Kevin Kempf's Blog

June 24, 2015

Database 12c: Support, Installation Types, Costs and Clarifications

Filed under: 12c, Licensing — kkempf @ 10:45 am


What the heck is this all about?

This is a bit off my usual rambling path, but because I think it’s important to understand I thought it a useful diversion.  Database 12c is out there, and hopefully you’re moving towards it.  That 11.2 database that you love because it works reliably?  It’s got one foot in the support grave.  So I started to research all of the implications and thought I might save you some time by summarizing what I found here.

Support Expiry

What’s the difference between premier, extended and sustaining?  You can find the official information here.


In short, I interpret premier as the “normal” state, where you can get support at your expected cost, security updates come out regularly, you can log bugs and support will create fixes as required.


When you wait too long to upgrade, you fall into the extended support bucket.  You lose some things.  For example, Oracle stops certifying products against this older release.


You’re way behind the curve.  Critical patches, and other rather critical updates stop rolling out unless they existed before sustaining support began.  Not where you want to be in production unless you have no other choice.

How much time do I have to migrate to 12c database?

Not much, unless Oracle throws out another premier support extension.  You can see the official GA information here(see page 4 for database); Oracle bases the support windows on what the General Availability (GA) date was for the release.  The bottom line is that as it stands right now, 11.2 is already out of premier support as of January, 2015.  Good news: they waived that for 1 year.  “NOTE: The fee for the first year of Extended Support for 11.2 has been waived for all customers. The Premier Support timeline has been extended one year to show that customers do not need to pay the Extended Support fee to receive Error Correction Support for that first year.

Now you have until January, 2016 to get to 12c, or you fall on extended support.  Who cares?  What’s the difference?  You better contact your sales rep, but I know in the past I’ve paid a support surcharge to stay on an older release (I didn’t have a choice, my 3rd party application wasn’t certified on the latest release yet) during extended support.  Here’s the official dates from Oracle:

GA Date September 2009 June 2013
Premier Support Ends January 2015 July 2018
Extended Support Ends January 2018 July 2021
Sustaining Support Indefinite Indefinite

Database 12c: Standard Edition One Versus Enterprise Edition, Container vs. Single Instance

This caused me a lot of confusion so I thought I’d clarify some things.  For anyone with their head in the sand, database 12c introduces multi-tenant.  In a nutshell, this means you can run multiple databases in one instance, and share the data dictionary overhead in the container (system, sysaux, and more) while the data lives in the pluggable.  It’s way more complicated than that, I know, but that’s the gist of it.

Standard Edition One Standard Edition Enterprise Edition Container Install In-Memory Feature Yes Yes Yes Optional No No No Yes Optional Yes

So what does this mean?  As of right now, if you’re running Standard Edition One 11g and trying to get to 12c, you cannot install, you must use  It doesn’t ask you what version you want to put down, it only does Enterprise Edition!  During the process, the GUI asks you if you want to create the database as a container database.  If you’re uninterested in multi-tenant (or can’t afford it.. more on that in a moment) you can simply not check that box and you get what Oracle now refers to as a “Single Instance” database.

It gets more interesting with Standard Edition One.  I have a handful of production databases running on SE1, because I want them isolated from my big production instance, they don’t do much, etc.  Well why not consolidate these under one multi-tenant SE1 environment and make my life easier?  Because you’re not allowed to.  SE1 allows 1 container and 1 pluggable per license.  Why anyone would do that is a mystery to me, but that was the answer I received from Oracle sales.  I don’t know for certain if that also applies to Standard Edition but for Standard Edition One, you can’t run multiple pluggables.  Did I mention SE1 was designed to compete with M$ SQL Server and they’ve been doing their version of multi-tenant for years?

Break out your wallet

If you want to use any of the cool new features of 12c, including multi-tenant, bring your wallet to the negotiating table.  You can find list pricing here.  If you click on US Technology Commercial Price List, you will see that two of the most core, critical features of 12c come with an added cost:

Add On Cost Items

Multitenant In Memory
Named User Plus $350 $460
Software Update License & Support $77 $101.20
Processor License $17,500 $23,000
Software Update License & Support $3850 $5060

These two aren’t cheap.  Multitenant costs about an extra 33% of the base database price, and In-Memory almost 50%.  If you don’t know what In-Memory is, I’m not talking about the buffer cache.  You need to check it out, it’s amazing.

How does this pertain to EBS?

It’s complicated.  If you look at the good work being done by Steven Chan, you can see was officially certified with EBS 12.1 last fall, and if you look at certify at support you can see for EBS 12.2 there are some “lagging” certifications (most notably dataguard, active dataguard, transportable tablespaces).


Bottom line: do your homework, your mileage may vary.  I’d like to think that because these certifications came well after the RDBMS GA date, Oracle might be generous and buy us EBS customers an exception with more time on 11gR2 or 12c, but you’d be foolish to count on it.

Parting Shot

This page includes tabs to downloadable .pdf’s of the 12c database architecture diagrams, performance/data dictionary view, background process descriptions, multitenant architecture, etc.

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