Database Maintenance Options after Premier Support

A few years ago, Oracle consolidated different levels of support to the Standard Premier Support.  Oracle stated that, as an Oracle customer, you can expect the best with Premier Support, our award-winning, next generation support program. Premier Support provides you with maintenance and support for your Oracle Database products for five years from their general availability date. You benefit from Major product and technology releases Technical support My Oracle Support Updates, fixes, security alerts, data fixes, and critical patch updates Tax, legal, and regulatory updates Upgrade scripts Certification with most new third-party products/versions Certification with most new Oracle products.  But what happens after the five-year support period, what are the options for continuous database maintenance?

For example, Oracle RAC database has be around for five years.  The support for Oracle exists until Oct 31, 2013. The last CPU and PSU will be available in October 2013, that's when it reaches its end-of-error-correction support date.  The good news is, Oracle offers extended support license for beyond the standard premier support.  The extended support will provide CPU and PSU until Jan 31, 2018.  CPUs and PSUs will keep getting generated every quarter until Jan 31, 2018. We can gain access to these patches if you are on for extended support.  As usual, PSU includes the CPU within, i.e, PSU includes all the fixes of the CPU along with extra fixes. Also, it changes the 5th digit of the database version when applied.

After Oct 31, 2013, we still get technical support for via My Oracle portal with our standard premier support contract, such as getting technical assistance and raising SRs, but we will not download new CUP and PSUs.

Therefore, after the standard premier support period, there are three options: you can apply the October 2013 CPU and then continue run the database as it is. However, without updated security patch, the management and the database staff hold liabilities for the potential security risk. 

The second option is to upgrade database to or even 12c as it is available now.  There will be some work; you may need to apply PSU to update to higher version of as rerequisites or preparation for upgrading to or higher, according to Oracle Support.  For upgrading from to, consider that Oracle is a full release, any pre-11.2 Oracle Clusterware (CRS) can be upgraded to directly; also started from 11gR2, in-place patch set upgrade is not supported, any patch set must be installed into a new HOME (out-of-place upgrade) as explained in Oracle DOC [1363369.1].

The third option is to obtain extended support license for for a while. With this option, you have another five years to stay on the current version, but it costs money for extended license.  Also, if you stay too long on older version, you may miss bug fixes and new features for performance and functionalities.

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