Anthony Cefola, Vice President, Global Support Services 

This is the third installment in our five-part series that addresses some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from those who doubt the value of third-party Oracle software support. The response is taken from “The Skeptics Guide to Oracle Third-Party Support,” a complimentary resource available for you to download.

“Without access to Oracle source code, how do you solve break/fix issues?” 

Before we answer, let’s begin with a basic understanding of the difference between the two support models. As with any issue, there is always more than one way to solve a problem. What Oracle does – applying a patch at the binary code level – is certainly one of them. This approach addresses the root of the issue, but it takes time to develop and test, and may or may not negatively impact your customizations in an application.

Spinnaker Support engineers review issues for the source and context of the problem. After considering the most applicable approach, they provide an equal or superior solution based on how you are using the existing technology. That can either be in the form of a patch from your archive – created for you during the onboarding process – or a software reconfiguration tailored for your specific needs and system requirements.

So this question is misleading. It is true that as the provider of the software, Oracle is the only vendor that is able to access the source code for the Oracle product and provide changes at the base or binary code level of the software. But they are not the only vendor that is able to perform root cause analysis of a newly discovered issue or vulnerability and provide a resolution.

For example, with break/fix type issues in Database and other technology products, we triage the issue to understand exactly why it is occurring. Once we identify the exact source, we can design a solution that prevents the defective code from being executed, effectively bypassing the problem or defect. The outcome could be a parameter change, a change to application code (where possible), or even an execution plan change to control the issue.

For security issues (see the previous blog post as well), our methodology and approach are to mitigate the vulnerability (i.e., make it non-exploitable) by focusing on hardening against the weakness rather than producing a code fix for the vulnerability. This approach protects the system more completely, especially against zero-day vulnerabilities. Oracle primarily focuses on resolving specific issues in the binary executables.

“Spinnaker Support engineers go above and beyond to resolve issues in a timely manner and helped us implement significant process efficiencies. The additional value of the advisory services has saved us time and afforded us substantial cost savings on consulting and implementation fees.” 

Deborah Jones, Merichem – Read the Case Study 

Download the Complete Skeptics Guide 

Skeptics Guide

The above response is an excerpt from “The Skeptics Guide to Oracle Third-Party Support,” a resource that addresses 15 of the most frequently asked questions we hear from prospective customers – ones that you may have as well. Throughout the guide, we offer recommendations and links to other resources to help you determine if third-party Oracle support is a good fit for your organization. 

Skeptics are direct people who want direct answers, so this guide presents straightforward, honest, and fact-based explanations. If you’re a skeptic of third-party Oracle support, then this guide is for you. If you’re not one yourself but have one or more on your team, then this guide can be a powerful tool to help you to win them over.

Download the US-English Skeptics Guide

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