Last weekend, we faced one of the larger challenges that we’ve faced in my time at my current client. Migrate multiple database systems, across multiples sites, all to new hardware (with new endian format), new database version (220.127.116.11)…and of course, try to do it with as small a disruption to the service as possible.
We are not a Goldengate customer, so pursuing a zero-downtime migration was not considered, and to be honest, even we had such facilities at our disposal, I think we would still have taken a small outage just to allow a “quiet time” to do verification checks etc.
I had done a similar exercise many years ago, with a client moving from 9i to 10g. In those days, migration with low downtime was a massively complex affair. I remember countless SQL and shell scripts, all designed to do as much work concurrently as possible (multiple physical networks, multiple concurrent jobs pulling tables over db links, concurrent index builds, etc etc etc), all designed to keep that outage time to a minimum. High risk days indeed.
In contrast, using the cross-platform transportable tablespaces, this current migration ran very smoothly indeed. Below is a rough guide as to what is needed to perform such a migration – I didnt want to list precisely our steps, because people will mistakenly treat that as the definitive prescription for how to do it. This is more of an overview, which will get you started, but hopefully you’ll be doing your own thorough planning and testing when the time comes !
Firstly, you create a fresh new database on your target system. It will just have the usual tablespaces (SYSTEM, SYSAUX, etc). It will be the recipient of all of the non-default tablespaces that will be be transporting over from our source system.
On the source system, first you’ll need a datapump of all the object definitions, without unloading any data.
expdp ... dumpfile=metadata_full.dmp full=y content=metadata_only exclude=user,role,role_grant,profile exclude=table_statistics exclude=index_statistics
and for each datafile, you need an imagecopy using RMAN, for example:
backup as copy tag 'my_tablespace' datafile 50,60,61 format '/backup_dest/file%f.bkp;
And I do this for all of the user tablespaces, ie, not those that would be created as part of a fresh db install. Note: Ensure compression is turned off for all RMAN parts of this process.
Notice I excluded statistics in the datapump. Whilst datapump can also unload the optimizer stats for you, we found impdp to very slow for bringing those stats back into the target system, so we took control of that ourselves
Now – so far, our source system is still running. There has been no outage or disruption to service. Those datafile copy backups we took, now need to be converted to the endian format of the target system, once again using RMAN, with a convert command for each file.
convert from platform 'AIX-Based Systems (64-bit)' datafile '/backup_dest/file50.bkp' format '/target_dest/file50.dbf';
So now we have a converted set of files, but of course, they are a “fuzzy” copy of the data since the copies were taken with the source system still active. This is where the nice part of cross-platform migration comes in. I can regularly take incrementals from my source system, and convert/apply them to the freshly converted datafile copies. Thus I can keep my target system up to date with my source system, without taking my source system offline.
So I can find the base checkpoint# from all files, and take an incremental of each tablespace since that point in time
select MIN(checkpoint_change#) from v$datafile;
backup incremental from scn <mincheckpoint> tablespace 'MY_TSPACE' format '/backup_dest/%U';
The incrementals can then be converted/applied to the target system using a little bit of PLSQL
h varchar2(512) ;
t varchar2(30) ;
b1 boolean ;
b2 boolean ;
d := sys.dbms_backup_restore.deviceAllocate;
sys.dbms_backup_restore.applysetdatafile( check_logical=>false, cleanup=>false) ;
This process can be repeated indefinitely until you are ready to cutover to the new system. When that time will comes, the process is similar
Your source system now must go read-only (and hence this most likely is the commencement of your outage)
for i in (
select tablespace_name from dba_tablespaces
where tablespace_name not in ('SYSTEM','SYSAUX') and contents = 'PERMANENT'
execute immediate 'alter tablespace '||i.tablespace_name||' read only';
You now take a datapump of the tablespaces you are going to transport over. We are omitting the statistics, because we already have them.
expdp ... exclude=table_statistics exclude=index_statistics dumpfile=transport.dmp transport_full_check=no transport_tablespaces=tspace1,tspace2,...
And you take a final incremental backup, and apply it to the target system. Now all is in readiness.
Create all the required users by datapump-ing across the network
impdp ... network_link=source_db_link full=y include=user,role,role_grant,profile
and then import the transportable tablespace definitions
impdp dumpfile=transport.dmp transport_datafiles='/target_dest/file10.dbf','/target_dest/file11.dbf','/target_dest/file12.dbf',...
And then set your tablespaces to read-write
for i in (
select tablespace_name from dba_tablespaces
where tablespace_name not in ('SYSTEM','SYSAUX') and contents = 'PERMANENT' and status = 'READ ONLY'
execute immediate 'alter tablespace '||i.tablespace_name||' read write';
And bring in all of the other bits and pieces (views, PL/SQL, etc etc) using the metadata dump you took earlier
impdp ... dumpfile=full.dmp full=y exclude=table_statistics exclude=index_statistics
and voila…you will have a migrated database with minimal downtime. In our case, the transportable datapump export/import, plus the last incremental (thanks to block change tracking), was around 30mins, and the import of all of our PL/SQL etc around 30mins as well. Not too bad for multiple multi-terabyte databases.
We then upgraded our stats table, and used dbms_stats to import the statistics, and started verification testing.
That covers the broad steps you’ll be taking. There’s plenty of information on MOS and on OTN about the nitty gritty, but all in all, we were very happy with outcome.