Reminder: Premier Support for EBS 11i ends November 2010

Apps sysadmins are going to have a busy year.  If you're still running your E-Business Suite environment on the 10gR2 database, I hope that you're aware that Premier Support for 10.2 ends in July 2010.  But if you're still on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i version 11.5.10, the impending end of Premier Support this year on November 30, 2010 is even more important. 

Support windows for Oracle E-Business Suite are listed here:
Premier Support runs for five years from a product's first release.  In the case of Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10, that window was increased to six years in recognition of the challenges that some of you face in justifying major upgrades in today's economy.

Here's a graphical summary of the EBS 11.5.10's support stages:

Graphical summary of E-Business Suite 11i support stages Premier Extended Sustaining
First year of Extended Support fees for EBS 11.5.10 waived

Regular readers may recall that fees for the first year of Extended Support for EBS 11.5.10 are waived.  There is nothing that customers need to do to remain fully supported other than keep your support contracts current.  Higher fees for Extended Support will start December 1, 2011 for most platforms.  This is formally documented here:
What are the differences between Premier, Extended, and Sustaining Support?

The differences between Premier and Extended Support coverage are summarized here (see the Lifetime Support Policy document for the product of your choice for a more detailed discussion of these coverages):


This table shows that when a product goes into Extended Support, Oracle no longer has the obligation to certify it with "most new third-party products/versions." 

From an E-Business Suite perspective, third-party products include:

  • Microsoft Windows operating systems for end-user desktops
  • Mac OS X operating systems for end-user desktops
  • Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari browsers for end-user desktops
  • Microsoft Office releases for end-user desktops
  • Server-based operating systems for application-tier and database-tier servers, including Microsoft Windows Server, IBM AIX, HP-UX, RedHat Linux, Novell SUSE, and others
What are the Extended Support implications for third-party certifications?

An illustrative example may be useful:  As a strictly fictitious example, let's consider a case where Microsoft releases a new version of Internet Explorer in, say, February 2011.  I need to emphasize that this is strictly a hypothetical example; I am not privy to IE release dates and would not be permitted to speculate about them here.

Extended Support for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i began on December 1, 2010.  Therefore, Oracle has no formal obligation to certify Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i with this February 2011 version of IE.  For the sake of this hypothetical example, let's assume that we have not made any plans for certifying this new IE version with Apps 11i.

Taking this example one step further, let's assume that you choose to deploy this latest IE version to your end-user desktops, disregarding the risk that it hasn't been formally certified with Apps 11i.  Your early tests look promising, so you roll it out.

You then encounter a critical issue with EBS, that new IE release and, say, the latest JRE release.  If you report that issue, we will (in all likelihood) attempt to investigate and resolve the issue.  However, if it turns out that the fix would require broad or deep changes to EBS 11i, Oracle has the option of suggesting that you roll back to a previously-certified browser such as IE 8.

Let me stress that this is an hypothetical example only, one designed to illustrate the possible risks associated with Extended Support.  We haven't made any concrete plans for certifying -- or not certifying -- EBS 11i with new browser versions yet.  But this example serves to underline that Oracle has no formal obligations to release new third-party certifications once EBS 11i moves into Extended Support status.

What should EBS 11i users do?

We now have three major EBS codelines:  Release 11.5.10, Release 12.0, and Release 12.1.  Here's a graphical summary of the support windows for these three releases (drawn from the Lifetime Support Policy above):

Graphical 
summary of Premier and Extended support stages for E-Business Suite 
release 11i 12-0 and 12-1
Remember that the Extended Support window is intended to give you some breathing room to upgrade to the next release covered by Premier Support.  So, you should consider your entire E-Business Suite 11.5.10 environment to be frozen after December 1, 2010, the start of Extended Support. 

Planning for the worst-case scenario where we don't release any new third-party certifications for Apps 11.5.10 at all, "frozen" means that you shouldn't expect to be able to upgrade anything on your EBS 11.5.10 desktop clients, application tier servers, or database tier servers. 

There's no justifiable business case for EBS 11i users to upgrade to EBS 12.0 at this point.  All E-Business Suite 11.5.10 users should plan on upgrading to the EBS 12.1 codeline. 

What about the minimum baseline for EBS 11.5.10 Extended Support?

A new set of minimum technical requirements for Apps 11i goes into effect when Extended Support begins in November 2010.  These new minimum baseline patch requirements are listed here:
As always, Oracle Support will assist with diagnosis, triage, and debugging of any issues that you report for your E-Business Suite environment.  You will continue to have access to any existing online support tools, knowledge base documentation, and pre-existing fixes.

