Oracle 12cR2 - the next release, cloud only?


Database release 12.2 has been in beta for nearly a year, see the announcement here:
Oracle Announces Beta Availability of Oracle Database 12c Release 2
There have been a few hints of what is coming. For example: Multitenant will be able to host 4096 pluggable containers instead of "only" 252; enhancements to Global Data Services and high availability; distributed systems with sharding; some long overdue improvements to In-Memory; lots more. But when will we get it? From hints in some TARs I've had to raise, I was expecting it to be released in July, along with the July PSU - but it wasn't. So all I have to go on is the declared statement that it will be in the second half of the calendar year. Not too much of that left.
So far, so good - but that doesn't mean it will be available for everyone. See this,
Oracle Confirms 12.2 Database Release Will Be Cloud-Only At First
It looks as though Oracle Corporation is going to use 12cR2 as an incentive to move users onto Oracle Cloud hosted systems. I know from various sources that the Oracle Sales line of business is being heavily incentivised to sell Cloud, with sales of on-premises licences being discouraged. This move will also encourage users to move from third party cloud services (such as Amazon RDS) to the Oracle Cloud. So overall, if you aren't going to the Oracle Cloud, then you aren't going anywhere.
Of course there are many users who will never move to cloud hosted services. But for everyone else, it is time to start investigating them. I've been working on Oracle Cloud for some time now. It's good. You wouldn't know that it is not your own machine. You can get started cheaply and easily, buying a few credits directly or through a partner. If you want 12.2, there may be no alternative for some considerable time.
John Watson
Oracle Certified Master DBA


Most of the 12cR2 docs are, at last, available now -
I've been using 12cR2 on Oracle Exadata Express Cloud Service for a few weeks, and working without docs has been awful. Experience so far is mixed. The Cloud has real problems with support, I've had to raise several TARs (starting with a TAR asking why I can't raise a TAR - that took a week to sort out) and no-one seems to understand that it is 12.2. For example, I've been testing the ON QUERY COMPUTATION materialized view capability, and I was just told "the re-write doesn't work because the view is stale". Well, re-write in that circumstance is the whole point.