace(s)
  5. recover transported datafiles using the incremental backup
  6. repeat steps 4 and 5 until final downtime window
  7. set tablespace(s) read only
  8. create final incremental backup for transported tablespace(s)
  9. apply incremental backup to transported datafiles
  10. continue with step 2 of the initial process above

Sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? So Oracle was so kind to put this whole process into scripts. The following MOS notes contain and describe these scripts:

  • 11G – Reduce Transportable Tablespace Downtime using Cross Platform Incremental Backup (Doc ID 1389592.1)
  • 12C – Reduce Transportable Tablespace Downtime using Cross Platform Incremental Backup (Doc ID 2005729.1)
  • V4 Reduce Transportable Tablespace Downtime using Cross Platform Incremental Backup (Doc ID 2471245.1)

During a migration project from Linux to SPARC (don’t ask) I wanted to use those scripts. But I experienced the following during “Phase 2”:

oracle@server2:~/xtts> $ORACLE_HOME/perl/bin/perl xttdriver.pl --backup
============================================================
trace file is /oracle/xtts/backup_Sep20_Thu_12_20_52_917//Sep20_Thu_12_20_52_917_.log
=============================================================

[…]

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Done with prepare phase
--------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------
Find list of datafiles in system
--------------------------------------------------------------------

SP2-0027: Input is too long (> 2499 characters) - line ignored
SP2-0027: Input is too long (> 2499 characters) - line ignored
           from dual
           *
ERROR at line 19:
ORA-00936: missing expression

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Error:
------
Error in executing /oracle/xtts/backup_Sep20_Thu_12_27_07_889//diff.sql

Okay. The reason is, I have loads of tablespaces that need to be transferred. This list messed up the whole process. So I tried to understand the process and just do it myself. What I learned is, that it is quite easy to do it manually. And I share my findings with you by simply outlining the basic process in an upcoming blog post.

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