It’s been about a year since Oracle decided to change their database version schema, from version with a couple of releases (e.g. 12.1 is 12cR1 and 12.2 is 12cR2) to a single annual version (e.g. 18c and 19c). Now, when 18c is stable and 19c is here on the cloud and Exadata and almost here on-premises, I thought it’s a good time to revisit this topic.
After 12.2 was released, Oracle announced they are changing the naming for the database versions, there is no more release 1 and release 2 of the database per version, but an annual release with a single number (which is also the year). This started with 18c (released in July 2018 for on-premises) and will continue with 19c (should be released for on-premises during Q2 2019).
At OOW and other conferences, when Oracle introduced this new convention, they talked about a few benefits:
- Simplified version numbers (instead of the old 5 digit one)
- No more “first” and “second” release of the version when everybody wants to wait for the second one while the first one is perfectly stable (the claim is that it used to be like that in the past, but it’s not anymore. However, the naming of the database product causes people to still think that way)
- No more patch sets, there are real releases anyway
Even then, when this was first introduced, it was quite obvious (and Oracle said that out loud), that 18c is actually 18.104.22.168 and 19c is actually 22.214.171.124.
The thing is that lately I was talking with a client about upgrading their 126.96.36.199 databases, so I looked at MOS note 742060.1 to look for some more info about which release we should upgrade to.
And what do I see? This quote: “Release 19 will be the last release (“long term support” release) for 12.2“. Also, the support dates: 12.2 support ends on 23-Nov-2020, 18c support will end 2 years after 19c is released for on-premises (so Q2 of 2021) and 19c support will end on 31-Mar-2026 (that’s 7 years!). From one side they say: no more “first” and “second” releases, while on the other hand 19c is the “last release” of 12c, and support dates reflect that.
So, I’m wondering, is this just a transitioning phase? Will 20x (whatever letter they’ll choose) will be the “first release” and 21x/22x the “last release” (while support of 20x will be short and 21x/22 will be long)? Because if it will be this way, the “benefits” of the new version concept are irrelevant, this is just a new number but the concept has not changed. Or maybe will 20x be independent, with long enough support as well as 21x and all the following versions?
I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.