Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Oracle Always Free cloud Tier and what can we do with it

 A year ago Oracle announced the Oracle always free tier. Let me describe shortly what it is and point to few great examples what to do with it. Such as complete web interface solution based on Oracle APEX with load balancer and all. Machine learning solutions based on build in ML or Python or R. Have Docker containers. Running Oracle Jet or having (multiple) node.js application. Host WordPress website and other options. All of them Always Free.

First, what it is:

1.      It is free = no cost. Oracle requires you to enter a credit card. Not because it would charge you, rather to be sure you are serious and real person.

2.      It is always = Unlimited time. Not a month not 1 or 2 years.


The basic link is here: https://www.oracle.com/cloud/free/

What we get:

1.      The Always Free part, we will cover here.

2.      30 days free trial of US$300 in free credits.


In this Post we will focus on the Always Free option, yet few words about the trial. It's much more than 300$ since we are not charged for many things. We are limited to 8 instances or 8 OCPUs and 5 TB of storage. Here are few ideas from Oracle how to use those 300$ http://www.oracle.com/us/what-can-i-do-with-300-in-credits-3746781.pdf


What is OCPU? Short version:  1 Core / 2 vCPUs.

Longer version: CPU capacity equivalent of one physical core of an Intel Xeon processor with hyper threading enabled, or one physical core of an Oracle SPARC processor. For Intel Xeon processor each OCPU corresponds to two hardware execution threads, known as vCPUs.


 Lets talk about Oracle Always Free.

Services you can use for an unlimited time.

  • Two Oracle Autonomous Databases with powerful tools like Oracle Application Express (APEX) and Oracle SQL Developer
  • Two Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute VMs; Block, Object, and Archive Storage; Load Balancer and data egress; Monitoring and Notifications

You can see a list of eligible services here (https://www.oracle.com/cloud/free/#always-free)

   For your convenience, the paid options are greyed out:


It is a good practice to verify you have this sign when creating stuff.



From this post I will try to gather the posts and ideas people had how to use the Always Free Tier. Most of the links have also good step by step guides how to setup the service.


If you prefer specific "how to start" guides

Here is a nice one by Atul Kumar https://k21academy.com/1z0-932/how-to-create-always-free-services-in-oracle-cloud/ (including links to Telegram groups).

Here is a 3 Part series of devem.com https://devepm.com/2020/05/06/oracle-always-free-offering/ https://devepm.com/2020/05/18/oracle-always-free-cloud-offering-part-2/ https://devepm.com/2020/05/21/oracle-always-free-cloud-offering-part-3/



Using APEX (Oracle Application Express is a low-code development platform that enables you to build scalable, secure enterprise apps, with world-class features, that can be deployed anywhere) seems natural fit for the free tear. Yet Dimitri Gielis did a tremendous work with this series of post (or this YouTube video, if you prefer https://youtu.be/5qHQfOH44rY) this might be relevant for non APEX uses as well.

1. Sign-upfor Free Oracle Cloud
2. SetupAutonomous Transaction Cloud (ATP)
3. Connectingwith SQL Developer (Desktop) to ATP
4. Connectingwith SQL Developer Web to ATP
5. SetupAPEX in ATP and create the first APEX app
6. Createa VM Instance (Compute Cloud)
7. Setupa Webserver on the Compute Instance (VM)
8. SetupAPEX Office Print (AOP) to export to PDF, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, HTML andText
9. SetupObject Storage and use for File Share and Backups
10. RunningSQLcl and Datapump from the Compute Instance (VM) to ATP
11. SendingEmails with APEX_MAIL on ATP
12. Createa 2nd Compute Instance and a Load Balancer
13. Finalthings to take away
14. Message:Your Oracle Cloud Free Trial has expired (but FREE keeps running)
15. Error:The request could not be mapped to any database
16. RenewingLet's Encrypt certificate
17. Configuredomain to redirect to APEX app
18. Monitoringyour website and APEX app
19. OracleAPEX upgrades (19.1 to 19.2)

20. Moreinfo on Oracle Database upgrades

21. Moreinfo on Oracle APEX upgrades

22. Custom Domain Name (URL) with your own ORDS on the Webserver


For Machine Learning on Always Free there are few blogs.

Here Andrej Baranovskij explain how to use the built in Machine Learning in ADW (Autonomous Data Warehouse) https://towardsdatascience.com/machine-learning-with-sql-ae46b1fe78a9  

Connecting of ADW to Python is done here https://oralytics.com/2020/01/28/python-connecting-to-multiple-oracle-autonomous-dbs-in-one-program/ by Brendan Tierney.

