If you were hanging around Twitter a few hours ago you will have seen people tweeting about the release of Oracle 21c for Linux.
Every new release starts a flurry of activity by people like myself, but with Oracle 21c that excitement has to be tempered because Oracle 21c is an innovation release. I wrote about this here.
To cut a long story short, an innovation release is only supported for a short time, so you are expected to upgrade very soon after the next release is available. The next release will be Oracle 23c, which will be a long term release.
So what should I do?
There is a reason why Oracle 19c is still top of the downloads page and you have to scroll down to see the 21c downloads. Oracle 19c is the latest long term release, so your main focus should be getting all your databases to Oracle 19c, and preferably running on pluggable databases.
If you have a pressing need for some of the features of Oracle 21c, then by all means test it out and consider going to production with it, but only if you *know* you will be upgrading to Oracle 23c as soon as it’s released.
Of course, this doesn’t stop you playing with Oracle 21c now. I always recommend using the latest release for your playgrounds.
What should I expect of 21c?
Let’s be honest. The Oracle database is a very mature product, so the vast majority of new features will not be of interest to most people. That’s not to say there isn’t any cool stuff, there is, but you know you are still using the database like it is Oracle 7… 🙂
A couple of things that may confuse people with 21c are:
- Non-CDB instances are desupported, so you have to use PDBs. I’ve been telling you to learn this stuff since Oracle 12.1! Remember, you can use up to 3 user-defined PDBs without having to pay for the multitenant option, so there is no licensing cost implication to switching to multitenant provided you stay within this limitation.
- Read-only Oracle homes are the default in 21c. This functionality was introduced Oracle 18c (see here), but I get the impression most people don’t know it even exists. Well, you better learn! It’s going to take a little time to get used to the new locations of things, but I think it’s a better solution in the long run.
Don’t be stupid, stupid!
Oracle 21c is an innovation release, so make sure you know what you are getting into before launching into using it. If someone is pressuring you into moving to Oracle 21c for real systems, you need to question their motivation.
Over the next few days there will be installation articles appearing here, as well as Vagrant and Docker builds. I’ve already done a first cut of a basic Vagrant build here, but it will probably change a bit over the coming days/weeks as I play with the new release. There will also be RAC and Data Guard builds, but first things first…
Happy upgrading, or not… 🙂
PS. There are still some people that haven’t got the memo yet. There will be no 22c. Oracle is skipping it and the next release after 21c will be 23c.