To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited …

I’ve had so many discussions with customers and partners, and also with colleagues in the past weeks and months about the support time frames for Oracle Database 12.2. Now I checked the blog, and I found so many posts about support periods. And I wrote a similar blog post already 1.5 years ago. I think it’s time to summarize all that. And give you some guidance as well about to which release should you upgrade to? Revisited …

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited ...

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Overview

Basically there are 2 sources to learn about Support time frames for the database release:

The problem here: While the first one, the Lifetime Support Policy, looked as the more official document, it had never differed between patch sets or releases within a release family. I’ve had already a lot of discussions with customers in the Oracle 11.2 days. When you read the line for 11.2, you may get the impression that Extended Support applies to 11.2 generally.

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited ...

Lifetime Support Policy 8.1.7-11.2

But it doesn’t as I wrote multiple times on this blog. The column Extended Support Ends applies to Oracle 11.2.0.4 only. The Extended Support (which got waived) for Oracle 11.2.0.3 ended on August 27, 2015.

But let’s do a Fast Forward into Oracle 12.2.

Here, a big break happened. We changed the release naming but weren’t clear or explicit with analogies to previous releases. It turned out that not only you but also software vendors and even some colleagues took Oracle 18c and Oracle 19c as brand-new, independent release as it would have been Oracle 10.2, Oracle 11.1 and Oracle 11.2.

Once we realized that, we added “Oracle 18c is nothing different than Oracle 12.2.0.2” and “Oracle 19c is the same as Oracle 12.2.0.3 – and it is the terminal patch set in the old terminology” to it. But it was too late. The asterisk in the Lifetime Support Policy for the 12.2 row didn’t lead everybody to check the more important MOS Note:742060.1. By then end of October 2019, a distinction and clarification in the Lifetime Support Policy brochure got added for Oracle 12.2.0.1, Oracle 18c and Oracle 19c. And today, it is crystal clear I guess:

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited ...

Lifetime Support Policy – Screenshot: Feb 22, 2020

Especially the clarification that Oracle 19c is the terminal patch set for 12.2, and 12.2.0.1 and 18c get no Extended Support is very important.

I call MOS Note:742060.1 – Release Schedule of Current Database Releases the single-source-of-truth as it was more clear on these dates.

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited ...

MOS Note: 742060.1 – Screenshot: Feb 22, 2020

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited …

But now Oracle Database 20c is available already as Preview. And I read the first tweets saying “Hey guys, I just finished upgrading to 12.2 ?!?!?” (which usually means 12.2.0.1).

Therefore, let me be very clear here:

  1. Oracle Database 19c (aka terminal patch set for Oracle 12.2 aka 12.2.0.3) will be under Premier Support as of now until end of March 2023
  2. Oracle Database 20c is the first release of a new release family – we call it an Interim Release
  3. Oracle Database 20c will get a short time frame for bug fixing support – and won’t get Extended Support

You should upgrade to Oracle Database 19c. Period.

You may try out Oracle Database 20c in your development environments to start with exciting new functionalities. But the release you will target for production use will be the next long-term support release. As Oracle Database 20c is also the first CDB-only release, an upgrade to it may be a migration for most of you. And you may need to test a bit more than usual. Please see this longer blog post series for advice and guidance regarding a smooth transition.

Wait … I’m still on Oracle 11.2.0.4 and 12.1.0.2

I also know that many of you have still a good number of Oracle 11.2.0.4 and Oracle 12.1.0.2 databases live in production. As I noted above already, MOS Note:742060.1 – Release Schedule of Current Database Releases gives you all the details:

To which release should you upgrade to? Revisited ...

MOS Note: 742060.1 – Screenshot: Feb 22, 2020

Please take note especially of the patching end dates for both releases in case you have NO Extended Support:

  • Oracle Database 12.1.0.2: July 31, 2019
  • Oracle Database 11.2.0.4: Dec 31, 2018

Since then, both releases are under Paid (or Waived under special conditions – see: MOS Note:742060.1 for details) Extended Support.

Further Information and Links

I try to collect all the important links and blog posts in this section but I may have missed one or another.

–Mike

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