It’s time for a Monday morning rant. I receive more and more questions which all start similar. “My customer is on Oracle 11g and/or 12c, and want to know whether the next long term support release …“. Now let me clarify Why you simply can’t upgrade from Oracle 11g or 12c to Oracle 23c. And why you MUST upgrade to Oracle Database 19c.
What is the intention?
After a lot of discussions across many regions, especially in JAPAC during the past weeks I realized that there is a reason for all those question asking about the availability of the next long term support release of the Oracle database, Oracle 23c. The questions in 99% of all cases come from customers who have almost no to zero installations of Oracle Database 19c yet. Despite the fact that Oracle Database 19c is available now for 3.5 years and going out of Premier Support potentially in 21 months already.
Well, you haven’t even started to test your upgrades?
Then you failed.
It sounds harsh but it’s reality. And no matter how often you repeat the mantra of 11g is very stable, and you are very happy and satisfied with the features etc, it does not solve the core problem. As you need to adopt an upgrade cycle for your hardware, your operating system, your middleware and your applications, you need to adopt one for your database as well. This isn’t news to anybody working in IT. It’s not a mean Oracle invention. It is a matter of fact for your entire IT stack. For everything.
I learned now over the past months that the intention of this question is whether you can upgrade from Oracle 11g or 12c directly to Oracle 23c, and skip Oracle 19c entirely. Hence, the question “When will Oracle 23c be available?” is just a polite translation of “I plan to skip 19c and want to know when I need to plan for my upgrade of 184.108.40.206 to 23c“.
I tried to summarize this a few weeks ago in this blog post about Why you can’t stay on Oracle Database 11g forever.
But I think I was too polite.
What is the reality?
Bad news for you now. You won’t be able to upgrade from Oracle 11g or 12c to Oracle Database 23c, or whatever the name of the next long term support release will be.
Why is that? Look at the support timeline in MOS Note: 742060.1:
So you see that there are only 2 ½ releases under bug fixing support. Oracle 220.127.116.11 with an extra-pay Market Driven Support as well as Oracle 18.104.22.168, and Oracle Database 19c and 21c with regular Premier Support.
What isn’t possible?
So for all of you who plan an exit strategy of going from Oracle 11g or 12c to the future long-term support release, this isn’t working for the simple fact that by the time we will release the next LTS, we will only support upgrades from the releases which are still under bug fixing support by then.
When the next long-term support release becomes available, there will be only Oracle Database 19c and 21c under bug fixing support. Hence, only those release will support an upgrade to a future release.
But all those releases which are out-of-support by then won’t allow you to upgrade directly to the next long-term support release.
This was always the case, and it won’t change. And it’s not mean either. It has a real reason. When a source release is out of support, and we’d potentially find an issue with the upgrade buried in the source release, we would need to produce fixes, potentially in multiple patch bundles. And this isn’t possible when the release has left bug fixing support.
Of course, there is one potential exit: You could use Data Pump or Transportable Tablespaces. For a 20GB database this may be still a possibility. But not for a very large and critical system. And my experience and discussions over the past weeks showed me that especially the business-critical environments are here and there still on 22.214.171.124, in some tough cases even on older releases such as 126.96.36.199 or 10.2.0.5.
What do you need to do?
There is a clear answer to this question: You need to upgrade to Oracle Database 19c. No further discussion needed.
AutoUpgrade is your key to success. It is the only recommend approach to upgrade your Oracle databases to a higher release and added so much extra functionality recently making database upgrades easier and smoother than ever before.
At worst case, as noted above, you could use Data Pump, Transportable Tablespaces or even multiple-hop upgrades. But especially the latter get complicated due to OS requirements. When you have an 188.8.131.52 database still in use, it may run under OL6 (or even OL5). Then you can go to 184.108.40.206 under the same OS but for the move to 19c you’d need to be on OL7 or OL8. So you quickly see where the complication starts.
Let me repeat myself. You must upgrade to Oracle Database 19c.
There is no choice. Keep in mind that this is part of your Support contract. You are eligible to go from one version to another without release restrictions. Start now. Don’t procrastinate. It will just create more and more issues, with your operating system, your applications, your middleware.
It’s time to move now if you haven’t done it already.
You simply can’t upgrade from Oracle 11g or 12c to Oracle 23c!.
Where should you start?
We compiled a long list of technical Virtual Classroom seminars. Over 30 hours of technical content. Please take some time. They are all free of marketing and buzzwords simply focusing on tech. We created them to assist you, and make upgrades a simple task, and no rocket science.
Let us know if you need further assistance. We are here to help you.
Further Links and Information
- Why you can’t stay on Oracle Database 11g forever
- MOS Note: 742060.1 – Release Strategy – Single Source of Truth
- Market Driven Support for Oracle Database 220.127.116.11
- Multiple-hop upgrades
- Long-term support vs innovation release
- AutoUpgrade – a new version is available
- Virtual Classroom Seminars about Upgrades, Migrations, Patching and Performance Stability
If one is on 11g2 or 12.x now it means that one is (almost) not able to run the latest OS releases having current security patch support/availability (anymore) ….
If those are internet-facing/-connected that can get costly and/or ugly very quickly indeed ….
Especiallyin the light of the addtional CVE-2020-35169 issue being patched in this month’s (July 2022) RU only for 19c and 21c …
While reading this article I was thinking… Most of the upgrades we did simply requires migration of one or a few schemas that are needed by applications using the DB. For system stuff like auditing or DB params, we anyway need to review what has changed between releases and especially when it comes to such a big jump like the upgrade from 11g to 23c.
What am I trying to say is that I don’t see the upgrade from 11g to 23c as a big problem. And even in the case, there won’t be a straight option to upgrade your current DB to the latest version there is still a quite easy option on how to migrate your stuff.
you can always use expdp/impdp to migrate your schema-only.
But for the dictionary, there is a lot more to do than just a schema move.
Thank you for great article! But I have one question – if we use old unsupported application, which certified with Oracle DB 18.104.22.168 – can we migrate DB to version 19.x without harm to the application? If we will not raise COMPATIBLE parameter – does the database behavior will be completely as 22.214.171.124?
yes/no/maybe. I can’t give you a clear answer, and of course no guarantee.
What I can tell you by experience is that I have not seen applications which operate fine with 126.96.36.199 fail generally with 19c. There are occasional issues which require adjustments or treatments – but this is rare. The keypoint often is PERFORMANCE.
So yes, you can do this. And most likely it will work fine. But you need to still do the performance testing.