Oracle Home Cloning: Tools and Techniques

One of the many necessary and frequent tasks that a database administrator performs before creating a database is installing the Oracle database binaries. These binaries form what is known as an Oracle Home (referenced by the ORACLE_HOME environment variable on Linux and UNIX environments). Unfortunately, this is also one of the most mundane and uninteresting tasks a DBA can perform. So like all good DBAs know, the best way to deal with such repetitive task is to automate it. Automating installations of Oracle database binaries enables us to reliably repeat the process to enable faster installation as well as provide identical copies of the software in multiple environments.

Fortunately, Oracle allows us to clone the Oracle database binaries from one environment to another. Cloning your Oracle binaries from a source copy with all the necessary patches applied enables us to have gold images which can then be deployed to multiple environments.

The procedure for cloning an Oracle home involves the following steps:
1. Install Oracle database binaries and apply necessary patches
2. Create an archive or copy of the binaries
3. Transfer the copy to the target location
4. Extract the archive if necessary
5. Execute OUI with clone option to attach the Oracle home to the central inventory

There are many variations of these steps, primarily in how the binaries are copied and distributed. But they effectively boil down to those listed above.
We have several techniques and tools available for cloning and deploying the Oracle home binaries. I will attempt to demonstrate some of these techniques and evaluate their pros and cons.
Here are techniques that will be examined:

1. Scripted cloning
2. Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c Provisioning
3. Oracle Grid Infrastructure 12c Rapid Home Provisioning
4. Delphix Virtual Oracle Home Provisioning

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