Time for Oracle Database Upgrade: Oracle Database Versions Support Timelines


It is important for any organization that uses the Oracle database to understand its entitlements as well as its obligations in order to derive the most benefits from it while keeping the costs low. The Oracle database is available on the traditional on-premises usage model and as a cloud subscription service. The focus of this post is the on-premises model, where an organization buys licenses for the Oracle database, and then installs and operates the database within its own data center.

If an organization has procured the Oracle on-premises database perpetual licenses, the organization is entitled to continue using the licenses indefinitely. However, the Oracle support services as well as the license for accessing and installing the Oracle database patches is renewable yearly. Oracle releases security, bug fixes and feature updates on a quarterly basis. The renewable license for accessing patches entitles an Oracle customer to also access and install new software versions [releases] as and when the organization is ready for its database software upgrade.

Oracle’s continuous research and development team provides new product features, functionality, performance enhancements, security improvements and error correction via the quarterly patch releases. Keeping your annual Oracle product enhancement licenses and support current entitles you to use all patches and new product versions. It also enables you to access Oracle support

An important point worth every bit of attention is the meaning of the various Oracle software support categories listed below:

  • Premier Support – which refers to the Oracle standard support at the standard support fees.
  • Waived Extended Support – which refers to a grace period within which the standard support is available at the cost of Premier Support, after the expiry of the Premier Support period. Customers ought to upgrade their databases before this phase is over!
  • Paid Extended Support – This is the support period during which customers access Oracle support at an [additional] fee determined by Oracle. This is because by this time frame, Oracle software users are expected to have upgraded their databases to the currently available and/or recommended version in order to continue enjoying Premier Support.
  • Limited Error Correction – In this phase, Oracle provides support for only Severity 1 and Security Updates. By this time, an organization is very late in upgrading their Oracle software to the current version, which is currently enjoying Premier Support.
  • Market Driven Support – Which is a support contract between the customer and Oracle, based on prevailing market rates for support services. Basically, the customer contracts Oracle to provide support for products which are no longer within the regular support arrangement. This of course would be the most expensive support category. Additionally, Oracle decides which products are eligible for Market Driven Support. No Oracle customer needs to get to this phase as the solution to avoid it is to upgrade the Oracle software to a current version.

We are experts in Oracle database software upgrade from any version to the current version. The current Oracle database version that Oracle is recommending its customers to upgrade to is Oracle 19c. The following are the base Oracle database versions [including minor version numbers or patchset levels] that can be migrated directly to Oracle 19c:

  • Oracle Database 11g Release
  • Oracle Database 12c Release
  • Oracle Database 12c Release
  • Oracle Database 18c Release

Oracle 19c is actually Oracle database version This is the last version within the Oracle database 12c family. It is the long-term database version within the 12c family, which Oracle has recommended its customers to upgrade to. Take note of the fact that Premier Support for Oracle 12c has already ended, and if you are using Oracle 12c or an older version, you ought to upgrade your database as soon as possible to continue enjoying Premier Support – i.e. standard support at the standard support charges.

Get in touch with us if you need support to upgrade your databases, be they single instance databases or clustered Real Application Clusters (RAC) databases. We would also be happy to support you in case you need support to:

  • Implement any oracle database technology, feature or option like RAC and Data Guard, among others
  • Test your backups or implement a new validated backup regime or design a validated business continuity plan [BCP]
  • Conduct a health-check for your databases and tune them to improve performance
  • Reduce database deployment sprawl in order to reduce your license requirements
  • Get support on your databases on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) or an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) basis, or on any database related projects

We have assisted many organizations to achieve the above and would be glad to be your ICT partners. We know IT, we streamline IT.

Oracle Database Versions Support Timelines
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