Posted on October 7, 2020 by Ted Nanayakkara
Well, it's that time again, when the whole Oracle database community will be dealing with questions around upgrading to Database 19c from 11g and 12c versions (and some even older releases). Unlike previous upgrades, this upgrade and all future upgrades going forward will be affected by a major change with the Oracle product release cycle and Oracle's new support model.
Oracle changed their versioning method used in the product release cycle for new versions beyond 12c. Instead of following an ordered numbering scheme like 9i, 10g, 11g, and 12c, Oracle now uses annual releases with a new version each year using the nomenclature 18c, 19c, and 20c dictated by release year going forward. Here are the old versions to new versions mappings.
|Oracle Database Version||Initial Release Version|
Oracle Database 12c Release 1
Oracle Database 12c Release 2
Oracle Database 18c
220.127.116.11 ---> 18.1.0
Oracle Database 19c
18.104.22.168 ---> 19.1.0
Oracle introduced a new support model offering extended support only to certain releases. There are two types of Oracle Database releases: Long Term Releases and Innovation Releases.
Oracle Database Long Term Releases are ideal for use cases that benefit from less frequent upgrades to newer releases. Long Term Releases offer the highest level of stability and the longest length of error correction support. These releases have 5 years of Premier Support, followed by 3 years of Extended Support. When combined with Extended Support, customers typically have almost 4 years to upgrade from one Long Term Release to the next Long-Term Release.
In between Oracle Database Long Term Releases, Oracle delivers Oracle Database Innovation Releases that include many enhancements and new capabilities, which will also be included in the next Long-Term Release. Innovation Releases are designed to enable customers to continuously use leading-edge technologies to rapidly develop or deploy new applications or augment existing applications. Support for Innovation Releases includes 2 years of Premier Support, but there is no Extended Support. Production workloads can be deployed on Innovation Releases if upgrading within 2 years to a newer release is factored into the deployment plan.
To help you plan, below is a visual roadmap that captures Oracle Database Releases from 11.2 onward, showing the lifetime support stages (Premier, Extended) and the Error Correction windows for each release. Note, not all releases are eligible for Extended Support or error correction options (i.e., 22.214.171.124, 18c).
It is OK to skip versions. Most customers upgrade from one Long Term Release to the next Long-Term Release.
*Support Expiration Dates Reference MOS Doc ID 742060.1
Market-Driven Support: This is a separate paid service offered through Oracle Advanced Customer Services for the terminal release of 11gR2. Oracle ACS will provide code fixes or workarounds to correct newly discovered issues that result in Severity 1 production incidents, continue to evaluate security-related risks and other newly discovered vulnerabilities that could potentially impact 11gR2 and thereby provide critical security patches or updates for 11gR2, provide the customer with one Upgrade Planning Workshop designed to assist with developing an upgrade plan during the contract period. This support offering is limited to Oracle Database 126.96.36.199. Coverage does not extend to new certifications, third-party products, or any Java/JDK functionality, including Java components embedded in the database. The service also excludes any updates related to cryptography and network encryption. This offering does not include standard Security Patch Updates (SPUs). (https://www.oracle.com/a/ocom/docs/ds-mds-database-11g-r2.pdf ).
Limited Error Correction: This is a new offering set up for Oracle Database 188.8.131.52 only. Limited Error Correction (LEC) will pick up when Error Correction ends on Nov 31, 2020; LEC will provide customers with an additional 16 months of Severity 1 fixes and Security Updates as they complete their 19c upgrades.
But instead of focusing on the 11g, 12c, and 18c de-support issues as the primary driver of the 19c upgrade, let's look at some of the reasons why it makes sense to upgrade to 19c sooner rather than later.
Reason 1 – Automatic Indexing: One of the most compelling features that came in Oracle Database 19c is automatic indexing, which is based on common SQL tuning methods. The difference is that the process will be fully automated instead of being manual. Oracle Database 19c will identify candidate indexes, verify their effectiveness, perform online validations, and then implement the indexes where appropriate.
Reason 2 – Automated Testing of Query Plans: With Oracle Database 19c, database administrators (DBAs) will no longer need to manually perform regression tests on new query execution plans prior to upgrading from earlier versions of the database management system. New functionality built into 19c will automatically check the built-in execution plans against existing ones, and then replace the current plans that can benefit from upgrading and retaining those that will be faster without the upgrade. This means queries run as well as or better than before without DBAs having to take any action.
