Tales From A Lazy Fat DBA

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Database Migration vs Upgrade ?

Posted by FatDBA on February 25, 2013

While talking with one of the new DBA found him uncomfortable & perplexed when started discussing Database Migration and Upgrade activities. Well i’ve seen that there are so many confusions revolves in any DBA’s mind who is very new to the Administration.

Alright, so today i would like to distinguish between the two activities which could be easily considered as one of the major activity of any DBA.


Terms like Migration and Upgrade are used to convert an existing database to a new software release. One of the major difference that i’ve discovered is,

In case of Upgrade, you shut down the database, start it up with the new software release, and then execute provided SQL and PL/SQL scripts to update Oracle’s internal dictionary tables and other objects. Oracle also provides ‘downgrade’ scripts which can be run to revert back all changes that happened to the database during the Upgrade process.
In broader terms Upgrade is a new release for existing system.

Example: DB Version change from Oracle 7.3.3 to Oracle 7.4.4 is an Upgrade example. e.g. 8.1.6->8.1.7 or>

In some cases Migration may describe the process of moving data from a non-Oracle database into an Oracle database. A Migration is generally displacing a database from —

* From one destionation/location to new one.
* One RDBMS to another (Hetrogenous), example: Sybase to Oracle.
* One major release to another (Homogenous), example: Oracle 9i to Oracle 10g.
Example: Going from Oracle 9i to Oracle 10g is a Migration example. e.g. 7->8, 8->9.


One Response to “Database Migration vs Upgrade ?”

  1. Migration – means changing version from 9 to 10 and so on
    Upgrade – means changing minor release like 9.2 to 9.3

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