Mythics Blog

Oracle 19c, Autonomous or not Autonomous?

Posted on August 19, 2019 by Dave Partridge

Tags: Oracle, Oracle Database, Cloud Computing, Mythics Consulting, 19c, Oracle 19c, Autonomous

Oracle has adopted a new version numbering scheme. In addition, they have begun offering a new set of Autonomous Database services. With all the changes that have happened, it makes sense to step back and look at the offerings to determine what may be suitable for your Oracle database deployment.

In this article, we’ll demystify the version numbering changes, explore the Autonomous database solutions and differentiate between the two.

Oracle Database Version Numbering and Release Cycle

Starting in 2018, Oracle has introduced a new version numbering schema that coincides with the year of the database software release. Oracle Database 18c was released in February 2018. In January of 2019, the Oracle 19c database was released.

It would be easy to be concerned that 18c and 19c represent major upgrades.  However, this is not the case. 18c and 19c are both 12.2 releases of the Oracle database. Oracle Database 18c is Oracle 12c Release 2 (12.2.0.2).  Oracle Database 19c is the long-term support release, with premier support planned through March 2023 and extended support through March 2026. Oracle 19c is essentially Oracle 12c Release 2 (12.2.0.3). Therefore, if you are considering an Oracle 12.2 Database deployment, you should consider an upgrade to the latest 12.2 release, which turns out to be Oracle 19c.

The new version numbering scheme utilizes a 3-tier designation and carries 2 digits for other purposes.

  1. The first number in the version string designates the major release
  2. The second a release update (RU)
  3. The third a release update revision (RUR)
  4. The fourth a release increment version
  5. The fifth is reserved for future use

Major releases occur annually, corresponding to the year of release. The release update happens quarterly, numbered sequentially. Finally, the release update revision happens on as needed basis. An example version number, 19.3.0, would signify 19c as the major release, 3 as a third RU and 0 indicates the absence of an RUR. Oracle 18.6.0 is the 5th quarterly release and the 6th release overall.

Oracle Database Version Upgrade Matrix

The matrix below details the upgrade path from legacy database releases to 19c. For the reader who is interested in upgrading directly to 19c, or plans an intermediate stop prior, this matrix is meant to provide information for planning.

The rows of the chart represent the major / point database release levels and communicate the GA release date. The columns contain release levels, represented as time moves forward.

The black arrow provides the minimum release level required to perform a direct upgrade to the next release level in relation to the initial release on the row. Then, any following green arrow shows the minimum release required to get to its direct upgrade version.

For example, a database at major release 11.2 at 11.2.0.2 or higher to upgrade to release 12.1. After upgrading to 12.1, that database would have to be 12.1.0.1 or higher to have the possibility of being directly upgraded to a higher version and release levels. Alternatively, the 11.2.0.2 database could be upgraded to 11.2.0.3 or higher and directly upgraded to any higher version 12.1 up to 19c.

Oracle Autonomous Database

Coinciding with the 18c release in 2018, Oracle introduced the Autonomous Database. Autonomous is a self-driving database, self-securing, and self-repairing database.

The Autonomous Database is consumed through 2 database offerings. Introduced first, in March 2018, Autonomous Data Warehouse is a data warehouse implementation that supports business intelligence and analytics use cases. Next, in August 2018, the Autonomous Transaction Processing database was introduced. It is a purpose-built OLTP database implementation that supports mixed workloads, including 3rd-party and custom applications.

At the time of the Autonomous announcement from Oracle, 18c was advertised as the database that would power it. Time flies and now that we are in 2019.  The 19c database has been released and provides the foundation for Autonomous Database services. Given that 19c database that powers ATP and ADW, this may raise the question -  will my 19c database be Autonomous? And conversely, can I provision a 19c database that is not Autonomous?

Autonomous Database is a Choice

Autonomous database may be 19c-based, but that doesn’t mean that all 19c databases are Autonomous. 19c is GA in OCI for Autonomous and non-Autonomous databases. To deploy an Autonomous Database, it must be explicitly selected as the deployment option.

This becomes evident when looking at the list of services available within your OCI tenancy. To deploy an Autonomous DB, one must explicitly choose either the Autonomous Data Warehouse or and Autonomous Transaction Processing service.  This graphic is from my tenancy - the green rectangle from the hamburger dropdown shows ADW and ATP.  

As previously mentioned, 19c is a GA release and can be deployed as non-Autonomous by choosing a DBS service – Bare Metal, VM, or Exadata. These choices are highlighted by the red rectangle.

Choosing the Autonomous Data Warehouse or Autonomous Transaction Processing service will lead to the Autonomous Database service console where an Autonomous Database can be created, and the list of existing ones will appear. The following graphic is displayed from my tenancy and can be used as a comparison reference.

As we see, the choice to deploy an Autonomous Database is intentional and must be selected at service creation time.

Summary

With many changes afoot in terms of database deployment options and a recent change in the Oracle version number scheme, this may lead to confusion over which option is right for your deployment. Without a doubt, 19c is strongly recommended since it provides the latest features and will future proof the database architecture being the final 12.2 release.  The underpinning of 19c is 12.2 Oracle database, so there is a clear upgrade path without impact to applications.

Autonomous database is Oracle’s next-generation self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing database. If you’re interested in achieving Autonomous database success quickly, consider one of Mythics’ Autonomous Database Rapid Success Solutions. We’ll work with your team to rapidly deploy an Autonomous Database using our Cloud Database methodology and best practices.

Key points to remember are:

  • 19c is the final 12.2 release (equivalent to 12.2.0.3)
  • 19c can be deployed as a BM, VM or Exadata database, or as Autonomous
  • Deploying currently uses on 19c by default
  • To benefit from Autonomous Database features, it must be specifically selected during DBS creation

For more information, please contact us, and consider taking a look at take a look at the Mythics Oracle Autonomous Database (ATP) Rapid Success Solutions as a proven framework to help accelerate your cloud database migration and adoption.

Dave Partridge, Cloud Solution Consultant, Mythics, Inc.

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