If you report a new issue that requires a new bug fix, you should be aware that new patches will be released only for the new baseline patches listed in the Minimum Baseline Patch Requirements Note.  You should plan to apply the baseline patches (at minimum) listed in Note 883202.1 by November 2010 in order to receive any new bug fixes.

For a more detailed discussion about the new 11.5.10 patching baseline, see this article
Spotlight on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 upgrades at OpenWorld 2010

This is the year when upgrade fever begins to glow red-hot.  OAUG/Collaborate 2010 sessions last month that covered EBS 12 upgrades were filled to ballroom capacities.  Naturally, Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 upgrades will be heavily covered at OpenWorld 2010 this year, too.  I expect that this year's conference will have a large number of customer case studies about R12 upgrades and reimplementations, R12 upgrade panels, and lots of sessions with practical tips for upgrading.

One more critical resource:  R12 Upgrade Forum


There are many resources to support your upgrade to R12 (see the Related Articles section below), but don't forget that we have an Oracle-sponsored R12 upgrade forum on the Oracle Technology Network:
This forum has thousands of practical tips and advice from Apps DBAs who have gone before you in implementing Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12. 

The discussions in this forum run around the clock, notably led by Hussein Sawwan, one of the EBS community's most-prolific Oracle ACEs.  Apparently, Hussein never sleeps.  But Hussein's not alone:  a core team of Oracle engineers and some of the most-experienced Apps DBAs in our EBS community hang out there.  They collectively provide amazing advice about R12 to novices and veterans alike.  Some questions are answered in minutes, much faster than most Service Requests logged via Oracle Support.

Related Articles
The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction.  It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract.   It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decision.  The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle's products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.
Comments:

Hi Steven,

My management chain asked me this very question about the difference between Premier and Extended support. I couldn’t explain nearly as well as you did. We have integrated many Oracle products with EBS. The customer wanted us to ‘translate these support policies, timelines, etc into English’ so that they can clearly see which product needs to be extended and when. I read your articles and the presentation on OAUG/Collaborate 2010. They are all good translations and are invaluable to us.

Best Regards,
Jennifer.

Posted by Jennifer Chen on May 25, 2010 at 10:26 AM PDT #

Hi, Jennifer,

Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear that you found it useful.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on May 26, 2010 at 02:16 AM PDT #

What can I say besides Thank you?!

I look oh-so-forward to going to 12.1 in 2011 (work has already begun, but you know how things go at the enterprise level).

Thanks for including the blurb about upgrade sessions that will be at OpenWorld. It gives me something to give to management as yet another incentive to paying my way to OpenWorld 2010. Oracle Corporate should give you a kick back for signups as a result :)

Posted by Jay Weinshenker on May 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM PDT #

Very nicely explained.
Actually wanted to know how good or bad is it to live with sustaining support.
Is this is a good idea if I am going to sunset my application and keep it as a read only mode and use it very very minimally for statutory purposes ( reporting) .

Posted by Mihir on July 19, 2010 at 08:08 PM PDT #

Hello, Mihir,

I think that you may be the best person to evaluate whether Sustaining Support meets your organization's requirements. In my view, the primary determinant is whether you can essentially "freeze" your environment with no changes to the E-Business Suite, the underlying server operating systems for the application and database tiers, and your end-users' desktop clients.

If you can freeze all three tiers and your environment is working now, then it's reasonable to expect that it will to continue to work if nothing else is changed. In that case, Sustaining Support may well meet your requirements. You should do a careful analysis to ensure that that's the case for you.

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 20, 2010 at 01:31 AM PDT #

I've noticed that note 976688.1 mentions:
"*New* Upcoming feature to run check for 11.5.10 baseline requirement.

An added feature to check if your instance meets the minimum baseline patch requirements for extended support on EBS 11.5.10 after December 1st, 2010, is planned to be available soon via Patch Wizard by applying a patch. Please see Note 883202.1 for all the latest information and details including the availability of this patch."

Any idea on when this patch is due out? I've looked through Note 883202.1 and cannot spot the information mentioned.
We want to fully plan the patching process, it would be useful to confirm that we've captured all the patches we need to apply and this sounds like a useful double-check.

Posted by Ian Neal on August 22, 2010 at 10:04 PM PDT #

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