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Database Migration to OCI FAQ

Getting started

What is Oracle’s strategy for database migration?

Oracle is committed to providing a simple, automated, and nondisruptive upgrade and migration path from every version of our Database to the latest versions and platforms. Our migration methods handle a wide spectrum of operational needs, from traditional offline backup and restore to more sophisticated online zero downtime operations.

Where can I find specific information about Oracle Database migration?

The first link below provides an overview of migration steps, planning advisors, illustrations of prebuilt migration method workflows, and their component technologies. You’ll find that each migration method has an overview, reference architecture, technical step-by-step guides, Oracle LiveLab walkthroughs, and documentation.

Learn more at these reference sites:


What is the difference between a migration and an upgrade?

A database upgrade, such as upgrading from Oracle 19c to Oracle 23c, updates the database software system and associated customer metadata but leaves customer data in place. Alternatively, a database migration moves data onto a new platform, such as migrating from on-premises servers to Oracle Database Cloud Services on OCI and Cloud@Customer.

Typically, migrations from older to newer versions, across operating systems, and character set migrations also require upgrades. However, there is some flexibility in the sequence of performing upgrades; they can happen before, during, or after a migration. This sequence decision will be based on both business and technical factors as described in the Oracle Database Upgrade Guide and the Cloud Premigration Advisor Tool.

What are Oracle’s migration methods?

Oracle supports four migration methods.

Data movement Business continuity (online) Business continuity (offline)

Business continuity choices allow for applications to remain online during the migration. Online methods mean that after an initial load of older data, newer data is captured in real time and then incrementally applied to the target database. At an appropriate point in time, a final switchover occurs, and the migrated target database becomes the sole database. An offline method means that the database is migrated in one operation.

Data movement choices offer a tradeoff between speed and flexibility. The physical method enables minimal to zero downtime migrations and relies on Oracle Recovery Manager and Oracle Data Guard, which are typically used for incremental backups and fault-tolerant recovery capabilities. The logical method is necessary for version upgrades and platform changes since it exports data into a readable format that allows the data and metadata to be managed during a migration workflow.

These migration methods are described in the Zero Downtime Migration technical brief.


What are the typical migration use cases?

There are many business and technical reasons to migrate databases, such as lowering the cost of ownership with automatically scaling resources or reducing business risk by increasing administrative and security automation. With Oracle Databases, migrating from on-premises to the cloud offers many managed service options, such as Oracle Base Database Service (Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition), Oracle Exadata, Oracle Autonomous Database, and Oracle Cloud@Customer.

Cloud use cases Reduce TCO Reduce business risk
  • Migrate production applications
  • Replicate data for dev and test
  • Provide standby databases
  • Eliminate hardware refresh
  • Automatically scale resources
  • Reduce administrative tasks
  • Provide high availability
  • Increase ML-driven automation
  • Increase security protections

A few examples of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure migration use cases and the associated business benefits.

How do I choose the best migration strategy?

The best migration strategy considers business and technical planning factors. Oracle offers automated solutions that simplify and streamline upgrade and migration workflows using embedded Oracle utilities, Oracle Database options, and supporting products. DBAs can also engineer their own migration workflows using the same Oracle Database utilities. Oracle planning advisors recommend the best migration method for nearly every scenario. And remember, Oracle and its partners are great resources to help you choose the best strategy.

Planning advisors Business factors Technical factors
  • Evaluate entire database estates
  • Advise on cloud service selection
  • Advise on migration methods
  • Perform database compatibility diagnostics
  • Downtime
  • Performance
  • Application impact
  • Simplicity
  • Version and platform
  • Advanced features
  • Database size
  • DBA skills

What should my target database be?

Your best target database should match your operational, economical, and cost of ownership requirements. Typical requirements include minimizing disruption to current operations; improving performance, scalability, and disaster recovery; and reducing overall TCO and runtime hourly costs.

On one hand, you can simply migrate to an equivalent cloud service for your on-premises platforms, such as Oracle Base Database Service or Oracle Exadata Cloud Service. Or you can upgrade your database operating platform and take advantage of Oracle Exadata, the industry leader in transaction processing, database consolidation, and data warehousing, or Oracle Autonomous Database on the Exadata platform, adding more automation and lowering your cost of ownership.

Compare Oracle Cloud Database solutions to match your requirements to the appropriate database and platform and then fine-tune your choices with the database service advisor.

Is there an efficient way to evaluate the migration complexity for my entire database estate?

Yes. Oracle Estate Explorer catalogs and analyzes your database estate and securely evaluates its technical characteristics for migration to the Autonomous Database platform. You can evaluate your database estate behind your firewall without sharing any data or metadata with Oracle.

Common questions

What is the difference between Recovery Manager and Data Pump for transferring data as a migration method?

Oracle Recovery Manager is the Oracle Database backup, restore, and recovery utility. One of its key features is that it also captures incremental backups, that is, changes made to the source database after the backup process has begun. Oracle RMAN is used for physical migration methods.

Data Pump is used to export data and its metadata into XML. However, unlike Oracle RMAN, once you start the export (backup) process, new transactions at the source are not captured. This method is useful to transfer data and its metadata when the source database is offline or if the migration includes a database upgrade. Data Pump is used for logical migration methods.

Is Real Application Testing or SQL Performance Analyzer useful in migration workflows?

Yes. Oracle Real Application Testing is an Oracle Database option that’s useful for validating migrations and is available independent of Enterprise Manager. It includes SQL Performance Analyzer and Database Replay. Licensing is required when using this option with on-premises databases. Refer to licensing information, Section 1.4, Table 1-15 under Oracle Real Application Testing.

In addition, Enterprise Manager includes a complementary Real Application Testing management pack that has five key capabilities: Database Replay, SQL Performance Analyzer (SPA), Workload Analysis, Database Migration Planner, and Database Migration Workbench. Find Real Application Testing management pack licensing information here.

The Enterprise Manager database migration workbench embeds SQL Performance Analyzer into its migration workflows. If Real Application Testing is present, then the menu options for SQL Performance Analyzer within Enterprise Manager database migration workbench becomes available.

Can I bring our on-premises database licenses to OCI?

The Bring Your Own License (BYOL) program offers comprehensive financial and functional incentives that enable you to spend less and do more as you migrate your database licenses to OCI Database cloud services. License transfer is designed to help you modernize your Oracle investments with improved price-performance and a lower total cost of ownership. Oracle Support Rewards is a complementary benefit that offers annual support credits for every dollar spent on OCI. Oracle also reduces migration risk with automation and services from Oracle and third parties.

Learn more in the Oracle PaaS and IaaS Universal Credits Service Descriptions and the BYOL FAQ.