To upgrade or not to upgrade

So 11g was finally announced and it seems to have some very cool features. Database replay is the largest and most attractive new feature, maybe it will finally allow us to have an accurate staging environment. Direct NFS also sounds interesting, especially for the added instrumentation and monitor opportunities. Table Space encryption sounds good, especially if it will allow us to get rid of the scary encryption device we currently use. Aside from completely new features, Oracle promises improvements to features I already enjoy – Data Pump, Partitions, Automatic Memory Management, building indexes online and lots more.

I didn’t get to install a test instance of 11g yet, but I’m planning to get to it as I can’t wait to try it hands-on.

Contrary to what Oracle believes, we are not even thinking of installing it on anything that remotely resembles a production system until Oracle releases service pack 1 or maybe even 2. Oracle managed to teach the entire DBA community to avoid new versions like the plague and new features even more. I thought Oracle knew this, but now I’m not so sure. I opened an SR in Metalink regarding a bug I found on 10.2 and needed a fix (It was a rather horrible bug which completely prevented us from collecting statistics), and Oracle Support claimed that this bug will not be fixed in 10.2 and that we should upgrade to 11g which will be released this month. We insisted that we won’t upgrade to 11g in the next year and that we will need statistics sooner, and eventually they did release an opatch, but this was rather unpleasant experience.

While we don’t plan to upgrade to 11g soon, it does raise an interesting question about the systems that we never got around to upgrading from 9i to 10g. Do we upgrade them to 10g or wait with 9i until 11g becomes stable? I prefer to upgrade, because my work is easier when all of my systems are the same version (and you get addicted to features like regular expressions very quickly), but the customers know that 11g was released and are applying pressure toward waiting a bit and then giving them the latest.

If you are planning to install 11g on production any time soon, the following article by Dizwell will probably change your mind.  In any case, you probably want to read Arup Nanda’s 11g new features series.


2 Comments on “To upgrade or not to upgrade”

  1. Noons says:

    Sorry to learn you were also a victim of the “upgrade to next version” approach to bug fixing. A problem I have experienced myself for many, many years.

    Only a company completely out of tune with the reality of their customer base could come up with that one. And I don’t hold any hopes for 11g getting any better…

  2. prodlife says:

    Hi Noons,

    Yes, I’m getting more and more frustrated with the support levels we are getting from Oracle. It is very rare that they actually help us solve an issue.

    BTW. I really liked your post about Oracle blogs sounding more and more like Oracle marketing. Especially now that everyone is so excited about 11g and no one mentions the fact that you need to be completely irresponsible to actually use use it. A warning like “This post was written by trained professionals. DBAs, don’t try this in production” should appear more often 🙂

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