Oracle Cloud “Always Free” services include Ampere A1 Arm Compute instances

Oracle added thirteen additional new “Always Free” services to Oracle Cloud Free Tier last June, including Ampere A1 Arm Compute, Autonomous JSON Database, NoSQL, APEX Application Development, Logging, Service Connector Hub, Application Performance Monitoring (APM), flexible load balancer, flexible network load balancer, VPN Connect V2, Oracle Security Zones, Oracle Security Advisor, and OCI Bastion.

So that means you could register an account for free, albeit a credit card or debit card is required for a $1 hold released after a few days, and use up to four Arm-based Ampera A1 cores with 24GB RAM for evaluation for free forever.

Oracle Always Free services include:

  • Infrastructure
    • 2x AMD based Compute VMs with 1/8 OCPU and 1 GB memory each
    • 4x Arm-based Ampere A1 cores and 24 GB of memory usable as one VM or up to 4 VMs.
    • Note: 1x OCPU on x86 CPU Architecture (AMD and Intel) = 2x vCPUs; 1x OCPU on Arm CPU Architecture (Ampere) = 1x vCPU
    • 2x Block Volumes Storage, 200 GB total.
    • 10 GB Object Storage.
    • 10 GB Archive Storage.
    • Resource Manager: managed Terraform.
    • 5x OCI Bastions.
  • Databases –
    • Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing, Autonomous Data Warehouse, Autonomous JSON Database, or APEX Application Development. Two databases total, each with 1 OCPU and 20 GB storage.
    • NoSQL Database with 133 million reads per month, 133 million writes per month, 25 GB storage per table, up to 3 tables.
  • Observability and Management
    • Monitoring: 500 million ingestion datapoints, 1 billion retrieval datapoints.
    • Application Performance Monitoring: 1000 tracing events per hour.
    • Logging: 10 GB per month.
    • Notifications: 1 million sent through https per month, 1000 sent through email per month.
    • Service Connector Hub: 2 service connectors.
  • Additional services
    • Flexible Load Balancer: 1 instance, 10 Mbps.
    • Flexible Network Load Balancer.
    • Outbound Data Transfer: 10 TB per month.
    • Virtual Cloud Networks (VCN): Maximum of 2 VCNs, includes IPv4 and IPv6 support.
    • VCN Flow Logs: Up to 10 GB per month shared across OCI Logging services.
    • Site-to-Site VPN: 50 IPSec connections.
    • Content Management Starter Edition: 5000 assets per month.

Oracle notes that Amazon Web Services (AWS) also offers a free tier but limited to 12 months with one database, 20 GB, one instance of Arm Compute, 30 GB block volume, and 5 GB object storage.

For the first 30 days, Oracle also offers US$300 in free credits for access to other Oracle Cloud services including Databases, Analytics, Compute, and Container Engine for Kubernetes, up to eight instances, and up to 5 TB of storage. After 30 days, you can still use the “Always Free” services listed above. If you’d like to give it a try, go over to Oracle website to get started.

Thanks to Maurer.

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13 Replies to “Oracle Cloud “Always Free” services include Ampere A1 Arm Compute instances”

  1. Now if only they could provide a always free VM Android HDR TV box in the cloud, use you present TV box / TV as dumb display terminal.

    Just a crazy pipe dream ?

  2. I must say that after reading their offering I don’t understand anything, it’s free but requires a credit card, they give credits but it’s only free after the credits are over. I’m lost. It’s possible they want a credit card number just to avoid bots, but their description looks complicated to me.

    With that said I looked at the technical point. The “Ampere A1” is Ampere’s Altra range of products (the 80-cores model). It seems to be based on ARM’s Neoverse-N1 (like AWS’ Graviton2) so it promises to be a nice beast, based on ARMv8.2-a with LSE atomic extension which provide excellent thread scalability. I might be tempted by trying that with 80 cores once we can support more than 64 threads in haproxy 🙂

    1. Basically, you start off on a ‘free trial’ account, then you get transitioned to a ‘always free’ account after one month. The ‘free trial’ account gives you access to most of their services, many of which consume credit, whilst the ‘always free’ account has no credit, so you can no longer use any services that require it.

      They never charge you unless you upgrade to a paid account. The CC is probably there to prevent abuse and the like, and they claim to not store your details (up to you whether you believe them or not).

      I’ve been using their free offering since 2019, no major issues on my end. The CC I gave them has since expired, and I haven’t been asked to update it, so I’m willing to believe them on their no-store claim.
      One thing to remember is to log into their panel every 3 months to avoid account deletion.
      I’ve also heard of people having out-of-capacity issues with trying to create A1 instances, so your luck may vary there.

      Honestly, the biggest problem with their offering is probably the ‘Oracle’ branding, which likely turns away a lot of people.

    2. The key reason for asking for cc details is so that they know who you are. That way if you do something illegal with the services you use they can correctly report who you are.

      1. In theory, they shouldn’t see your personal details. Only the payment processor should have access to those.

    3. The always free resources are free, even if you are using paid resources too.

      You need to select the free shape options when creating the resources and they will not be billed.

  3. Oracle and “Always Free” in the same sentence raises a red flag. If you do take the bait, be careful and never bend over (unless that’s what you really want).

    1. Note, they didn’t say it will exist forever, just that it will remain free (supposed for as long as it exists). Thus when they’re fed up they can simply turn it off and be done with it, still being able to claim “see? it has always been free!”.

  4. I don’t understand. How are they making money off of this? Is it just a leader, because this seems like a pretty expensive leader! I am intrigued however, even if I don’t have any real use for this. Number-crunching on my IoT data maybe?

    1. They probably bet on the fact that their limitation quickly become insufficient and will encourage you to pay to keep the service going.

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