Minor Upgrade? Going from to

My Belgium friend Phillipe Fierens raised a great question on Twitter last week and dropped me an email again after having a discussion with his client:

For Phillipe and myself the answer is pretty clear and straight forward:

There is no minor upgrade anymore since every (patch set) release is a full release and since new parameters, parameter values, features and whatever appears even in patch sets.

But the following discussion on Twitter with comments from all sides made me think about why people would honestly declare going for instance from to as a minor upgrade whereas going to is seen as a major upgrade?

Let me summarize why I completely disagree – and actually Dom Giles nailed it:

  • Since Oracle Database we deliver patch sets as a full release
  • A patch set can contain not only new parameters or parameter values but may occasionally also contain new features (typical examples in Oracle are the new value for optimizer_dynamic_sampling=11 or the DBMS_REDACT package)
  • Therefore you will have to do exactly the same amount of testing, regardless of going to Oracle Database vs Oracle Database – it is ZERO difference in the tests, the time, the effort, the manpower …

You don’t believe me? Then please check MOS Note:1962125.1 (Oracle Database – Overview of Database Patch Delivery Methods). Scroll down a bit to Testing Recommendations By Patch Type and see the rightmost column of this table headlined “Patch Set Release”:

I hope this clarifies it all.

There is no “minor” patch set upgrade anymore. Even though I would love to tell you that going from to is just a minor hop it will require exactly the same testing and evaluation work then going to Oracle Database

But going to Oracle Database will mean that you are under Premier Support until end of June 2018 – whereas Free Extended Support for Oracle Database will end in May 2017.


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6 thoughts on “Minor Upgrade? Going from to

  1. Disagree – the doc does explain the release number and this part is carried over I believe since the 8i days.

    But it has nothing to do with the database upgrade. And again – I repeat myself – there is no such thing as a FIRST release anymore. Every release is a FULL release. You will see a ton of changes in the next release of the database as you saw with as you saw with and potentially as you’ll see with the first patch set for the next release of the database.



  2. Disagree. Compared to changes between 9i to 10g to 11g to 12c, changes between to are minor. The method of delivery is just to make it easy to rollback in case of failed upgrade. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is a major or minor upgrade. Major upgrade implies major feature changes, not how the upgrade is delivered. The new features guide is a good measure of whether or not an upgrade is major or minor.

  3. Arun,

    sorry to insist but I speak explicitly about upgrade since we deliver all patch sets as a full release – i.e. Things may be different when you look back to Oracle 9i and Oracle 10g.

    Look at the features being introduced in over – DBIM is just a huge example but there are tons of others in almost all areas, from optimizer, to SPM, to parallel to … etc etc.

    And unfortunately not all changes make it into the new features guide, especially when we talk about changes with the optimizer or parallel or SPM …


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