Oracle 12c (version 126.96.36.199) was released in March 2017 and is widely used across businesses in both Standard and Enterprise Edition versions. As with all Oracle database releases, there is a Premier Support period that runs for a minimum of two years.
As such, Oracle 12c users will have known for a while that the Premier Support comes to an end on 30th November 2020 (although there is a Limited Error Correction Period which runs to 31st March 2022 – see here for details Oracle Lifetime Support Policy).
In these days of strict governance around any data storage, the vast majority of businesses will need to upgrade to a more contemporary software version to ensure ongoing compliance. Auditors will put a big red mark against any out-of-support systems.
What are the recommended options?
Oracle 18c is the next upgrade release but since that went into general availability in July 2018, the Premier Support period runs until June 2021.
So if you are going to go through a major upgrade along with the associated application testing, it’s likely that you’ll want to skip 18c and upgrade to a newer version for the longevity of the support period.
As this post is being written, it is probable then that your best upgrade option is 19c which includes useful enhancements around ease of management and automation (in both the on-prem and Oracle Cloud versions).
Oracle has always focussed on high availability along with DR options and 19c continues this theme with enhancements to its “pluggable database” functions.
For those of you who are using Oracle SE2, you’ll be aware of the two socket / 16 CPU threads limitation. Whilst this is adequate for many applications serving the mid-market enterprise, if you need more horsepower you’ll need to upgrade to Enterprise Edition which will amplify your licence cost significantly.
What to do if you’re using an Oracle RAC cluster
It is also worth noting that with Oracle 19c there have been further changes to the SE2 version in the clustering options. In previous SE2 versions, you could deploy an Oracle RAC cluster as long as you comply with the maximum socket/CPU thread rules across the 2-nodes.
With 19c SE2, Oracle have done away with the RAC option, so if you are currently using RAC as part of your DR strategy, you’ll need to consider:
- Opt to stay on 18c (but be mindful of the upcoming end-of-support date).
- Convert the RAC environment to a non-clustered configuration (Dbvisit for example provide a really useful alternative with their Dbvisit Standby solution).
- Upgrade SE2 to Enterprise Edition (great for HA but very costly if you are used to a Standard Edition cost model).
- Modernise your environment and migrate to a cloud platform (Oracle OCI is an obvious first option if you are wedded to Oracle).
Is it time to progress your database modernisation plans?
Of course, as you plan your Oracle upgrade options, it is an opportune time to look at the wider modernisation considerations which will include where your databases should be hosted. Is it time to move off-prem and migrate to Azure or AWS? What are the pros and cons?
The other option is whether or not Oracle is the right database for your workloads. Oracle is typically considered one of the most expensive aspects of a technology stack. You might want to start looking at alternative platform options which may reduce your cost model without compromising performance or functionality.
So, lots to consider. We frequently help our customers rethink their database environments to ensure effective ongoing modernisation.
If you are currently running Oracle 12c and are considering your upgrade plan, please feel free to contact me for an impartial discussion around the potential options.
Julian brings over 20 years of experience having started his career in the UK’s Oracle distribution channel in 1997.
He co-founded Onomi in 2015 and, following Onomi's acquisition by Node4 in 2017, he co-founded N4Stack.
He's working hard towards taking over the Database Managed Services world and we think he's doing a pretty good job!
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