Multiple Hops – Which should be the intermediate release?

Multiple Hop Oracle Database UpgradesThis is a topic which doesn’t come up very often. But if it does come up from time to time, and the documentation may give you advice – but as I realized – it does not always give the best advice. When you have to do multiple hops – which should be your intermediate release?

I posted something about this topic a while back:

What are Multiple Hops?

We speak of multiple hops in relation to database upgrades when your source release does not allow you to upgrade directly to the wanted or newest Oracle Database release. For example, you may be on Oracle Database 10.2.0.4 right now (I seriously hope, you are not!) and would like to upgrade now directly to Oracle Database 12.2.0.1.

Then you browse through the documentation and you’ll find this table in the documentation under: Oracle Database Releases That Support Direct Upgrade

Multiple Hops - Which should be the intermediate release?

I marked the part which is partially correct in blue.

Multiple Hops – Which should be the intermediate release?

The above marked text is not incorrect. You can of course upgrade from Oracle 11.1.0.7 to Oracle 11.2.0.4 first, and then upgrade to Oracle 12.2.0.1 or Oracle 18c.

A colleague of mine from Oracle UK had exactly this question a day ago for a customer. And Andrew did wonder why Oracle 12.1.0.2 was not mentioned.

And this was my advice too for this customer:

Upgrade from Oracle 11.1.0.7 to Oracle 12.1.0.2 if your OS does allow this combination – and then upgrade to Oracle 12.2.0.1. Simple reason for this recommendation: Even though from the upgrade perspective there wouldn’t be any difference in complexity whether you upgrade to 11.2.0.4 or 12.1.0.2, there are two important factors:

  • The upgrade to Oracle 12.1.0.2 will use the parallel upgrade, catctl.pl – and it will be faster for sure
  • The preupgrd.sql of Oracle 12.1.0.2 is more sophisticated and advanced in comparison to the old utlu112i.sql of Oracle 11.2.0.4

Therefore, by hopping to Oracle 12.1.0.2 as the intermediate database you get a better precheck and a faster upgrade.

Summary

As long as your OS allows, always try to jump to the most recent release instead of hopping to an older intermediate release. The upgrade guide is not wrong – but there may be a better solution available.

–Mike

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