I'm have Perl 5.8 installed on all of our servers and wanted to use the DBI and DBD::Oracle modules to access our databases. My main concern is with the newer versions of perl the DBI and DBD modules will stop working with 5.8. Then I'd have to upgrade every server to the newest perl version.
My question is as perl itself becomes later versions and modules are developed for them will they still be backwards compatible? "CPAN does not carry all ancient releases and patchlevels of Perl", if I create documentation saying run "cpan -i DBI" if the newest version of DBI will not function with 5.8?
There is no guarantee.
In general, you want to use the same versions of the modules on all your systems. If you use different versions then you will have different bugs and features available on different servers.
I'd suggest creating Debs / RPMS / etc for the ones you are going to use and then run a package repository that all your servers share.