Oracle Lifetime Support contains a lot of different features. It is not only technical support through My Oracle Support.
The Support Policy has 3 support stages:
- Premier – 5 years from general availability (GA) date
- Extended – 3 years extra (Normal support fee + 10-20%)
- Sustaining – Perpetual (Normal support fee + 10-20% + inflationary adjustment)
Not all products have Extend support.
Not all support features are available in all stages.
Sometimes Oracle will extend the Premier and Extended periods. The WebLogic Server 11g for example went GA mid-2009. Currently the Premier Supports ends December 2018 and Extended December 2021.
The latest Patch Set for WebLogic Server 11g is 10.3.6. So if you use 10.3.6 you are set for some years, support wise. But what if you use 10.3.5? If you look in the Critical Patch Update (CPU) from October 2013:
“Patch Set Update and Critical Patch Update October 2013 Availability Document (Doc ID 1571391.1)”
You will under “Final Patch History” see that July 2013 was the final CPU for WebLogic Server 10.3.5.
So even though WebLogic Server 11g is supported for years, CPUs etc. is only available if you are running the latest Patch Set e.g. 10.3.6.
This is governed by the Oracles Error Correction Support Policy (ECP). The ECP states that when a new Patch Set is released Oracle will only deliver error corrections to the previous Patch Set within a certain grace period.
The grace period is for the customer to have time to plan and apply the Patch Set:
“Grace Period: up to 1 year for first patch set (minimum 3 months), and up to 2 years for second and subsequent patch sets.”
These days it is imperative to apply security patches and this makes the ECP grace period very important.
It is my experience that the ECP is often forgotten. Make sure that the customers are aware of the benefits of installing the latest Patch Sets and realizes the risks of not doing it.
Here are some of the ECP grace periods for FMW:
|Version||End of Grace Period|
|FMW 184.108.40.206.0 (ADF)||MAY2014|
Since WebLogic Server 10.3.6 is the terminal patch release for 11g, Error correction will be provided through Premier support and Extended Support.
- Database, FMW, EM Grid Control, and OCS Software Error Correction Support Policy (Doc ID 209768.1)
- Error Correction Support Dates for Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g (11.1.1/11.1.2) (Doc ID 1290894.1)
- Error Correction Support Dates for Oracle Fusion Middleware (10g/11g/WLS) (Doc ID 944866.1)
By the way for description of Oracle patches (CPU/SPU/PSU/BP/SBP) check this post.