• long running

Oracle Cloud Free Tier + US$300 Free Credits (30-Day Trial) @ Oracle Australia


I've been using this free tier for a while now and have found this extremely useful. Requires a credit/debit card to sign up, however you are not charged unless you manually enable billing (unlike AWS - using it is scary!). They do, like every other service, have a $1 authorisation when you sign up - however this is cleared quickly.

This comes with a bunch of things, but my favourite is the free VMs. You can have:

  • 2 AMD-based VM with 1/8 OCPU and 1GB RAM each (meh)
  • 4 Arm-based "Ampere A1 Cores" with 24GB across them
  • 2 block volumes, up to 200GB

I just have 1 Arm VM running with 24GB of RAM and a 200GB volume. Runs really well with amazingly speedy networking.

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  • I wonder if you can spin a huge instance and mine crypto utilising the $300 🙃

    • +2

      I wonder how/if this would work well tbh - honestly didn't use a cent of my $300 before it ran out :(
      They probably prevent this somewhere somehow in their policies

      • I trust it's a risk for their infrastructure, so makes sense to be blocked

      • same here, easily stood up one VM with a DB the other with Wordpress

      • +1

        You're right, it's against their T&Cs. Section 1.3 in https://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contracts/cloud-csa-v012...

      • no, it ran out very fast in a few days, if you use multiple databases, ML and AI…

    • +1

      You can lease NVIDIA Tesla V100 SXM2 baremetal instance but not on trial. And it'll cost you A LOT.

  • +22

    I run wireguard and Pihole on one for adblocking on the families mobile devices. Works great.


      • +1

        I do not know. What do you mean?

  • +3

    This is really good as a public facing IP if you are behind a CGNAT. Although bandwidth is just usable for basic applications but latency is more than reasonable when using a local instance

    • +1

      I found that the arm based instances offered better bandwidth than the AMD based instances in my experience.

  • +2

    It's funny that the last time this deal was posted it was not well received, with 5+ and 4 negs.

    • +1

      Ouch! Seemed like Oracle didn't exactly have a great reputation there.

      • +1

        Or maybe the importance of cloud tech is getting serious. Frankly, the concepts are almost same across cloud vendors. So a good sing to upscale on cloud.

    • Worth noting back then Oracle Cloud didn't have ARM instances in their free tier, and IPv6 wasn't publicly available either.

      • +2

        Even without the ARM instances or IPv6, Oracle's free tier honestly wipes the floor with the competition's free offerings.

        Oracle Cloud's biggest problem is, IMO, the Oracle branding. Oracle is known for all sorts of unsavory business practices, so not exactly a stellar name to attach to a new service, regardless of how good it is.

  • +3

    Here are some benchmarks that I ran with the A1 Arm VMs compared against their “traditional” instances - here

    *With the A1 instances, I found that (for me) the best way to run services on this would be through Docker containers, as lots of the services that I tried to run were incompatible with the ARM architecture

    • +1

      What you're calling a Docker container is in fact just a container, which you are running using Docker.

      • +3

        That windows app is actually just an app you run on windows.

        • Your reply confirms your lack of understanding of the technology.

    • +2

      The apps inside Docker containers have to be compiled for ARM64, therefore if the container works, there is no reason it shouldn't work directly on the host.

      • Yeah for me it was probably just a strange edge case then, Wordpress did not want to connect to the database when run directly :)

  • Surprised to see IPv6 is mentioned. I remembered a year ago it was limited to gov region only. I checked further and found the official announcement back in Apr.

  • -1

    Can anyone clarify whether these instances are comparable to Amazon’s ec2? For example, can I run a Debian server on it?

    • Their docs have a list of images here per type of VM

    • Custom images are supported, so you're not stuck with loading up only the distros they offer (e.g. Debian isn't in that list). I haven't actually tried uploading a custom image though.

    • +1

      Can anyone clarify whether these instances are comparable to Amazon’s ec2?

      AWS' free tier is, IMO, a joke. I guess you can't complain about free, but it's only for 12 months, and if you mess something up, you can get charged for it. 15GB/month bandwidth isn't much to play around with either, and their bandwidth pricing is absurd.

