Oracle Database Versioning

11 Mar 2020 04:32 PM By InfoSapient

DB Version Upgrade Considerations

"Which version or Oracle Database should I upgrade to?" is a common question when addressing an application or database upgrade. Finding the best answer can be time consuming, even for skilled DBAs. Below we will discuss the Oracle Database versioning scheme and provide guidance on determining the correct versions to consider for your next upgrade.

In an effort to maintain its leadership role with database innovation and cutting edge functionality, Oracle continues to evolve, releasing new updates frequently. With each major database release update, the release number (AKA version number) of the software increments to distinguish between the releases. As expected, with each new release comes new features.

 Aside from the release versions, Oracle releases Databases of two different types: Long Term Release and Innovation Release.

Long Term Release
  • Oracle Database Long Term releases are good for customers requiring a stable, tough database with a less frequent update schedule. Long term releases afford the longest length of support. At the time of this writing Long term releases have a minimum of 5 years of premier support and an additional 3 years of extended support. 

Innovation Release

  • Oracle offers Database Innovation Releases between long term releases. Innovation releases include many cutting edge technologies slated for the next long term release. Innovation releases are for customers who require the latest cutting edge features and functionality, and can accept frequent Database updates. 2 years of support is included with Innovation releases, with no extended support options.

In 2018, Oracle revised the way database releases are numbered. This is in part to make it easier to distinguish when the release was made available, but it also causes some confusion. This document reviews the new numbering system and explains similarities and differences.

Prior to 2018, Oracle used a numbering format which incremented with each new major release, regardless the year of release. The releases were expressed by 5 numbers separated by periods as shown below.

Starting with 18c, Oracle introduced a new numbering format. 

The first number signifies the major release number, which contains significant new functionality. It is accompanied by a letter representing new functionality.
  • 9i - Internet ready (Initial release 2009 - version
  • 10g - Grid computing (Initial release 2003 - version
  • 11g - Grid computing (Initial release 2007 - version
  • 12c - Cloud capable (Initial release 2013 - version Long Term Release
  • 18c - Cloud capable (Initial release 2018 - version = 18.1.0) Innovation Release
  • 19c - Cloud capable (Initial release 2019 - version = 19.1.0) Long Term Release
  • 21c - Cloud capable (Initial release 2021) - Innovation Release
Key points to understand.
  • The database versions skip from 12c directly to 18c. This is because starting in 2018, each new database version begins with the year in which is was released. For example, Oracle Database 18c was released in 2018 and version 19c was released in 2019. Prior to this the database version did not correspond to the release year.

The current long-term support release is Oracle Database 19c, with premier support planned at least through April of 2024 and extended support into April 2027. 

Database Release and Support Timelines

If you are planning on upgrading Oracle Database and want to be best prepared for the future, then InfoSapient recommends upgrading to Oracle Database 19c. It best equips customer environments for future growth, functionality and stability.

InfoSapient specializes in upgrading and migrating Oracle products, both on-prem and in the cloud. When you are ready for an Oracle Database, E-Business Suite or infrastructure upgrade to your Oracle environment, contact us to get started.

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The information contained herein is not legal advice. Any mention of a specific product, individual or company does not constitute an endorsement unless otherwise specified.