What’s up with the new Oracle releases names

Just thought to touch basis on some information i’ve been reading about the new release of Oracle Database releases starting with 18c.

By the end of 2017, Oracle released versions of Oracle Database with an average frequency of approximately 4 years, given and take, but in July of 2017, it decided to move to a more flexible database (and Grid Infrastructure) software release strategy with a frequency of annual releases and version names (now better known as releases) equal to the corresponding years, in order to obtain the following benefits:

  • Deliver new features to the market in less time, every year, instead of waiting several years, potentially increasing revenue;
  • Improve the quality of releases and minimizing risk by reducing the amount of software changes released at a time;
  • Provide customers with a more flexible way to apply bug fixes and maintain more stable environments with quarterly updates.
  • Engage customers and partners in a more proactive version compliance and maintenance.

With the new annual release scheme, Oracle Database 18c was released in the first quarter of 2018, initially only for On-Premises Engineered Systems (Exadata on 2/16/18, ODA on 7/3/18 and Supercluster on 12/2/18, 3/18), and then in Cloud (1/3/18). This first version of the product following the annual release schedule corresponds to what we might call version / release 12.2.0.2 of the old releases names. I think the main difference from this new release scheme is that we will now have new features available every year.

It is important to note that Oracle 18c has not yet been officially released for on-premises platforms that are not Engineered Systems, that is, for installation on machines that are not developed by Oracle. To install on any machine running Linux, Solaris, Windows, and HP-UX OS, we will have to wait for the “installer” for these platforms, scheduled for the second half of 2018.

Among the key changes it is important to note that as of 18c, the version / release number of Oracle has been reduced to 3 boxes, in the following format: “Year.Update.Revision”. The 1st corresponds to the release year of the release, the 2nd corresponds to the quarterly update, and the 3rd corresponds to the quarterly revision.

There are no longer the old Bundle Patches (BPs) and Patch Set Updates (PSUs).  There are now Release Updates (RUs) and Release Update Revisions (RURs), which will both be released quarterly, so we can apply regression (eg bug fixes), security, functional, and optimizer fixes. It’s also interesting that these changes does not apply for Windows Platform.  For Windows bundle patches still applies. To better understand the differences between PSUs / BPs and RUs / RURs check Mike’s article:  https://mikedietrichde.com/2017/10/24/differences-psu-bp-ru-rur

For some of us that want or have to keep our ceritifications up to date it still not clear how Oracle will manage that, are we going to have to take every year?

Following is the new Oracle Release Roadmap, as MOS Doc “Release Schedule of Current Database Releases (Doc ID 742060.1)” and pertinent support information for currently released Oracle Database base releases and patch sets:

 

oraclerelease

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