Growing Sense of Urgency
As of late, we’ve seen an industry-wide sense of urgency set in as many organizations come to terms with the fact that at the end of December 2021, their Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) application, if below release 12.2, will lose Premier Support access.
Back in 2018, when the news was first announced, many EBS users began to take action to modernize their instance either by upgrading to release 12.2, migrating their EBS workloads to the cloud, or moving specific workloads to the cloud and keeping others on-premises for a hybrid coexistence. The important thing is to take action as soon as possible.
Now, as the end of year is fast approaching, the thousands of organizations currently working with Oracle EBS below release 12.2 are turning their focus to finding the fastest ways possible to expedite their upgrade or migrate to cloud offerings like Oracle ERP Cloud or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Support Options Oracle 12.1 End of Support
When thinking about an upgrade, especially one as important as the one to release 12.2, it’s important that application decision-makers look at the whole picture. There are still many clients who are on version 12.1.3 (or lower!) of Oracle EBS, which puts them in a tricky situation once December 2021 ends as their instance will immediately enter into Sustaining Support, a very limited form of support that virtually exposes your EBS to unwanted costs and risks as it no longer receives Oracle’s latest security patches and innovations.
With timelines and risks and costs to consider, it’s no surprise that EBS clients have delayed the upgrade to an extent, but time is no longer a luxury that can be afforded.
Typically, there are three support stages for the Oracle EBS Lifecycle: Premier Support, Extended Support, and Sustaining Support.
Premier Support is, by far, the most comprehensive form of support that will be offered through at least 2032 thanks to Oracle’s Continuous Innovation model that pledges ongoing support, innovations, and investments in Oracle applications that are modernized to the latest supported release, which in the case of Oracle EBS is release 12.2. Oracle Premier Support includes comprehensive support like critical patch updates, security patches, alerts, and technical support, and much more.
Extended Support is a secondary support stage where clients can pay a fee to experience some aspects of the Premier support for three additional years beyond the end of Premier Support.
Sustaining Support is the last stage of support for Oracle applications, and it’s the stage that Oracle EBS instances will fall into at the beginning of January 1, 2022 for those that are below release 12.2 It offers a very limited form of support with the sole intent of “sustaining” the application, but no true intent to update it or apply security patches that optimize the application.
Oracle, in collaboration with Advanced Customer Services, offers a new support offering dubbed Market Driven Support for the years 2022 and 2023, which is not to be confused with Extended or Sustaining Support. Instead, Market Driven Support seats in the middle between Premier Support and Extended Support, only offering partial support for some areas.
Market Driven Support, or MDS for short, can be used to buy your team time for your true EBS modernization efforts, helping mitigate some support gaps upfront.
After seeing what MDS actually covers and its limitations, restrictions, and exclusions, you’ll be able to carefully decide if it’s truly the right decision for your organization.
While Market Driven Support it’s a bandaid for the actual issue of losing Premier Support, it’s better than leaving your instance unprotected with Sustaining Support, but it will cost you, so your business needs to embrace the fact that there will be unwanted costs associated with losing Premier Support on top of the risks of a desupported software application such as data breaches, malware, malfunctioning, poor performance, and more.
If you decide to purchase Market Driven Support, we encourage you to use the time it covers to take decisive action to modernize your Oracle EBS by building a business case to either upgrade to release 12.2, migrate to the cloud, or move some workloads of your EBS to the cloud to function in a hybrid coexistence with your on-premise solution.
Oracle 12.1 End of Support: Upgrading to EBS 12.2 or Migrating to Oracle SaaS
Companies planning to either upgrade to 12.2, migrate to a cloud-based solution, or work in a hybrid coexistence need to understand the effort and investment required for each of these options before pursuing a solution.
You can take an EBS roadmap assessment to look at the current state of your EBS environment and determine which modernization solution works best for your organization. Firsthand, we’ve helped clients successfully complete upgrades to 12.2, cloud migrations to SaaS, and deploy specific EBS workloads to the cloud for a hybrid coexistence with speed and reliability.
Here are some helpful consideration for you to decide if upgrading to 12.2 while on-prem is the right choice:
- Your organization has hardware with enough capacity to continue to support an on-prem solution and you are in no rush yet to move to the cloud;
- Your organization is highly interested in keeping full control and ownership of their EBS servers;
- Your organizations has robust and mature disaster recovery policies;
- Your organization benefits from having EBS on-prem with an in-house team that supports it;
- Your organization is benchmarking how other similar organizations modernize their EBS instances.
Traditionally, we’ve seen standard upgrade projects from 12.1 to 12.2 range between 6 to 9 months, but under specific circumstances and with some out-of-the-box strategies, we’ve helped clients migrate to EBS 12.2 in under 20 weeks.
Oftentimes, we’ve seen clients underestimate the amount of effort, time, and resources involved in an EBS 12.2 upgrade and it’s not uncommon for clients to realize just how many customizations are operating in their EBS to get it to function to match their unique needs. In fact, these customizations, or CEMLIs, are often the biggest bulk of the 12.2 upgrade effort and it’s important to bring consultants on board to ensure the standardization and close adherence to Online Patching functionality.
The upgrade typically requires multiple non-production iterations under strict testing frameworks which require experienced EBS upgrade consultants who are thoroughly familiar with the entire process, specifically with new concepts like Online Patching and Enterprise Command Centers.
It’s important to update and enhance end-to-end testing of the EBS 12.2 instance to ensure new features and functionality are working as intended.
Here are the typical upgrade steps. Please note that they do not necessarily need to happen in this orden and some of them can even happen simultaneously, but again, it’s important to have expert consultants to help make those expert decisions and fast-track the upgrade.
- Upgrade the database to the minimum version or the latest certified release. Currently, the latest certified release is 19c.
- Prepare the 12.2 file system by using Rapid Install to lay down the file system and tech stack to apply the latest tech stack patches.
- Upgrade to release 12.2 by applying the latest AD upgrade and relevant pre-install patches. Run Rapid Install in “configure” mode.
- Enable Online Patching via the Online Patching Readiness Report Patch.
- Upgrade to the most current version of the code.
- Deploy CEMLIs, integrations, and 3rd party integrations.
- Execute any advanced form of configuration.
- Carry out any specific task for specific modules after the upgrade is ready.
Now, if you’re considering moving to SaaS, which is the path that everyone needs to be on for the foreseeable future, we’re happy to report that there are many benefits of hosting your Oracle EBS and its databases in the cloud.
Truth be told, there’s no right time to move to the cloud, it’s more a matter of getting your organization as ready as possible to make the migration. With Oracle announcing the necessary upgrade to 12.2 for EBS, many clients were left at a crossroads since the road to modernization is sinuous.
Modernization via SaaS-based applications is an effective way to secure support for your Oracle EBS; it also doesn’t hurt that by migrating to the cloud, organizations will get the benefit from the agility, scalability, reduced costs, and innovation that comes with working with a cloud-based EBS application.
Within this context, the best time to migrate to the cloud might be during the EBS 12.2 upgrade. Either a “lift and shift” approach or moving certain workloads to the cloud for a hybrid coexistence, cloud upgrade projects can be smoothly laid out and integrated with existing operations, further serving as proof of the cloud’s native efficiencies and lower total cost of ownership.
Building a business case to migrate to the cloud is the starting point to begin your cloud modernization journey, and we encourage you to download our latest ebook “Understanding the Business Value Of Migrating to Oracle SaaS” for sound, concrete, and valuable information of why SaaS might be the best solution for your Oracle EBS modernization roadmap.