Earlier this week I wrote about the recent exciting news: Oracle Database 19c Premier Support extended by more than 1 year. But if you went to MOS 742060.1 to read the fine print, you may have spotted another change as well: A differentiation between Oracle Long Term Support vs Innovation Releases.
What is a Long Term Support Release?
MOS 742060.1 explains:
Oracle Database Long Term Releases are ideal for use cases that benefit from less frequent upgrades to newer releases. Long Term Releases offer the highest level of stability and the longest length of error correction support. These releases have 5 years of Premier Support followed by 3 years of Extended Support. When combined with Extended Support, customers typically have almost 4 years to upgrade from one Long Term Release to the next Long Term Release.
The most important sentence is this one: “[..] 5 years of Premier Support followed by 3 years of Extended Support.” This is what we enabled now already for Oracle Database 19c.
What is an Innovation Release?
The definition in MOS 742060.1 is:
In between Oracle Database Long Term Releases, Oracle delivers Oracle Database Innovation Releases that include many enhancements and new capabilities which will also be included in the next Long Term Release. Innovation Releases are designed to enable customers to continuously use leading-edge technologies to rapidly develop or deploy new applications or augment existing applications. Support for Innovation Releases includes 2 years of Premier Support, but there is no Extended Support. Production workloads can be deployed on Innovation Releases if upgrading within 2 years to a newer release is factored into the deployment plan.
What you need to be really aware of is this sentence: “[..] 2 years of Premier Support, but there is no Extended Support.”.
A potential future release cycle
When I visualize this – and please be aware: this is purely fictional as there is neither a guarantee that there will be always 2 yearly Innovation releases nor that there will be a release every year! – then it may look like this:
So be aware that only the Long Term Support Releases will have Extended Support.
To which release should you upgrade to NOW?
For now, this is very simple to answer: Oracle Database 19c as it will offer you by far the longest support period until end of April 2024 in Premier Support, and until end of April 2027 with Extended Support (see: Oracle Database 19c Premier Support extended by more than 1 year).
Please read also To which release should you upgrade … Revisited giving you more insights and recommendations.
In the future, I would recommend going from Long Term Support release to Long Term Support release with your production estate. In DEV, you may want to let developers explore the new features such as Blockchain Tables. But be aware that rolling out an Innovation Release in production will put a lot of pressure on your upgrade cycles.
Of course, you can do this. And in relation to a more agile application development environment, it may be useful and desired. Just be aware that using Innovation Releases in production will force you to upgrade more or less every 12-18 months depending how quickly you went live.
More Information and Links
- Oracle Database 19c Premier Support extended by more than 1 year
- MOS Note: 742060.1 – Release Schedule of Current Database Releases
- MOS Note: :161818.1 – Oracle Database (RDBMS) Releases Support Status Summary
- Lifetime Support Policy Brochure
- To which release should you upgrade … Revisited