PCA X9-2 – Software Update Method for 3.0.2-b892153: ULN Mirror only

ULN Mirror or ISO?

As of July 10, 2023, Oracle has rolled out a fresh software update for their Private Cloud Appliance X9-2, named 302-b892153 (3.0.2-M3.5). This new patch set offers not only enhancements to the system’s upgrade process but also introduces updates to several key features. These include the refined Oracle Defined Volume Backup Policies and System Backup Service, ensuring a more streamlined and efficient user experience.

Upgrading the Private Cloud Appliance as described in the Administrator Guide for Release 3.0.2 in section System Upgrade is described by using the supplied ISO. This involved updates to components like the internal ZFS Storage Appliance or the Switches via the ISO command in the PCA-ADMIN console (parameter imageLocation). However, if no System Upgrade has to be done, patching via ULN mirror is now the way we go, the Patching Guide for Release 3.0.2 has been updated to reflect this change. Don’t be confused.

If you don’t do a System Upgrade e.g. from 3.0.1 to 3.0.2 – use the Patching Guide!

The difference between the Administrator Guide and Patching Guide: the comprehensive Full Management Node upgrades, encompassing MySQL, Vault, and more via ISO, is only part of the Administrator Guide. For patching only, the sequence of patching switches (SPINE, LEAF, MGMT) is no longer a priority. For patching it’s mandatory to have a local ULN mirror set up before proceeding with patching the PCA via the 3.0.2 relevant ULN channels. The patching guide provides detailed instructions on how to establish a local ULN mirror.

From technical perspective:

  • Local ULN mirror transfers packages from the https://linux.oracle.com (CSI and machine registration required)
  • PCA-ADMIN console sync job transfers data to PCA internal shared storage in /nfs subdirectory
  • Patch process get files from the shared storage to apply

Ensure that your ULN mirror is accessible from any management node. For instance, if your mirror operates on port 10001, it is crucial to confirm the connectivity:

[root@pcamn02 ~]# curl <URL to your local ULN mirror>:10001/yum/pca302_x86_64_hypervisor/repodata/repomd.xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<repomd xmlns="http://linux.duke.edu/metadata/repo" xmlns:rpm="http://linux.duke.edu/metadata/rpm">
  <data type="primary">
    <checksum type="sha1">0e33181949ac8443695c8e46d4a40ca5d453880f</checksum>
    <open-checksum type="sha1">10caa47b1da6b76a1deb64acdcee5b8ac31622aa</open-checksum>
    <location href="repodata/0e33181949ac8443695c8e46d4a40ca5d453880f-primary.xml.gz"/>

Attention: Management Node 2 should be active!

Before starting the patch process, take care that MN2 is the active node as described in [PCA 3] When Upgrading to 3.0.2M3.5 Management Node 2 Should be Active (Doc ID 2961650.1).

Should you choose not to initiate from MN2, the upgrade process may encounter difficulties. In a situation I experienced, we faced Vault corruption and an internal metadata view issue where a version was not updated correctly.

ULN Channel List

List of activated ULN channels on the local mirror – example:

root@uln-server-local:pca [PROD]# uln-channel --list

My Oracle Support Notes

[PCA 3.x] Private Cloud Appliance: Software Updates (Doc ID 2906831.1)
[PCA 3.x] Private Cloud Appliance Component Upgrade by Release Matrix (Doc ID 2907892.1)

Patching Components

The components who are to patch are listed in the Release Matrix (Doc ID 2907892.1). For 3.0.2-b892153:

  • Compute Node OS
  • Management Node OS
  • Platform
  • Switches
  • OCI Images

Important: If you already have the OCI image uln-pca-Oracle-Solaris-11-2023.04.18_0-3.noarch.rpm available in your /nfs/shared_storage/oci_compute_images/ directory, you can initiate the patching process for OCI Images. However, it’s worth noting that while the patching process will proceed without issues, it won’t yield any significant effect as this version is already delivered.

Patching Switches – Documentation Bug?

As described in the Patching Guide for Release 3.0.2, in section Patching the Switch Software, it still refers to the ISO method – SR is raised to get clarification.

PCA-ADMIN> patchSwitch switchType=LEAF \
imageLocation=http://host.example.com/yum \

The parameter imageLocation is used to refer to the ISO location for system upgrade, you have to use ULN parameter here – example for LEAF switch:

PCA-ADMIN> patchSwitch switchType=LEAF ULN=<URL to your local ULN mirror>

# pca-admin version

This is the result when you patched properly:

# pca-admin version
PCA Version: PCA:3.0.2-b892153


As of July 21, 2023, I’m eagerly awaiting the release notes and a comprehensive list of bug fixes. According to the [PCA 3.x] Private Cloud Appliance: Software Updates (Document ID 2906831.1), this process is still underway. Issues that we’ve encountered during the patching process, such as Vault corruption and misplacement of virtual machines post-compute node patching, have been largely resolved. These solutions came about during extensive late-night Zoom sessions with Oracle Support personnel. However, an issue with an incorrect metadata entry remains unaddressed, although, fortunately, this does not affect the system’s functionality.

BTW: The good old PCA-ADMIN> upgradeFullMN as described in the Administrator Guide with an ISO works too,  hope there will be more clarification in future in the two guides, which method is to use in which case…