February 14, 2022

Martin Biggs, Vice President and General Manager – EMEA 

Major companies using Oracle software may be surprised to hear that the support packages they are paying big bucks for maybe aren’t quite as comprehensive as they first thought. 

Oracle offers Premier Support packages for the first five years for most of its products. After that, if customers just love their current Oracle software support, they can buy Extended Support for an additional three years. If they continue to use the software after that period and do not upgrade, then Oracle will move them to Sustaining Support for as long as those product versions are supported. 

Oracle Database and Fusion Middleware, often the data workhorses of large companies’ operations, have originally involved big, complicated and sizable financial deployments into the bargain. Understandably, said companies aren’t that keen to constantly change or fully upgrade them. Oracle ultimately wants to move customers off older legacy software versions and support, thus keeping the cost of support and resources down. 

However, if companies manage to resist the charms of their Oracle sales executive when it comes to migrating to the cloud, preferring features that are not offered within the cloud products, they will instead usually relax with the safety net that is Oracle Extended Support. What they may not realise is that the next stage of support to keep the wheels on the wagon – Sustaining Support – comes with a significant cost and offers far fewer features and much less protection. 

Left Exposed by Sustaining Support 

While Oracle customers do get access to old fixes and the right to upgrade to the latest version, they DON’T get new bugs fixed or security updates. As cyber security and ransomware threats proliferate, this leaves many of the biggest companies in the world in a precarious position. 

Even when common, well identified vulnerabilities impact this older software, Oracle only patches the newer versions. 

Oracle is currently encouraging organisations to upgrade to its Version 19 Database. There is nothing wrong with running Version 11, for instance, as it is a stable and trusted version. But if something goes wrong, Oracle’s typical response is: ‘You must upgrade’. This can be an incredibly expensive, risky, and time-consuming activity, with near-zero additional benefits for many. 

At Spinnaker Support, we specialise in third-party software support for all versions of Oracle software. Recently, we onboarded a European telecoms firm for its Oracle Billing systems and Fusion Middleware. Their CIO was shocked to realise that over half of their databases don’t receive security updates from Oracle as they are over 8 years old. In fact, this has become problematic for a large portion of Oracle’s customers.  

Gartner has predicted: “The third-party software support market will grow from $351 million in 2019 to $1.05 billion by 2023 — a 200% increase.”1 No wonder why enterprise executives are seeking these options. 

A Wider Issue in the UK 

Our estimation is that in the UK alone, in the energy/utility, big retail, and banking sectors, up to 80% of organisations may well be on Oracle Sustaining Support, which means that some elements of the country’s critical national infrastructure are not fully protected from security threats.  

If something goes wrong, who will be responsible, and who will take the flack, when Oracle inevitably ends support with no option but to upgrade the software? 

View the full article here.


1 Gartner, Inc., “Predicts 2020: Negotiate Software and Cloud Contracts to Manage Marketplace Growth and Reduce Legacy Costs,” Jo Liversidge, Frances Karamouzis, Rob Wilkes, David Groombridge, James Smith, Christiaan Murphy, Dolores Ianni, December 18, 2019 

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