With Oracle Sustaining Support, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

With Oracle Sustaining Support, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Oracle claims their Lifetime Support Policy lets IT organizations “enjoy continued peace of mind,” but that may only hold true if you’re committed to staying current with major product releases. If your software version is five years or older, you’re more likely to feel you’re going out of your mind when you discover the true cost of Oracle Sustaining Support.

In a recent Common Sense Virtual Roundtable discussion moderated by BuyerForesight CRO Mitch Speers, a panel of top IT decision-makers weighed the pros and cons of Oracle Sustaining Support and mostly found the high costs and significant risks including no new security patches and no new product fixes make paying the estimated 22% of the license cost for annual maintenance hard to justify.

Let’s take a look at the definition of Sustaining Support in Oracle’s most recent Lifetime Support Policy for their flagship Technology Products which has a very recent effective date of July 14, 2023. On Page 4 of the above document, Oracle specifically points out the following:
Sustaining Support does not include:

  • New updates, fixes, security alerts, data fixes, and critical patch updates
  • New tax, legal, and regulatory updates
  • New upgrade scripts
  • Certification with new third-party products/versions
  • Certification with new Oracle products
  • 24-hour commitment and response guidelines for Severity 1 service requests
  • Previously released fixes or updates that Oracle no longer supports

Really? They’re kidding, right? Unfortunately, they are serious. What are you getting for your 22% maintenance fee? No new security patches, fixes, or tax and regulatory updates sounds VERY RISKY.

Many panelists mentioned they are running older software versions with costs they find hard to justify while paying more year-over-year for less tangible value. Plus, IT leaders have to deal with the risk of unpatched security vulnerabilities for any Oracle Database versions earlier than 19c.

“Anytime I think of Oracle, I think of [my] concern about increasing costs and I just want to hear what everybody’s doing to make sure that it stays manageable,” said one of the panelists, who were all granted anonymity to facilitate a frank exchange of views and experiences.

As the host of the roundtable, I noted many Oracle customers had no idea that the versions of products they are running in production are in Sustaining Support. When they find out what is NOT INCLUDED in sustaining support they become very concerned with the associated risks.

Although Oracle is not the only software vendor with such an approach, it’s undoubtedly one with significant impact given the pervasiveness of companies running Oracle Database, Middleware, and Application software products. And software support is a $20 billion dollar annual business for Oracle that generates profit margins in excess of 90%, according to industry estimates.

I shared an example of a Rimini Street client whose $20 million annual maintenance contracts came with an additional cost of another $20 million for forced upgrades and updates to maintain full support, customization support, performance tuning, and the cost of self-support making the total annual spend $40M. Rimini Street delivers this support for half the cost of the maintenance contract, while helping eliminate the other $20M in unnecessary spending. This freed up approximately $30 million annually for the client to reinvest in strategic projects to take to its bottom line.

The biggest risk in Sustaining Support is the lack of security updates. You get no new security patches and no new product updates on Sustaining Support. However, Rimini Street can support whatever version of Oracle application, middleware, or database you’re running for 15 years from the day you sign up with us and we have a suite of Rimini Protect™ security products that can help support all those versions.

See our full line of end-to-end support, products, and services for Oracle.

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