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Oracle client version higher and lower than database version tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonSeptember 26, 2015

Question: Can you explain if an Oracle client needs to be an older version than the database or if the Oracle client version needs to be of a higher version than the database.

Answer:  You ask if the client client version need to be same as the database version, or it can be higher or lower version?  The answer is "it depends:.

Oracle supports "backwards compatibility" for an Oracle client software, so a higher version of the client may be compatible with an older version of the database.

Conversely, I have seen cases where a lower version of the client can connect to a higher version of the database.

Oracle has a compatibility matrix for complete details of client versions and their higher (newer) and lower (older) compatibility with the database.

This site shows the compatibility for Oracle clients:

Server Version
Client Version 11.2.0 11.1.0 10.2.0 10.1.0 9.2.0 9.0.1 8.1.7 8.1.6 8.1.5 8.0.6 8.0.5 7.3.4
11.2.0 Yes Yes ES #7 No LES #5 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3
11.1.0 Yes Yes ES #7 ES #6 LES #5 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3
10.2.0 ES #7 ES #7 ES ES LES #5 No Was No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3
10.1.0(#4) ES #6 ES #6 ES ES LES Was Was #2 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3 No #3
9.2.0 LES #5 LES #5 LES #5 LES LES Was Was No No Was No No #1
9.0.1 No No No Was Was Was Was Was No Was No Was
8.1.7 No No Was Was Was Was Was Was Was Was Was Was
8.1.6 No No No No No Was Was Was Was Was Was Was
8.1.5 No No No No No No Was Was Was Was Was Was
8.0.6 No No No No Was Was Was Was Was Was Was Was
8.0.5 No No No No No No Was Was Was Was Was Was
7.3.4 No No No No Was Was Was Was Was Was Was Was

Key:

Yes Supported
LES Supported but fixes only possible for severity 1 issues for customers with Extended Support . Limitations apply - see click here for policy details for 9.2.
ES Supported but fixes only possible for customers with Extended Support .
Was Was a supported combination but one of the releases is no longer covered by any of Premier Support , Primary Error Correct support , Extended Support nor Extended Maintenance Support so fixes are no longer possible.
No Has never been Supported

   
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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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