      For example, can I run a Debian server on it?

      For VMs, it's possible, but not exactly straightforward.

      For Debian, you can create the VM with Ubuntu, then attach the Debian installer bootstrap to the bootloader, and reboot, connect via VNC and proceed with installation from there.

      The lack of variety in stock images is an unfortunate downside.

  • What regions are the VMs hosted?

    • All over the world - in Australia you've Sydney and Melbourne (there'd be documentation on their site if you want a full list)

      • Well, while that's technically true you can only start Always Free VMs in your home region and you can't easily change it.

    • +2

      Top Google result for oracle cloud regions https://www.oracle.com/au/cloud/data-regions/

  • Hardly a deal, it's always like this, just not enough people use it.

  • I am trying to find a useage scenario for a home user for this type of service (the ARM side looks really interesting) but i have a limited idea of what i could do with it.
    Thus far i have;
    -200GB cloud storage

    Is there any other useage scenarios at all?

    • I'm using it as a media server and a seedbox using docker containers (jellyfin/qbittorrent/openvpn/sonarr/jackett).
      I'm also hosting a discord bot.

      • How to setup an Ubuntu desktop in there? I tried several times but never worked.

        • Better to install the containers (or applications if you want to do it that way) via SSH and then use their web interfaces.

          You can install desktop from SSH and use VNC or … I forget, there's something that's not as good as RDP but better than VNC … barely, but I forget it's name. They're both terrible.

          But you're really better off using the terminal. Which can be a huge learning curve.

        • +1

          Don't waste your time on remote desktop, just use ssh.

        • try teamviewer/chrome remote desktop.

      • RE seedbox - how are you getting by with only 200GB storage offered? You paying for more?

        • I've got multiple accounts and I usually move the files that have reached a seed ratio of 2 to my google drive.

      • just start a ubuntu instance and swizzin works like a charm. It compiles all imcompatible packages and 24 arm processors are fast enough.

      • Are using the seedbox to download movies? How do you stay undetected?

    • +3

      Things that I tried / I am using:

      • OpenVPN (Stick with your oracle account region)
      • Google Outline Server
      • NextCloud
      • Wordpress
      • Oracle Linux Storage Appliance (Just connect your block storage and you could access it via SMB)

      You can separate them into 2 VMs or just all in 1 single VM. Oracle Linux Storage Appliance will use 1 separate VM though.

      And all above can add:
      - No-IP Dynamic DNS
      - Let's Encrypt HTTPS

      Free Tier would able to let you do all the above, and no any credit / $$ will be required to keep them on after the trial period.

  • So these free VMs don't eat into your $300 credit?

    • +1

      Correct! It might not say "Always Free" (they have some visual bugs sometimes) but as long as you're within the limits it'll never charge you

  • Thanks for this, worth setting up a free ARM based VM with docker as a fallback for my Pi at home which runs quite a lot of nice to haves.

  • +1

    I'm surprised they are giving this much RAM for free. RAM seems the most valuable commodity of cloud hosting. You can share CPU cycles across machines but RAM has to be wholly allocated to you.

    • I have one of these servers around and they come with 2x80 core CPUs and 1024GB of RAM, so it's a bit more than 6GB per core. I think Oracle wants to drive adoption of ARM servers by offering large instances and making them more attractive than x64 since they have serious investment in these CPUs.

      • @DainB do you mean you have these servers on-prem?

        • You can setup 160 core baremetal Ampere instance in OCI.

          • @DainB: Hmm, that means Dual 80 core CPU setup with 960GB RAM?

            • @UncommonName: No, they don't run hypervisor on baremetal so you get all available RAM and CPUs.

              • @DainB: @DainB I was able to spin up a X64 Ubuntu in the ARM VM, how was it possible? Is that through a hypervisor?

                • @UncommonName: It's not possible.

                  • @DainB: Then how am I doing it?

                    • @UncommonName: I don't know what exactly you think you're doing but I'm 100% sure that you're not running x64 Ubuntu on arm64 VM.

                      • @DainB: Any way to check which version of Ubuntu I'm running?

