Kevin Kempf's Blog

February 10, 2010

The Endless Cycle of Upgrades

Filed under: Oracle, Support — kkempf @ 9:19 am

Start planning for your next upgrade the day you finish your current one

Lately, I feel like I’m doing an awful lot of Oracle upgrades (or at least planning for them) merely for the sake of upgrading.   In other words, there’s nothing wrong with the current version, but support reasons are beginning to be my driving cause for RDBMS upgrades.  Specifically, I’m talking about 10g to 11g upgrades; let’s take a look at the facts.  Oracle 10gR2 has a GA (General Availability) date of July 2005.   Oracle generously granted a year of free premier support last year, making premier support good through July 2010.   That means that their plan was for 4 years of premier support, and if you assume it takes at least 6 months to get the “latest” RDBMS tested and put in your production environment, you get 3.5 years before your next upgrade.  That simply doesn’t feel like a long time to me, but it seems to be the model for both Oracle Extended and Microsoft Extended:

Oracle Extended Support:

Program releases eligible for Extended Support will receive Software Update License & Support limited to the following:
• Program updates, fixes, security alerts, and critical patch updates
• Tax, legal and regulatory updates
• Upgrade scripts
• Major product and technology releases, which includes general maintenance releases, selected functionality releases, and documentation updates
• Assistance with service requests 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
• Access to My Oracle Support and Relsys Customer Support Portal (24 x 7 web-based customer support systems), including the ability to log service requests online
• Non-technical customer service during normal business hours

Extended Support does not include certification with new third party products/versions

Microsoft Lifecycle Support:

Support provided Mainstream Support phase Extended Support phase
Paid support (per-incident, per hour, and others) X X
Security update support X X
Non-security hotfix support X Requires extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending.
No-charge incident support X
Warranty claims X
Design changes and feature requests X
Product-specific information that is available by using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base X X
Product-specific information that is available by using the Support site at Microsoft Help and Support to find answers to technical questions X X

In other words, after our premier/mainstream support is done (4 years for Oracle, 5 for Microsoft) you will probably pay a little more, and we’ll continue to do pretty much everything we used to, except enhancements.

I got hit with a curve ball yesterday morning reading Steven Chan’s blog in regards to Discoverer.  Turns out, AS 10g and therefore Discoverer 10g (which we just got to about a year ago) falls off of premier support in December 2010.  Yet another upgrade which I have to perform, not because there’s any functional/security/design flaw, but because it came up on Oracle’s “list”.  In this instance, Oracle doesn’t even have a certified replacement available yet.  That’s right, Discoverer 11g (a part of Fusion Apps) is not 11i certified.  So basically, we’re under the 1 year mark, and there’s no upgrade path.  Logically, I’d like to think Oracle would just extend premier support for another year for AS10g, but who knows.

I contacted my Applications sales rep about a year ago in regards to the cost of keeping extended support for 11i (we have no compelling business reason to move to R12, nor do we particularly want to incur the cost in the midst of a recession).  The response was that the first and second years cost premier support +20%, and subsequent years were premier support +30% (until November 2012 when Extended Support ends).   I shutter to think of the contract rewrites for this, but perhaps it’s just another line/fee.



  1. Hi, Kevin,

    Thanks for helping get the word out about the implications of these support windows for Oracle users.

    If any of your readers have concerns about these support dates, particularly as far as they affect E-Business Suite environments, I would encourage them to drop me a private email or post a comment on my blog. I’ll ensure that the Fusion Middleware team gets whatever feedback your readers may have.


    Comment by Steven Chan — February 10, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  2. Steven,

    Well said.

    Please don’t take my frustration with Oracle as a whole at times personally.

    I consider your blog to be one of the most valuable web resources an 11i DBA has, besting even Metalink/MOS in many ways. I praise it (your blog) often here, and see many clicks having gone your way after visiting.

    Apologize for not having hyperlinked it today; fixed.

    Comment by kkempf — February 10, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

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