Ask Identigral (issue 5)

by Deborah Volk on May 29th, 2009

Ask Identigral is our answer to Dear Abby. According to Wikipedia, "Dear Abby ... is known for its uncommon common sense and youthful perspective", two qualities we're striving for in our blog. Since Abby isn't very good when it comes to identity and access management products' arcana, I together with the rest of Identigral staff have decided to step in and close the gap. Email us your questions about any Oracle identity or access management product(s) and once a week we will post the answers here
We have applied the latest patch to our Oracle Identity Manager installation. Does that mean that we have to reapply the previous patches too? What is the difference between a minor release and a patch?
This depends on your definition of the term patch. A publicly available Oracle Identity Manager (OIM) patch is not a stand-alone fix for a particular issue; it is usually a bundle of bugfixes for both public and "private" issues, enhancements and (rarely) new features. Public issues are generally reported by customers; they are available for viewing on Metalink by all customers. Private issues are usually reported internally by Oracle (or morph from a customer-reported problem) and are not available for viewing on Metalink by customers even though you may see an issue number and an issue description referenced in release notes.

Patches are cumulative. That is, the latest patch includes the previous patches. The patch documentation specifies which patches are accumulated in this patch, i.e. the cumulative effect does not go back for 100 patches, there's a baseline/cutoff.

Oracle Identity Manager patches have a build number. Releases have a version number and a build number. Unpatched release is build 1000 (arbitrary number) which corresponds to a fully-qualified build number of The version of this build is If you apply patch BP03 to this build, you rev up to the build of the patch. The patch is build 1700, making the fully-qualified build number be and the corresponding version BP03

Starting somewhere around 2nd half of 2008, the informal concept of a "bundle of bugfixes" was formalized as a "bundle patch", the latter being abbreviated as BPXX with XX being the bundle patch number in a series of cumulative patches. For example, if the latest patch for release is BP03 and you have currently applied patch BP01 to, if you apply BP03 on top of BP01, you will get patch content for BP01 ,BP02 and BP03, all for release. Even though patches are cumulative, they may or may not include the one-off patches released to you by Oracle. Once you've applied a patch, you must reapply any one-off patches not included in the official patch and any customizations of your own that will have been blown away by the patch. Consult Metalink document 782321.1 for listing of patches and 744663.1 for patches of through 9.1.

Depending on the volume and type of customizations,we recommend a fully or semi-automated build deploy process that applies your customizations to a freshly patched installation of Oracle Identity Manager. Naturally, a type of customization where you insert a chunk of code into a JSP is something that can be easily broken by a patch or an upgrade. Automatic re-insertion of the code into a new JSP can only mean something if you have regression tests that can be executed. We offer a Change Management Checkup service to help organizations with process issues such as patching their Oracle Identity Manager instances.
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Posted in Identity Management, Ask Identigral    Tagged with patching


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