                        • @UncommonName: cat /etc/*-release && uname -a

                          • @DainB: Linux instance-xxxxxxxxxxxx-oracle #22~20.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Fri Oct 22 21:42:24 UTC 2021 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux

                            Does aarch64 mean it is Ubuntu for ARM?

                              • @DainB: aarch64 is the 64-bit extension of the ARM architecture. Should not X64 operating system run natively on this?

                                • @UncommonName: It's different set of 64-bit instructions, so you can run x64 on arm64 and other way around only in emulator.

  • Free Minecraft server?

    • yup - had one spun up on the arm VM and it was very good

      • Previously I have attempted to run docker image "itzg/minecraft-server" on the free AMD-based VM but it seemed to have trouble running it smoothly. Not sure if I've messed up anything. Didn't even work out if it was CPU constrained or memory constratined.

        Anyone else had a go at setting up minecraft server to share their experience?

        Might try this write up when I get around to it

      • Wow, the arm VM is so much more performant. The only downside is that some docker images I use weren't available on arm so have to build my own. Easy enough, just a slight hassle.

        So good to have a minecraft server that is not self-hosted. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  • what is the catch?

    • -3

      Calls form Oracle sales.

      • No? Who told you this - never received anything from them even via email

        • +1. Been using their free offering since 2019, and the only email I got (other than security related stuff) was a notification regarding a downtime event in March this year.
          I used a fake phone number though, so don't know if they do anything with that, though I honestly doubt it.

          I have heard that they may delete your account for inactivity if you don't at least log into their panel once per 3 months.

          • +1

            @Yumi: They won't delete account but will ask you confirm login via sms to your phone number after some time.

  • How about the "Target Volume Performance" for the block device? Can I crank the VPU up to 120 for the fastest disk speed without racking up costs outside of the always free tier?

  • How long did it take for account creation? Its been 5 hours for me.

    • 30sec for me.

    • Same, hours for the creation.

  • ARM CPU and 24GB combo has crazy good performance. The only gripe is the web console…

    • Can you elaborate on what is bad about its web consoles? I haven't used many cloud services before so keen to learn what the differences are

      • The administrative console to control the actual account, VM setup etc. I've used AWS and some other small providers and they're way above it. I couldn't even log in properly on the first time to set it all up. Be careful when selecting cores and ram etc to stay under the 'free tier'.

        • Thanks for the comment - I'll keep this in mind in the future.

          For the first time set up I added SSH keys during provisioning and then SSH once provisioned. Though minor it's probably a more secure way to start a VM than login/passwords anyway so this might even count as an advantage in my book.

          • @CoronavirusVaccine: It's the standard these days with most providers. No issues from the actual instance itself, it's been pretty rock solid, the login problems were limited to going back into the account and recreating a VM.

    • You can ssh instead of web console.

  • Anecdotally I've heard the ARM instance may get deleted after 30days but can be recreated.

    • Isn’t that only once, when the trial is finished?

      • Yes, second hand info though so ymmv.

      • +1

        Can confirm that I do remember this happening to me. Make a new machine and attach the same drive you were using and you're a good to go

  • The "Error processing transaction" is 50/50 chance to happen in last step of registration. Cost you so much time to talk to sales support.

  • Thanks op, just signed up after trying to find a good Black Friday deal for VPS.
    Pros: free
    Cons: Oracle

    • It's way more reliable that any VPS you can find (don't even want to hear about onemanshows advertised on LEB), even in Free Tier. Also proper cloud technologies and terraform for full automation.

      • Yeah I just spun up a couple instances to test out. Never come across terraform before, had to look up the manual, looks like another package manager.

        I haven’t touched AWS for a few years, it looks at least on par with my old AWS experience at this stage. Oracle Linux feels like CentOS, not sure what the point is to have yet another variant.

        Oh for those who don’t read, it’s ssh [email protected][IP Address], took me a bit to figure out because the console thingy on the website was very confusing as it kept asking for passwords. Still not sure how to login with what password, but it’s not that important as long as I can get in.

        So far so good. The grief against Oracle seems to be the expected hefty future charges, will see how this ends :)

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