When Oracle releases a major new database version like “12c”, we can sometimes “divine” or “guess” some product roadmap decisions and/or “changes in direction”. Usually a good source for such divination is the Oracle® Database Upgrade Guide 12c Release 1 (12.1), specifically the chapter on “Deprecated and Desupported Features”. So I’ve looked at this documentation and have tried to make some educated “guesses” of my own on some major changes worth note. I have included at the end of this blog an appendix of the deprecated & desupported doc notes that I referenced in order to arrive at my conclusions.

Change #1:  OEM Database Control is dead. Oracle Warehouse Builder is now standalone.

Database download, installer and DBCA (Database Configuration Assistant) have been restricted to focus more on fundamental database. They no longer contain nor offer options for installing a local OEM Database Control and repository, registering with remote, centralized Grid Control, or installing Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB). Refer to DBCA screen snapshots in Figure 1 to Figure 4. I think this is good news, the database download and DBCA should stick to just the database. Especially since all these products have different release schedules and versions.


  
Figure 1: Oracle 11g DBCA offers option for Local Database Control and Remote Grid Control

  
Figure 2: Oracle 12c DBCA drops option for Local Database Control and Remote Grid Control

  
Figure 3: Oracle 11g DBCA offers option for OEM Repository and OWB 


Figure 4: Oracle 12c DBCA drops option for OEM Repository and OWB


Change #2: Cloud Control is king, but OEM Express for light duty. XML DB is mandatory.

Database download, installer and DBCA (Database Configuration Assistant) have been modified to focus more on fundamental database – with full management outside. They now contain and offer options for installing Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) Express and connecting to existing Cloud Control, but XML DB is no longer optional. Refer to DBCA screen snapshots in Figure 6 and Figure 7. I have mixed feelings about these changes. OEM Express looks good at first and I especially like its lightweight, flash based architecture – but it’s far from a complete DBA tool. So you need Cloud Control to do anything of significance. But setting up Cloud Control is far from being as easy or automated as having DBCA create a local OEM Database Control. As for XML DB now being mandatory, I’m guessing that’s a smart move given the ever increasing role of XML in all applications.

 
Figure 5: Oracle 12c DBCA offers option for Local OEM Express and Remote Cloud Control


Figure 6: Oracle 11g DBCA offers option for XML DB (truly optional)


Figure 7: Oracle 12c DBCA drops option for XML DB (now mandatory)


Change #3:  Password case sensitivity is now mandatory – no longer user adjustable.

Both the database initialization parameter SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON and the ORAWPD IGNORECASE argument have been deprecated. This is really no great surprise in today’s hyper secure conscience world. Just think about how many password verification checks enforce a mixture of upper and lower case, plus so many numbers and/or special characters. So I’d rate this as both positive change and totally not a surprise.

Change #4: Golden Gate is king for all things replication.

Oracle Streams and Oracle Database Advanced Replication have both been deprecated, while Oracle Change Data Capture has been removed entirely – and all have been replaced by Golden Gate. This greatly simplifies the “big picture” – Active Data Guard for real-time data protection (i.e. high availability), Golden Gate for real-time data integration and heterogeneous database replication. Short, sweet and simple – so another positive change.

Change #5: ASM quickly becoming king for most database storage needs.

Oracle 12c for both database files and Clusterware files has desupported Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS) on Windows and block file storage on raw devices. You’ll need to migrate to Oracle ASM, a cluster file system, or Network File System (NFS). Linux is not affected – yet. There’s really no surprise here – ASM has matured and become a clear if not obvious choice. The loss of raw devices will probably not alienate many people. As for OCFS, it’s been on the way out for quite a while now. So while this change may at first seem harsh and painful, upon retrospect it’s actually the direction most of us having already been moving towards.

Appendix: From Database Upgrade Guide 12c, Deprecated and Desupported Features

8.1.2 Desupport of Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control

Starting with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Control is desupported and is no longer available. Oracle introduces Oracle Enterprise Manager Database Express (Oracle EM Express) as a replacement. Oracle EM Express is installed when you upgrade to Oracle Database 12c.

8.2.1 Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) Not Installed with Oracle Database

Starting with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) is not installed as part of the software for Oracle Database. An installer for Oracle Warehouse Builder is available on Oracle Technology Network. OWB components that may exist from earlier releases are not upgraded as part of the Oracle Database upgrade process.

8.7.1 Oracle XML DB is Mandatory and Cannot Be Uninstalled

Starting with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle XML DB is a mandatory component of Oracle Database. You cannot uninstall Oracle XML DB, and there is no option to exclude it when you create an Oracle database. Oracle XML DB is automatically installed or upgraded when you upgrade an existing database to Oracle Database 12c.

8.1.4.1 SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON

The SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON initialization parameter is deprecated in this release. See Oracle Database Reference for information about the SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON initialization parameter.

8.3.4 Deprecation of IGNORECASE and SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON

The IGNORECASE argument of ORAPWD and the SEC_CASE_SENSITIVE_LOGON system parameter are deprecated in Oracle Database 12c. By default, passwords in Oracle Database 12c are case sensitive.

8.1.6 Deprecation of Oracle Streams

Oracle Streams is deprecated in Oracle Database 12c and may be desupported and unavailable in a later Oracle Database release. Use Oracle GoldenGate to replace all replication features of Oracle Streams.

8.1.7 Deprecation of Advanced Replication

Oracle Database Advanced Replication is deprecated in Oracle Database 12c. Use Oracle GoldenGate to replace all features of Advanced Replication, including multimaster replication, updatable materialized views, hierarchical materialized views, and deployment templates.

8.2.2 Desupport of Change Data Capture

Oracle Change Data Capture is not included in Oracle Database 12c and has been replaced with Oracle GoldenGate.

8.1.10 Desupport of Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS) on Windows

Starting with Oracle Database 12c, Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS) is desupported on Windows. Support and distribution of OCFS on Linux (OCFS and OCFS2) remains unaffected by this desupport notice.

Databases currently using OCFS on Windows to host either the Oracle cluster files (Oracle Cluster Registry and voting files) or database files or both need to have these files migrated off OCFS before upgrading to Oracle Database 12c.

8.1.10.1 About Upgrading Oracle Database Release 10.2 or 11.1 and OCFS and RAW Devices

If you are upgrading an Oracle Database release 10.2.0.5 or release 11.1.0.7 environment that stores Oracle Clusterware files on OCFS on Windows or RAW devices, then you cannot directly upgrade to Oracle Database 12c. You must first perform an interim upgrade to Oracle Database release 11.2 and migrate the Oracle Clusterware files to Oracle Automatic Storage Management (Oracle ASM). Then you can upgrade from release 11.2 to Oracle Database 12c.

8.1.12 Desupport for Raw Storage Devices

Starting with Oracle Database 12c, block file storage on raw devices is not supported. You must migrate any data files stored on raw devices to Oracle ASM, a cluster file system, or Network File System (NFS).

This also affects the OCR and voting files for Oracle Clusterware. You cannot store the OCR or voting files on raw devices. Oracle Clusterware files must be moved to Oracle ASM before upgrading.