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11.2.0.4 support? Don’t worry until 2017

By Franck Pachot

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Customers reluctant to go to 12c before 12.2, in addition to Standard Edition contract changes when going to 12c, has lead to lot of upgrades to 11.2.0.4 but what about support? Don’t worry. It’s supported for no additional cost until May 2017

Support levels

Do you know why you pay support (per year about 20% of license price)?
When you have a problem, you search on My Oracle Support. This is a really good service.
When you don’t find an answer you open a Service Request. This is not always a very nice experience, but it’s the only way to get info that is not public.
When you have a bug, you can get workarounds, existing patches, you can request a backport of a patch, and even get a new patch when development has made the fix.
And of course, you need to have support in order to get new releases.

But a Software Editor can’t support all the old versions. Here are the 3 levels:

  • Premier support during general availability: you get all support, usually for 5 years after new version (the .1 release) availability
  • Extended support for few additional years: existing patches, major fixes with PSU, …
  • Sustaining support: only exising patches here

Price

You pay for support each year, about 20% of licence cost.
That’s for premier support. Extended and sustaining supports have additional cost that increase with years.

12c

12c is the latest version. For your new projects, you should go to the latest patchset: 12.1.0.2 which is in premier support until mid 2018
If you upgrade, I recommend to go to 12.1.0.2 as well. Don’t think that 11.2.0.4 is more stable because it’s wrong. You should go to the latest version. Don’t use all new features if you fear regression, but go to latest version.
If you are in Standard Edition you have a problem because until 1 month ago only 12.1.0.1 was available and if you are in Standard Edition One, you can’t go to 12.1.0.2 without additional maintenance cost (+20% when going to SE2)

And the problem is that there will be no extended support for 12.1.0.1 which means latest PSU will be JUL16. If your security policy requires to get latest critical fixes, then you can’t stay in sustaining support.

11g

If you are in 11g latest patchset – 11.2.0.4 – premier support ended at the beginning of the year. It’s extended support so you still have PSUs but you should pay for it.

The good news is that the extended support is ‘waived’ – understand you don’t pay the additional fee. It has been waived until Feb. 2016 but today (thanks to Dominic Giles tweet and Martin Klier blog post) we got the news: it’s waived until May 2017

CaptureWaived11204

Note that PSUs are only for 11.2.0.4, the latest patchset.

So what?

The recommendation is still to go to latest patchset 12.1.0.2
But if you choose to stay in 11g, then you still have support for 11.2.0.4 without additional cost. So, don’t worry…

Why did I say that 12.1 is not less stable than 11.2?
First, the ‘dot-one’ fear is a myth. Probably the oldest myth in Oracle because there were no version one. At that time, they thought that nobody would buy a first version so the first commercial version was called Oracle 2.
But today, each patchset brings new features. Only the PSU brings stability: only critical fixes and no new features. Remember that 11.2.0.4 has been released after 12.1.0.1 and had some new features backported to it.
From our experience, we encountered more issues when going to 11.2.0.4 than 12.1.0.2. If you want stability, don’t use multitenant, disable some adaptive features [not sure it’s good to say that], or better. use SQL Plan Baselines, but go to latest release. It’s there that bugs are fixed first.

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Oracle Team
Oracle Team