Reason 3 – Active Data Guard DML Redirection: With the release of Oracle Database 19c, Data Active Guard will get added support for data manipulation language (DML) redirection. This new feature will make it possible to run DML statements against an active-standby database. Data Guard will redirect the statements to the primary database, where the data changes will be applied. The updated data will then be streamed back to the standby database to maintain redundancy.
Reason 4 – Easy Connect Enhancements: Oracle Database 19c included several improvements to Oracle's Easy Connect naming methodology. Also known as EZConnect Plus, this approach streamlines the process of connecting to Oracle databases over TCP/IP networks, letting users do so without performing lookups in the tnsnames.ora file. The Easy Connect syntax was simplified in Oracle 19c. It can now include multiple hosts and ports in connection strings designed to make it easier to load-balance client connections. The Easy Connect adapter can also accept a list of name-value pairs.
Reason 5 – Previously chargeable features now offered free of charge: Oracle now allows limited use of Multitenant, In-Memory and full use of Spatial at no cost to you. The first three pluggable databases within each container database are now included with DBEE and DBSE2 licenses without having to purchase Multitenant option. You also get to use up to 16 GB of in-memory column store cache architecture without having to purchase In-Memory option.
There are several options available to upgrade databases from their current version to Oracle Database 19c. The methodology customers choose is driven by their specific requirements and use cases. Here are the most common paths we see customers take to get to 19c.
1. Direct Upgrade to Oracle Database 19c
Customers who prefer the simplest way forward do a direct upgrade to 19c. The direct upgrade method is an in-place upgrade where either the Database Upgrade Assistant (DBUA) or command-line upgrade scripts are used to upgrade your database to Oracle Database 19c. Database Upgrade Assistant is a graphical user interface (GUI) that guides you through the database upgrade process and presents a series of screens that allow you to specify options for your database upgrade. Some older versions may require you to upgrade to intermediate versions before upgrading to 19c, while later versions will allow you to go directly to 19c. Direct upgrade is supported when the source database runs one of the releases marked with green arrows in the following table. Upgrading to intermediate versions before a direct upgrade to 19c is shown with black arrows.
2. Data Migration Methods to move data to Oracle Database 19c
Customers who prefer to move to a new environment during the 19c upgrade, such as to new server hardware, to new operating systems or to cloud platforms, or to new data layouts, can do a fresh 19c install and migrate their data to this new 19c environment. Here are some methodologies to migrate your data to 19c.
a. Using Oracle Data Pump – This is an Oracle tool used to create a logical copy of your data in a dump file that can be used to migrate data into 19c databases
b. Using RMAN – This is an Oracle tool used to create a backup image of a physical copy of your database and then recover your data into 19c databases
c. Using Transportable Tablespaces -This is an Oracle feature that can be used to migrate tablespaces containing your data into 19c databases
3. Multitenant Architecture features used to migrate to Oracle Database 19c
Customers who like to take advantage of the new flexible multitenant architecture with its container databases and pluggable databases can do a new fresh 19c install before bringing their self-contained data captured within pluggable databases to this new 19c multitenant environment. Here are some methodologies based on your use cases.
a. Pluggable Databases (PDB) – You can plug in each pluggable database into a 19c container database and then upgrade each pluggable database to 19c
b. Container Databases (CDB) – You can either upgrade the container database and all its pluggable database to 19c in one single command, or create a new 19c container database and upgrade pluggable databases one at a time, or create a new 19c container database and upgrade a subset of pluggable databases to 19c
c. Non-Container Databases (Non-CDB) – You can upgrade non-container database to 19c, then create a pluggable database from the non-container database and plug it into a 19c container database
In summary, an Oracle DBA knows this is always a big factor in deciding when to jump from one long-term release to the next. Historically, if we look at this "upgrade" decision, many Oracle database shops would defer the major release upgrade process as long as possible by patching to the terminal dot release and paying the extra dollars for Extended Support. But there are new database features and architectures that remove many of these obstacles to upgrading and provide many technical benefits and business value that make a strong case for upgrading as soon as possible.
If you are exploring the idea of a 19c upgrade and need some help, take a look at a new services bundle we've put together Mythics Oracle Database 19c Upgrade Solutions. This services bundle led by Mythics Consulting has been successful with other Mythics customers looking for expertise and experience in building an enterprise 19c upgrade road map and then provided a clear, cost-effective plan to prepare, upgrade/migrate, report, and then even manage those new 19c environments.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of upgrading your database to 19c and improving the efficiency of your IT Environment? Contact us today and a Mythics database expert will drop you a line to discuss your unique requirements, and lay out a plan for success.
Ted Nanayakkara, Enterprise Architect, Mythics