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, most likely 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, 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 18.104.22.168, in some tough cases even on older releases such as 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 database still in use, it may run under OL6 (or even OL5). Then you can go to 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206
- 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