Understanding 9iR2 Support Coverage Implications for Apps 11i

An important area that E-Business Suite systems architects and DBAs need to monitor are Oracle's Support Coverage windows for different parts of their environments.  Even if you do keep track of these things, however, it can be tricky to understand how different support windows relate to each other, and some of the implications might not be immediately obvious.

Critical Reading for Upgrade Planning

Despite its somewhat innocuous and misleading title, the following document contains specifics about support coverage dates for E-Business Suite releases, Database releases, and Fusion Middleware releases.  It also contains the definitions for critical terms such as Premier Support, Extended Support, and Sustaining Support.

This is mandatory reading if you're evaluating upgrade options and schedules for your Apps 11i environment:
Premier Support Coverage Ending in 2007 for 9iR2

Here's the E-Business Suite Release 11i table from that document:

Applications Support Coverage:

And here's the Database table from that document:

Database Support Coverage:

Unraveling This Skein

If you're running your Apps 11.5.9 or 11.5.10 environment on the 9.2 database, you should begin planning your upgrade to the 10gR2 database as soon as possible.  Since that upgrade path is available for your Apps release, Premier Support for the 9.2 database for your environment will end in July 2007, as shown above.

If you're on Apps 11.5.8, it's a little trickier.  As you can see, Premier Support coverage for the 9iR2 (9.2) database and Release 11.5.8 both end in 2007, but at different times:
  • 9.2:  Premier Support ends July 2007
  • 11.5.8:  Premier Support ends November 2007
However, the tricky part is that 11.5.8 users can't upgrade their 9.2 database, since the use of the 10gR2 database requires 11.5.9, at minimum.

In a situation like this, Oracle's general support policy has you covered:  E-Business Suite 11.5.8 users running the 9.2 database will automatically be eligible to receive Premier Support for database issues until November 2007.  However, if you're still on 11.5.8, it may be worthwhile upgrading to 11.5.10 well-before November 2007.

Safest Policy:  Staying Current

It might sound obvious, but this underlines our general recommendation to stay current with the latest releases of the E-Business Suite and associated technology stack components.  Users on the latest releases (i.e. Apps 11.5.10 and the 10.2 database) don't have to worry about these kinds of complexities around timing of support coverage windows.

Related
Comments:

Perhaps it might be useful to direct these instructions and concerns to the managers rather than the dbas?

You know, for once it might be interesting to have Oracle do the hard work of convincing management to part with the expenditure of upgrading.

Instead of expecting dbas to do that work and then blaming them for not being able to convince management to afford the upgrades?

Unless of course Oracle is now discounting the price of upgrading off the licence fees?

Which cost? What, folks are now supposed to upgrade application and db software without a single test cycle, is it? And test cycles don't cost money in human/system resources and time?
And after that the time down for production upgrade is for free?

All up if you do the maths, it might down on you folks that forcing users to upgrade costs those users money, on top of the already not small expense of running Oracle itself!

Posted by Nuno Souto on December 19, 2006 at 01:27 PM PST #

Nuno,Remember that the custom of killing the messenger bearing bad news has (thankfully) long since passed.  In the spirit of dialogue, I'd like to thank you for your comments.  Your frustration is evident, and you raise some interesting points -- albeit expressed a bit forcefully.  I would encourage you to send links to these articles to your management.  One of the goals for this site is to provide system architects and DBAs with resources to support your operations, and maintenance is one of those tasks that never seems to get the respect and attention that it deserves.  If these articles help you make your case in some way, so much the better.I would be surprised and concerned if Oracle staff have been heard to "blame" DBAs for their organizations' maintenance policies.  This would be misguided criticism.  As for testing, Oracle doesn't dictate your organization's testing policies -- these are internal business processes specific to your firm.  Your system and IT managers are responsible for establishing testing policies that meet your organization needs.  This might be material for a future article; I'll reflect on this one.  Some enterprise customers take a year to test new code rollouts.  Some customers don't bother testing at all before, rolling new patches into production.  What works for your firm will not apply to others.  So, Oracle doesn't presume to tell you how or when to do these rollouts.Your final point neatly underlines the Software Vendor's Dilemma:  if we're slow to fix bugs, users get upset by the absence of patches.  If we do fix those bugs, users get upset because they have to apply those patches.  This is why we try to offer a variety of ways of getting and applying patches.  These can be in roll-ups, Family Packs, Maintenance Packs, and patchsets.  Once again, you (and your management) have the responsibility for setting policies for applying patches that meet your organization's needs.  This, too, is a good topic for a future article, and I'll try to tackle that one when I have some time.I'd be curious to hear from other readers, too.  What are some of the criteria you use for applying patches and upgrades?  How do you convince reluctant managers to approve downtime and upgrade testing?Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on December 19, 2006 at 01:49 PM PST #

Ricardo,Thanks for your comments.  I appreciate the myriad reasons why upgrades can slip down the priority list.  I plan to put together a column on some of the Apps-specific arguments for keeping current; I hope that will be useful for you and others struggling to find compromises between stability and currency in your systems management plans.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on December 28, 2006 at 07:02 AM PST #

Hi

We try to get as updated as we can be in our installs, and we have some advantage in the fact that all our EBS instances are hosted by Oracle OnDemand. Right now we are in 11.5.10.1 and, by OnDemand Standards, running on top of 9.2 database.

Also I understand the point of view of Nuno, the solutions are not cheap, and every upgrade has a lot of hidden costs. But, as I told to the board of directors, the costs of fall to far behind in the "evolution" of the EBS has greather costs in the long term.

Regards

Ricardo Sanz
COPESA CIO

Posted by Ricardo Sanz on December 28, 2006 at 08:10 AM PST #

Steven,

Can you confirm that the loss of Premier support for the 11.5.9/9iR2 combination will occur in July 2007.

Earlier (September) a colleague of mine opened an SR on this issue, and was informed that SRs on the database could be opened until June 2008 (SR 5825833.992), and we based our forwrd planning on this, scheduling the upgrade for 11.5.10/10gR2 for much later this year/early next. It looks as if we may need to bring this forward quite a lot.

Regards, Martyn

Posted by Martyn Guest on January 21, 2007 at 09:29 PM PST #

Martyn,Confirmed:  Premier support for the 11.5.9 + 9iR2 combination will end in July 2007.  It is correct that 11.5.9 has Premier support up to June 2008.  However, the 9iR2 end of Premier support in July 2007 trumps the 11.5.9 date.  Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on January 22, 2007 at 03:03 AM PST #

Hi Steven,
Are the other types of support - extended and sustaining something an oracle customer pays for additionally ontop of the licenses and tss? Do the licenses and tss cover premier only?
Thanks

Posted by Naqi on January 30, 2007 at 07:55 PM PST #

Hi, Naqi,Yes, it's possible to purchase additional types of support.  Not being in Support myself, however (I'm in Apps Development), my grasp of some of the subtleties of the various Oracle Support options -- and their pricing and terms -- is admittedly weak.  If you'd like to find out more about these options, your Oracle account manager is usually a good person to start with.  If that doesn't work out for some reason, then the Oracle Support website (http://www.oracle.com/support/index.html) is always worth checking out.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on January 31, 2007 at 10:10 AM PST #

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