Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Wee List of Interoperability Documents

I was trolling around on the Oracle Support Community site, a dandy site because you can ask questions and your colleagues will jump in to provide guidance, when I noticed someone asking if you could use RDBMS Version 10gR2 with the E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3. I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, though I don't imagine anyone recommends you do so. My rationale stems from three sources:

1. On My Oracle Support, you can look for a certified RDBMS version under the Certify tab (I looked at 10gR2 with E-Business Suite 12.1.3 with the Sun 64 bit operating system), and there are certified versions - with caveats. One version, RDBMS 10.2.0.5 is still able to be patched if new issues are discovered, but Version 10.2.0.3 is not.
2. Also on My Oracle Support, you can look to see if there is an Interoperability document that explains how to connect your particular database version with Release 12.1.3 (you'll have to apply an Interoperability patch), and there's one of those.
3. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, so take a look at Oracle's Lifetime Support information and think carefully about whether you want to upgrade to Release 12.1.3 on a version of the RDBMS that Oracle may not patch if you hit an error they haven't already resolved. I'm betting that if you're considering doing it, then you must have a legitimate reason - perhaps there's a version of software, or an obscure E-Business Suite module that isn't supported on 11gR2 and thus requires RDBMS 10gR2, so maybe you're thinking you could stick with 10gR2 while your users wean themselves off of that module? That's the one example I was able to think of. The tradeoff is likely in performance and something I'll call "obscure technical issues" - those are issues that occur because the E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 was developed using RDBMS 11g, not 10gR2, so you might find that you hit errors that nobody else hits when they're upgrading. And you may find you have technical issues with your R12.1.3 E-Business Suite environment after you've completed the upgrade that others who are running 11gR2 don't experience. I guess the bottom line is, if you were thinking you wouldn't have to test your environment too hard for this upgrade, dream on. You'll want to test extremely thoroughly if you plan on sticking with an outdated version of the RDBMS.

CERTIFY

So let's start with Certify.

Log into My Oracle Support. Click on the Certifications tab. I've chosen Oracle E-Business Suite for the Product, Release 12.1.3 for the Release, and Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit) (10) for the Operating System and version.


And the answer is:


Well, good news. If this is your configuration, then yes, you could stay on RDBMS 10gR2. But notice that only 10.2.0.3 and 10.2.0.5 are certified. So if you're on 10.2.0.4, and you still wanted to stay on RDBMS 10gR2, you would need to upgrade to 10.2.0.5 to have a certified platform. If you're thinking that as long as you're in the right range of 10-ness, you should be ok, please cast that thought out. You don't want to be the guy or gal who has to explain to your management while you are in the middle of a database issue that you're having the issue because you chose not to follow Oracle's recommendations.

INTEROPERABILITY

In order to use a particular database version with a particular E-Business Suite release, you have to apply a particular interoperability patch. That patch makes them work together correctly. And it turns out that there are usually some additional patches that you need to apply - perhaps some RDBMS opatches, or some Applications patches. Those additional patches are documented in the appropriate interoperability My Oracle Support document. Here's a list of documents for several of the database version / E-Business Suite Release combinations:
  • If you are running Oracle 9i and need to upgrade to 10g before upgrading to RDBMS 11gR2, use MOS Doc. ID 362203.1 for the 10g – Release 11i upgrade and MOS Doc. ID: 1058763.1 for the 11g – Release 12 upgrade 
  • If you plan to use Oracle Database 10gR2 with Release 12 (not recommended), use MOS Doc. ID 812362.1
  • If you plan to upgrade to RDBMS 11.1.0.7 because Release 12.1 lays down an 11.1.0.7 RDBMS (not recommended), use MOS Doc. ID: 452783.1 with Release 11i and then MOS Doc. ID: 802875.1 with Release 12.1 
  • If you plan to upgrade the RDBMS to Version 11gR2 prior to upgrading from Release 11i to Release 12.1 (recommended), you will need to use two Interoperability documents, MOS Doc. ID: 881505.1 to deal with RDBMS patches specific to Release 11i when you do the database upgrade, and then MOS Doc. ID: 1058763.1 to deal with RDBMS patches specific to Release 12.1 when you do the applications upgrade. 
These are the assorted MOS Interoperability Notes:
  • MOS Doc. ID: 362203.1, Oracle Applications Release 11i with Oracle 10g Release 2 (10.2.0) 
  • MOS Doc. ID: 1058763.1, Interoperability Notes Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (11.2.0)  
  • MOS Doc. ID: 812362.1, Interoperability Notes Oracle EBS 12 with Oracle Database 10gR2 (10.2.0)
  • MOS Doc. ID: 452783.1, Interoperability Notes - Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i with Oracle Database 11g Release 1 (11.1.0)  
  • MOS Doc. ID: 881505.1, Interoperability Notes Oracle EBS 11i with Oracle Database 11gR2 (11.2.0) 
  • MOS Doc. ID: 802875.1, Interoperability Notes Oracle EBS Release 12.1 with Oracle Database 11gR1 (11.1.0)
If you're wondering why I noted certain options as "not recommended", it's because I don't recommend using older versions of software that have been superseded with newer certified versions if you don't have to.

By the way, as you're working your way through the Interoperability Notes, I'd like to emphasize a truly important point: Don't skip any steps.

Some of the steps seem trivial... maybe you're thinking they don't apply to you. When we've encountered RDBMS issues during the Release 12.1.1 part of the upgrade, it's almost always because the DBA left out a step from the Interoperability document or the database upgrade document.

I'll give you one example, though this wasn't the DBA's fault - we had a client who upgraded to Release 10gR2 several years ago. The version of their documentation at the time that they upgraded didn't say anything about applying a Korean Lexers sql script that is described in the Interoperability documents (note that if you look at the documents now, they include applying this script, so this was a timing issue for the documentation).

As a result, as they upgraded to RDBMS 11.2.0.2, the DBA saw a step that said that if they were upgrading from 10gR1 or earlier, they needed to apply the Korean Lexers script. Since they were upgrading from 10gR2, they concluded they didn't need to apply the script, not realizing that the script had never been applied in their environment. The result was that the R12.1.1 part of the upgrade failed, they had to apply the Korean Lexers script, and then restart. And personally, if I were reading through the instructions, I would have seriously considered skipping the Korean Lexers script, on the assumption that it was a languages issue that didn't have anything to do with my single language environment. So, bottom line: Don't skip any steps.

LIFETIME SUPPORT INFORMATION

As you are planning this bold move, you should also take into account how long you can limp along on this version of the database. Certify has made that easy. In the previous screen, there's a list of supported RDBMS versions. Click on 10.2.0.5, and you'll see this screen:


Now click on 10.2.0.3, and you'll see the following screen:


You need to be really careful to read the fine print. Notice that for 10.2.0.5, it says "New patch creation available [CPUs, PSUs, one-offs]", while for 10.2.0.3, it says "No new patches are being created for Oracle Database 10.2.0.3.0". So what does that mean? Well, if you hit an issue with 10.2.0.3.0 that requires a patch that doesn't already exist, you're going to have to make a sudden upgrade to 10.2.0.5.0, assuming that it has that patch.

And make sure you read ALL the fine print. Click on the Oracle Solaris on SPARC (64-bit) 10 button to see more details. You may have to apply additional patches to make this version work:


So, at this point, I think we've figured out that you can run Release 12.1.3 on RDBMS 10gR2 if you are running a certified combination of the database and the operating system. If you happen to be doing so, please let me know, as I'd like to know how it all works for you.

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