Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Next CPU...

So, if you are like me and having to deal with a very large environment, you probably feel like you just finished patching with January Critical Patch Update. It is April already and the April CPU was released last week. However, since we all have our plan and process in place, it is a piece of cake, right? OK, so we might not all have a complete process in place, and some of this seems that we are just constantly patching databases, but maintaining a secured environment is important.
In reviewing the release notes, there are some important patches to apply, there are new exploits on the database side. The affected components are listed in the documentation as well, allowing for focus in these areas for testing and validation and not having to worry about the other areas. This is also beneficial if when installing Oracle only components are installed that are used, the patches can still be applied, but testing would probably be made very simple at that point if there are is only one or two components that are affected.
Having a policy from the security team in place has really helped with deployment of patching. It isn't just the DBAs saying we need to patch, but overall security policy requiring us to. This has additional support for testing and getting the needed downtime windows. Overall security patching also helps for coordination of the different level of patching from OS to application layers. Exceptions are then required from any application team not able to allow the patching, which will then push back on vendors of these applications, and I believe getting them to work on developing standards around patching and security fixes. I think that this would even help with overall security posture of these systems.
So, policies, processes and patching all good things for those of us supporting these important business applications and environments.

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