Oracle Extended Support: Do I need to pay for all my Oracle Database 12.1 licenses?

premier extended support

Oracle’s Premier Support for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 12.1 expired in July 2018, as published in Oracle’s Lifetime Support policies for Oracle Technology programs. Although this Premier Support already expired more than 1 year ago, Oracle waived the Extended Support Fees for the period of August 2018 – July 2019. This means that many end users that deploy Oracle Database Enterprise Edition 12.1 may not even be aware that they were using a database version that was out of Premier Support for more than a year.

Extended Support is typically for three years following the expiration of Premier Support and only for the terminal patch set release of a program. In order to receive Extended Support, you must continue to pay the technical support fee for Premier Support and purchase Extended Support on top of it.

This article has the objective to explain the benefits of Extended Support and how its fee is determined. However, if you’d like to have a conversation with a specialist to determine what is the best option for you when your Oracle Database runs out of Premier Support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Premier Support vs Extended Support

Premier Support is available for a period of five years upon the general availability or release date. It provides you the right to product upgrades and 24×7 technical support. Product upgrades include upgraded versions of software and maintenance releases and patches. You also receive direct access to Oracle experts for product specific questions about installing and operating Oracle software.

If you want to benefit of the same support offerings for another 3 years, past the initial 5 years of Premier Support, you can do this by purchasing Extended Support. This comes on top of the Premier Support fees. Extended Support fees are calculated as a % of the Premier Support Fees as per the below:

  • Year 6 after product release: 10% of current Premier Support fees
  • Year 7 after product release: 20% of current Premier Support fees
  • Year 8 after product release: 20% of current Premier Support fees

Extended Support offers the following: updates, fixes and security alerts, tax, legal and regulatory updates, upgrade scripts, technical support and major product and technology releases.

Premier Support end dates

The below table provides an overview of the dates on which Oracle stopped or will stop its Premier Support offering for the different Oracle Database releases as per Oracle’s Lifetime Support policy for Technology programs:

Release Premier Support Ends Extended Support Ends
Enterprise Edition 12.1 Jun 2018 Jul 2021
Standard Edition (SE) 12.1 Aug 2016 Not Available
Standard Edition One (SE1) 12.1 Aug 2016 Not Available
Standard Edition 2 (SE2) 12.1 Jul 2018 Jul 2021
12.2 Mar 2023 Mar 2026
18c Mar 2023 Mar 2026
19c Mar 2023 Mar 2026

Extended Support – Financial implications

In order to understand the financial implications of Extended Support, let’s look at an example. In this example we will take a situation in which you purchased licenses and premier support in March 2018.

The below table provides an overview of the fees you have paid for 4 Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Processor licenses and first year of Premier Support with a standard discount of 10% as offered by Oracle.

Further you’ll see an overview of the Premier Support fees you’d need to pay in the following years. In this table you will see that the Premier Support increases with 4% year over year (YoY) due to Oracle’s Support Indexation rules.

The prices for Extended Support are additional to the ones that you pay for Premier Support. In 2023 Extended Support fees is calculated at 10% of the 2023 Premier Support fee and for 2024 and 2025 it is calculated as 20% of the Premier Support fees as applicable in 2024 and 2025. In 2026 no Extended Support is available and as such no additional fees are calculated; as of that moment in time this database version falls under “Sustaining Support”.

The below table provides an overview of the total fees that you would need to pay for your Premier Support and Extended Support in total, if you do not upgrade to a support database version.

After the three years of Extended Support end, Oracle offers Sustaining Support. In practice this means that you receive access to the bug fixes and security patches made available by Oracle during the Premier Support and Extended Support period. However, no new bug fixes or security patches will be made available.

Do I need to pay Extended Support for all my Oracle Database licenses?

Many Oracle Support representatives have been reaching out towards end users stating that they would require an Extended Support contract for all their Oracle Database licenses. However, the truth is slightly different. As per Oracle’s own Technical Support policies, you must acquire Extended Support for all licenses of a particular version release of a program if you acquire Extended Support for any license in such version release. So, what does this mean in practice?

Let’s look at an example in which you have 100 Oracle Database Enterprise Edition Processor licenses and a total amount of 220 different database instances that are licensed with these 100 licenses. Out of these 220 database instances, only 10 may still be running 12.1 while all other 210 database instances are running on a database version for which no Extended Support is available anymore (e.g. 11.1). Or they may be running on a database version that is currently under Premier Support (e.g. 12.2).

If these 10 database instances would be installed on a server with 2 CPU Quad Core Intel Xeon, this would mean that you would only need to enter into an Extended Support contract for 4 Processor licenses, instead of all your 100 Processor licenses. This obviously requires you to have a complete and accurate view of your current license entitlements and actual deployment. Another example in which it is clear that proper Software Asset Management will help you to save costs.

Conclusion

Obviously, it would always be best to upgrade your database environments to the latest available version as covered by Premier Support. But what if you are in the situation that you can’t upgrade (yet) and you require Extended Support? Then start looking into your entitlements and deployments, to avoid overpaying for your already everlasting increasing support maintenance bill from Oracle.

Should you have any questions or if you’d like to have a conversation with a specialist to determine what is the best option for you when your Oracle Database runs out of Premier Support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.