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Options to run deprecated major versions of Oracle databases on AWS

Oracle Database version 12c is past end of support, as announced by Oracle. Oracle 12c Release 1 (12.2.0.1) stands unsupported beyond March 31, 2022, and Oracle 12c Release 2 (12.1.0.2) is unsupported beyond July 31, 2022. After these dates, Oracle no longer releases Critical Patch Updates for these versions. To ensure that our customers continue running their Oracle Database workloads on a supported platform, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) has begun auto upgrading all 12c instances to 19c (see the following schedule). Similarly, Amazon RDS deprecated Oracle database version 18c on June 30, 2021 following the support timeline from Oracle.

We realize that not all customers might be in a position to upgrade right away. This could be because of limitations like third-party software requirements, or the inability to develop and test for new Oracle versions or focus on database modernization. In this post, we look at various options that AWS provides for such customers. These options are summarized in the following table.

Amazon RDS for Oracle 12c or 18c Instance
Upgrade to Amazon RDS for Oracle 19c
Run Amazon RDS Custom for Oracle
Use Oracle on Amazon EC2
Ready to upgrade Amazon RDS for Oracle 12c or 18c to 19c
X
.
.
Must continue to run Oracle 12.2 EE?
.
X
X
Must continue to run Oracle 12.2 SE2?
.
.
X
Must continue to run Oracle 12.1 EE?
.
X
X
Must continue to run Oracle 12.1 SE2?
.
.
X
Must continue to run Oracle 18c EE?
.
X
X
Must continue to run Oracle 18c SE2?
.
.
X

Upgrade to Amazon RDS for Oracle 19c

You have the option to manually initiate the upgrade or let AWS initiate the upgrade for your Amazon RDS for Oracle 12c or 18c databases to 19c; with either option the upgrade happens automatically. As a best practice, we highly recommend initiating an upgrade manually and performing thorough testing. For more information, refer to Best practices for upgrading Amazon RDS for Oracle DB instances from 12c to 19c. Amazon RDS for Oracle plans to support Oracle Database 19c until April 30, 2027.

Amazon RDS Custom for Oracle

Amazon RDS Custom is a managed database service that you can use for applications that require access to the underlying operating system and database environment. RDS Custom automates setup, operation, and scaling of databases in the AWS Cloud while granting access to the database software and underlying operating system. With this access, you can configure settings, install patches, and enable native features to meet the dependent application’s requirements. With RDS Custom, you get the automation of Amazon RDS with the flexibility of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). By taking on additional database management responsibilities beyond what you do in Amazon RDS, you can still benefit from Amazon RDS automation but also get the ability to do deeper customizations.

RDS Custom supports Oracle Enterprise version 12.1, 12.2, 18c, and 19c (as of this writing), and allows you to run deprecated versions. With RDS Custom, you must bring your own licenses. For instructions on creating an RDS Custom for Oracle instance, refer to Setting up your environment for Amazon RDS Custom for Oracle. There are some limitations with RDS Custom compared to Amazon RDS for Oracle. For the full list, refer to Limitations for RDS Custom for Oracle. As we continue to add functionality, more features may become available.

There are several options to migrate from Amazon RDS for Oracle to RDS Custom for Oracle. These include AWS Database Migration Services (AWS DMS), Oracle Data Pump, RMAN Duplicate and Oracle GoldenGate. Amazon RDS for Oracle needs Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) integration in order to use Data Pump or RMAN Duplicate.

Customers with self-managed Oracle databases either on-premise or on EC2 who have the need to stay on older or deprecated versions can move to a managed option like RDS Custom for Oracle. You can use physical migration options like RMAN or Oracle Data Guard or logical migration options like Oracle Data Pump, AWS DMS or Oracle GoldenGate for migrating from self-managed databases to RDS Custom for Oracle.

Oracle on Amazon EC2

Running Oracle on Amazon EC2 is a self-managed option where you choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with a supported operating system, configure the prerequisites, and install Oracle as you would on premises. Please note that you would need to manage monitoring, backups, high availability and disaster recovery, and OS and RDBMS patching. This option is a good choice if you need to run a version of Oracle not supported on Amazon RDS for Oracle or RDS Custom for Oracle, such as version 12.1, 12.2 and 18c of Oracle Standard Edition 2 (SE2), and you can’t upgrade to a later version like Oracle 19c. Available migration paths would be similar to RDS Custom for Oracle, including Oracle Data Pump, RMAN, or a logical migration with AWS DMS or Oracle GoldenGate.

Conclusion

Although upgrading your RDS for Oracle instance to Oracle 19c or later would give you the best managed experience, we understand that may not be an option right now. In this post, we discussed alternative options available so you can run older versions of Oracle on AWS.

If you think you may not able to complete your upgrade before the specified dates, please reach out to your account team for options.

About the authors

Nipun Ravi is a Database Specialist Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services. He works with the World Wide Specialist Organization(WWSO), helping customers to architect, design and optimize database workloads on AWS

Yamuna Palasamudram is a Senior Database Specialist Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services. She works with AWS RDS team, focusing on commercial database engines like Oracle. She enjoys working with customers to help design, deploy, and optimize relational database workloads on AWS.

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