Oracle 18c end of life: what are your options?

By Dave
21st May 2021

December 2020 saw the end of Oracle 11g support, and this year Oracle will also end the premier support for its 18c database.

In fact, as a result of Oracle’s business strategy to focus on innovative releases and the cloud, on 30th June 2021, Oracle Support will no longer release Critical Patch Updates for Oracle 18c, effectively ending the Premier support offered to its users. Critically, while in the past Oracle offered an extended support period of one additional year or more for older database releases, this won’t be the case for the 18c version.

This can have dire consequences for your Oracle database estate and your business.

In this situation, it might be tempting to ignore the news. After all, you will still be able to use and access your database. However, this is a risky approach not only because you won’t get support if you incur new problems, but most critically because your system would be vulnerable from a security point of view.

At WellData we would strongly recommend against this approach because unfortunately when things go wrong with a database and the data is lost, it is often too late to do anything in order to retrieve it. In fact, active prevention is always the best approach when it comes to data loss, and especially for security reasons, less frequent upgrades should always be avoided during the product life cycle of a database.

 

Without Oracle extended support, what are your options?

1. Upgrade – DIY, via Oracle or through the support of an external provider – upgrading to the latest version of the Oracle database management system will be the recommended choice and maybe a chance to consolidate your databases into a multitenant architecture, before it becomes mandatory in Oracle 20c database.

2. Move to Cloud – Oracle provides guidance on how to migrate to the cloud, although once again you can decide to use your own DBA team or to outsource.

3. Access WellData’s services as we continue to offer Oracle sustained support and the WellData monitoring and managed service.

 

If you decide to upgrade your Oracle database, what do you need to do in order to migrate?

Oracle has an entire set of documents designed to support you with the migration.

However, before you start the upgrade process, it is critical that you take some time to plan ahead on how to migrate. In fact, planning is most likely the part of the process that requires the most time. In your plan you should allow time for:

  • Checking the status and the functionality of software and hardware, to ensure that you can actually complete the migration (See the next point ‘What if you can’t upgrade’)
  • Planning for the downtime required for the migration. On top of the time needed for the migration, downtime can also incur costs as Oracle charges extra to run a migration during out of hours and so might your internal team. At WellData, this is part of our service so the additional cost is not a consideration.
  • Preparing a backup plan, should anything go wrong.
  • Testing, testing, testing! Everything should be run on a test system for error correction before you move to the live system.

PRO TIP: On https://support.oracle.com check out MOS note 884522.1 where you can see how to access and run Oracle’s Database pre-upgrading utility. This will highlight any database issues that could occur during a database upgrade.

 

What if you can’t upgrade?

There are instances where upgrades are not possible, or at least not straight away. Oracle has set up a number of paths that need to be followed before you can jump from a very old version to the latest releases.

You can check this useful document from Oracle to find the supported upgrade paths from Oracle 11 to 12/18 and then onto 19.

Coverage for Oracle Technology Products

Oracle Database Releases
Release GA Date Premier Support
Ends
Extended
Support Ends
Sustaining
Support Ends
8.1.7 Sep 2000 Dec 2004 Dec 2006 Indefinite
9.2 Jul 2002 Jul 2007 Jul 2010 Indefinite
10.1 Jan 2004 Jan 2009 Jan2012 Indefinite
10.2 Jul 2005 Jul 2010 Jul 2013 Indefinite
11.1 Aug 2007 Aug 2012 Aug 2015 Indefinite
11.2 Sept 2009 Jan 2015 Dec 2020 Indefinite
Enterprise
Edition 12.1
Jun 2013 Jul 2018 Jul 2022 Indefinite
Standard
Edition (SE) 12.1
Jun 2013 Aug 2016 N/A Indefinite
Standard
Edition One (SE1) 12.1
Jun 2013 Aug 2016 N/A Indefinite
Standard
Edition 2 (SE2) 12.1
Sept 2015 Jul 2018 Jul 2022 Indefinite
12.2.0.1 Mar 2017 Nov 2020 N/A Indefinite
18c Jun 2018 Jun 2021 N/A Indefinite
19c (Long
Term Release)
Apr 2019 April 2024 Apr 2007 Indefinite

 

Also, your applications or your hardware might not be certified against the latest version, in which case your business will need to invest in validating your application and updating your hardware before upgrading your Oracle system.

If you need support to check what versions of Oracle Database are supported on what versions of Operating systems you can visit https://support.oracle.com:

1. Click on the certifications tab

2. Complete the Product and Release fields

3. Click on search to display certified supported versions.

Contact us, if you need support, our team is here to help.

 

If upgrading your Oracle database is not an option, contact us because WellData will continue to provide Oracle sustained support and monitoring and managed service as a viable option instead of upgrading. WellData support includes, besides data management and administration, checking your Oracle database general availability by intervention should system error corrections be required.

 

In summary

Such a drastic change of architecture may look daunting, but it is important for the security of your Oracle database.

If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the in-house expertise to manage the migration of your data before the premier support ends, contact us. Our Oracle experts have the experience and the capabilities to help and advise on what is right for your business.

Whether you want to perform a consolidation, an upgrade or simply leave as is, we are here for you to support you and help you ensure minimum disruption and maximum security; whilst simultaneously protecting your Oracle database assets. In this way, you can concentrate on your business, and leave the rest to us.

 

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