Why you can’t stay on Oracle Database 11g forever

Oracle Database 11g? In 2022? Yes, I know – and you know too – there are Oracle 11g databases out there in production. And blindly I’d say: Too many. Of course, we are the “upgrade guys” trying to convince you to move to Oracle Database 19c. And I bet, for each of your 11g databases there’s a valid and legit reason why they haven’t upgraded yet. But there is one often neglected technical reason Why you can’t stay on Oracle Database 11g forever. So let me explain this below.


Oracle Database 11g?

At first, let me browse through my memory. Oracle Database 11g got released before I joined Roy’s team. This was at a time when I had the true pleasure to work with the MAA team of Lawrence To on the support of Transient Logical Standby database setups. I was on rotation for a few weeks in Redwood Shores. And with Oracle finally, Transient Logical Standby rolling upgrades went “production”.

Then in September 2009 we launched Oracle Database 11g Release 2, known also as Oracle

Do you remember what you did in September 2009? Look at some pictures from this time. This was almost 13 years ago. Or you may just check out this video to realize how far back you’ll have to travel in memory until you reach September 2009. Now I’m pretty certain that all of you agree that 13 years in tech are a huge time span.

Speaking of Oracle Database 11.2, we released the terminal patch set in August 2013. You don’t believe it? See here, you can check by yourself on MyOracle Support:

And it may not scare you – but it scares us from time to time – that there are also databases out there in production. We just work in an upgrade projects with hundreds of databases as source.

Oracle Database went out of bug fixing support on August 28, 2015. And Oracle Database is under Market Driven Support. So we still fix upcoming issues on for a small number of customers under this support agreement.

Why you REALLY must upgrade your databases NOW

I know that some of you want to stay even longer on And as I wrote above, there are always valid reasons I don’t want to dispute.

And for a long time we keep telling you to upgrade because:

And plenty of other arguments. Of course, you all understood them clearly, no doubt. But one important point hasn’t mentioned here. I’m so happy and grateful that I have smart colleagues such as Atsuki-san from Oracle Japan who did ask me about it on a Friday morning:

Can I upgrade from Oracle to Oracle 23c?

No. You can’t.

I was scratching my head about the question. And then I realized quickly how important Atsuki-san’s question is. He explained to me that there are customers who think they can skip Oracle Database 19c, and instead go directly from Oracle Database to Oracle Database 23c, the next future long term support release.


You can’t skip Oracle Database 19c

You can’t upgrade from Oracle to Oracle 23c. You even can’t upgrade nowadays from Oracle to Oracle 21c, the current innovation release. We don’t encourage you to upgrade to Oracle 21c since Oracle Database 19c is the long term support release.

The minimum requirement for upgrades to Oracle 21c is already Oracle Database And for Oracle 23c the minimum requirement may be even higher.

Do you want to do double-hops? Such as from Oracle to Oracle 19c, and then onward to Oracle 23c?

Trust me, you’d like to avoid such double-hops.

You must upgrade to Oracle Database 19c – NOW

Actually let me just reiterate our daily mantra: You must upgrade to Oracle Database 19c – NOW. If you haven’t done already.

Just have a quick look at the current  Lifetime Support Policy slide or at MOS Note:742060.1:

Why you can't stay on Oracle Database 11g forever

You may recognize quickly:

  • Oracle Database 18c is in Sustaining Support with no bug fixing anymore
  • Oracle Database is in Sustaining Support with no bug fixing anymore
  • Oracle Database will enter Sustaining Support with no bug fixing anymore on Aug 1, 2022 (16 weeks from the date on I published this blog post)
  • Oracle Database is in Sustaining Support already but you can purchase MDS until end of 2022
  • Everything older than Oracle Database has not seen any bug fixes for at least more than 6.5 years anymore

So what are your options?

Let me answer this: Oracle Database 19c.

Use AutoUpgrade, the only recommended way to upgrade your databases to Oracle Database 19c. And start today if you haven’t done it already.

And please, don’t even think about going from to 23c. You will have many years without any bug fixes – and no direct upgrade path.

Again, there won’t be a direct upgrade path from Oracle Database to Oracle Database 23c. Hence, you clearly can’t stay on Oracle Database 11g forever.

Further Links and Information

P.S. April 8, 2022

A final comment since somebody asked via a comment.

Of course, you can migrate your database with Data Pump. This will also work for your and databases. You could even import your Oracle V5 exp dump into a 19c PDB with the old imp. Just keep in mind that migrating with Data Pump (or old exp/imp) involves way more work than an upgrade, usually takes much longer than a database upgrade – and you need to keep an extra eye on things such as statistics and more when you migrate instead of upgrading.


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