Oracle database support 12c 18c 19c patching vs upgrade

February 7, 2020 by Leave a comment 

To help you plan ahead the Oracle database upgrades and patching, below is an Oracle Database Releases roadmap, showing their lifetime support stages (Premier + Extended) for the latest releases.

Oracle database Release and Support Timelines (MOS Doc ID 742060.1) + Extras

Oracle Support Notes

  • Ensure to maintain Oracle releases that are under Oracle Premium Support  (black bars on the chart) or Extended Support (red bars on the chart)
  • Extended Support is typically for three years following the expiration of Premier Support and only for the Terminal Patch Set release
  • After end of Premium + Extended Support no new patches are released by Oracle + lower SLAs apply for the corresponding database release
  • To receive Extended Support, you must:
    • Continue to pay the support fee for Premier Support 
    • Purchase Extended Support on top of Premier Support fee (unless the fee is waived (usually for the 1st year)
    • Most ULA/PULA contracts include Extended Support fee
    • Enable Extended Support for your Support Identifier (SI) on MOS

Patching vs Upgrade

– Oracle Upgrade is changing the major Oracle release => Application vendor certification + thorough application testing are strongly recommended

– Oracle Patching – is applying Patch(es) or Patch Sets on the same major release => Application vendor certification is not mandatory but recommended + moderate application testing is recommended

– Latest Oracle Database Major Releases at this point are 11.2, 12.1, 12.2

📍 NEW: Starting from Oracle DB 12c Release 2 (12.2) Oracle changed the names of releases to reflect the year in which the product is released. For example:

Oracle 18c (new name) = Oracle Database 12c Release 2 12.2.0.2 (Patch Set for 12c Release 2)

Oracle 19c (new name) = Oracle Database 12c Release 2 12.2.0.3 (Terminal Patch Set for Release 2)

I see more and more confusion in the companies and software vendors due to this Oracle release name changes. Furthermore, some vendors try to convince consumers for extra maintenance and certification fees for “upgrading” from Oracle 12.2 to Oracle 18c and 19c releases. With this I’d like to recommend the following to stick to:

  1. Oracle 11.2.0.4 and 12.2.0.1 are going out of patching in 2020!
  2. Due to point 1, do not install new or migrate to 11.2 or 12.2.0.1 database versions
  3. Due to point 1, plan the upgrade from 11.2 and patching from 12.2 to higher Oracle versions (preferably to Oracle 19c)
  4. Going from Oracle 12.2.0.1 to 18c/19c is NOT a major upgrade but patching
  5. It’s a duty of Application vendors to certify and support database versions that are under regular patching schedule (under Oracle Premier or Extended Support)

Recommended Oracle database release in 2020

I recommend at this point to contact your software vendors and plan the Oracle database Upgrade/Patching to Oracle Database 19c as the most current long-term support release.

Oracle Database Patching End Dates for Oracle Roadmap

From: MOS Note:742060.1

Oracle Database Patching End Dates for Oracle Database Roadmap

Read more details in Oracle Software Technical Support Policies

Warning: There might be one situation though when your patching from Oracle 12.2 to Oracle 19 requires an upgrade – a Linux upgrade. This is only in case you still run Oracle 12.2 on Linux 6 and below. The problem is that Oracle 19 is certified only on Linux 7 and above.

I’m interested in your experience and maybe good tips in moving from Oracle 12.2 to 18c/19c releases. Please share it in the comments below.

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