One of the benefits of making the very substantial financial investment in the Oracle Exadata Database Machine is the retinue of service packages that come included, free of charge, with the purchase. These services include significantly quicker response times than standard Oracle Premier Support, 24/7 remote fault monitoring, and, of course, the main focus of this post: remote patch deployment by Oracle engineers.
Nothing’s Ever Free
While this free service from Oracle is a huge draw, anyone who has ever patched an Exadata appliance knows that this process can be nerve-racking, particularly for businesses that cannot afford unplanned downtime. When unexpected error messages start to pop up, steering back on course can become difficult when relying on remote workers who are not particularly well-versed in your specific environment. Additionally, when tight project schedules and the absence of adequate manpower continually force IT teams to punt patching efforts down the road, potential pitfalls can snowball to set the stage for a much longer outage than anticipated.
The Outsourcing Solution
Many organizations with larger, more complex environments see the value in contracting outside experts to complete Engineered System patching efforts.
Below are the top three reasons companies seek outside help when patching their Exadata appliances:
1. You have not patched your Exadata in over a year or two.
The longer the wait, the higher your risk. After going 12 to 24 months without a patch, the software states of the storage servers, InfiniBand environment, database server OS, and cluster are largely unknown. We have run into clients who had not patched in over three years who had file systems and IB switch permissions missing entirely. If one of these components fails, you could be looking at hours of unplanned downtime, bringing the entire business to a halt and costing you a significant amount of money. In scenarios like this, the peace of mind in knowing a contracted team of experts has done it before can be enough to justify the extra expense of paying for patch consulting services.
2. Your company requires contractors to be U.S. citizens and that they be onsite to complete their work.
In particularly complex environments, working with a remote resource can make the patching process difficult. If your assigned remote resource does not know the answer to an unexpected challenge, escalation can take time and cost you dearly during the downtime. Additionally, some companies with higher security standards require anyone who puts their hands on a keyboard to be a U.S. citizen, and that citizen must be onsite within the supervision of company stakeholders.
3. Your recent Exa Check report indicates less than 60% compliance.
Less than 60% compliance with Platinum standards makes for a very risky engagement. The chances of something unexpected going wrong are high, and the chances of your remote resource assigned for that patch engagement having all the answers are low. For specialized jobs, it is always your best bet to bring in dedicated specialists who are experienced in troubleshooting and know exactly what to look out for in your particular environment.
Want to know more? Learn about MiCORE’s experience with Exadata by watching one of our experts here.