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Plan for upgrading clustered Oracle database server from Windows NT to 2003

We have a clustered Oracle database on Windows NT running 8.1.6.3 and Failsafe 3.1.2 and two web servers running OAS 4.0 (not clustered) also on NT. We want to upgrade the database and the operating systems to Windows 2003 on all four servers.

  1. What would be the most efficient way of doing the upgrade that will bring the system down minimally as we are 24x7? It seems that several upgrades need to be done at the same time because of compatiblity.
  2. If we upgrade a database to 9i on a Windows NT machine and backup the database, then we wipe out the server and install Windows 2003 and Oracle 9i, can we then just restore the data from the backup or do we need to do anything else?

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The only possible problem with your plan is the compatibility of 9i and NT. I'd double-check the compatibility matrix for that combination before continuing. I know that Failsafe has improved a lot since 3.1.2, and it is still alive and well. I would take the approach of wiping out one server and installing the target versions of all software (so that you have two standalone systems, each a part of a 1-node cluster). Then, I'd make plans to upgrade the database by either in-place upgrade (running the proper scripts) or by export/import. With this plan, you should be able to perform the upgrade without losing the ability to back out if things don't go well (by turning on the node running the "old" versions). If things do go well, you just need to reinstall/rebuild the old cluster member to have the new versions of all software, and then join the "new" cluster.

This was first published in November 2004

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