Here savvinov explains how to install R shiny server on OCI compute instance (always free tier) https://savvinov.com/2020/07/13/installing-r-shiny-server-on-oci-compute-instance-always-free-tier/



Docker Container is explained here by Lucas Jellema https://technology.amis.nl/2020/02/06/run-always-free-docker-container-on-oracle-cloud-infrastructure/

VM on always free is installed by Brendan Tierney here https://oralytics.com/2019/10/25/creating-a-vm-on-oracle-always-free/

Oracle Jet On Docker is described here by Andrej Baranovskij http://andrejusb.blogspot.com/2019/09/running-oracle-jet-in-oracle-cloud-free.html he also suggests the same on Multiple Node.js Applications on Oracle Always Free Cloud http://andrejusb.blogspot.com/2019/11/multiple-nodejs-applications-on-oracle.html

Tony Darnell describes Oracle’s “Always Free” Cloud Instance – Installing MySQL and Adding a web server to your free MySQL compute instance with zero monthly charges, here https://scriptingmysql.wordpress.com/2019/11/14/installing-mysql-on-oracle-clouds-always-free-compute-instance/  and here  https://scriptingmysql.wordpress.com/2019/11/19/oracles-always-free-cloud-instance-adding-a-web-server-to-your-free-mysql-compute-instance-with-zero-monthly-charges/amp/

Todd Sharp is Migrating From AWS To OCI here https://ronaldvargasquesada.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/oracle-bloggers-journey-to-the-free-cloud-migrating-from-aws-to-oci/

Marcelo Ochoa writes about HA Configuration here https://itnext.io/oracle-always-free-cloud-instances-in-ha-configuration-e1d3dd59d3b1

 Host WordPress website for free is  described by Hugh Gallagher here https://medium.com/analytics-vidhya/host-wordpress-for-free-on-oracle-cloud-a31d079a8cbc and  by Project-42 here https://dev.to/project42/using-your-oracle-free-cloud-to-host-your-wordpress-website-582f.


 And last, is my favorite usage. I have 20 GB storage for free. Each time I have to send someone big documents, I upload them to Object Storage bucket, Create a PAR (Pre-Authenticated Request) and send out the time limited URL.

The steps are:

Create a bucket (once) in object storage:

Upload a file. Press the 3 points menu at the end of object line and select PAR:

Set name, type of access and date:


And send the download URL created.







Thursday, September 10, 2020

Installing Windows OAS 5.5

The OAS - (Oracle Analytics Server) 5.5 for Windows, was released few days ago (see here) and I wanted to install it.

 Now the Windows users as well can benefit from better Augmented Analytics and Self Service Analytics.


The installation process is very similar to OAS on Linux, just translated to Windows.

 If you want the shorter guide for Linux, Francesco Tisiot did very nice job here or you can see the formal documentation here

As a result I'll do a very short description of what I did.

Unfortunately I didn't have the proper Windows Server at hand (See the Certification here) since it required: 

Microsoft Windows x642012, 2016, 2019SP 0+jdk 1.8.0_211+

I used the unsupported and not recommended Windows 10, I had.


Make sure you have 64bit jdk (Windows x64 jdk) of 1.8....

The safest option is to download from edelivery so you download the proper
"Oracle WebLogic Server 12c ( Generic Fusion Middleware Infrastructure Installer (1.5 GB)" and not 14 release or any other flavor of Weblogic (the weblogic 14 is the current default on weblogic page, you don't want that).

Next we have the regular steps:

-1. Unzip the 2 downloaded files.

 0. Open CMD window as Administrator (right click CMD for that).

 1. Install JDK (if needed).

 2. Install Weblogic (java.exe -jar fmw_12.

 3. Install the BI Server in the Weblogic Oracle Home (java.exe -jar oa_platform-

 4. Run rcu.bat from your new Oracle Home \oracle_common\bin (in my case D:\Oracle\MW\Oracle_Home\oracle_common\bin) 

 5. Run the config.cmd from your new Oracle Home \bi\bin (in my case D:\Oracle\MW\Oracle_Home\bi\bin)



Please note you don't have to run the RCU before configuration. During the configuration you are asked if you want to run the RCU or did it before. From my experience, it is better to split the process.

During the configuration I had a warning, as expected, due to Windows 10

It is advisable to split the location of the actual components used (Domain Home) and the Software (So when upgrading in year or two the Domain Home remains and the Software Home replaced).

We have to define the Domain Home location (you will have to manually create the Domain Home Directory):

 There also was a Visual C++ component installed (you don't see that on Linux)


then the configuration runs for some time and eventually starts the server and creates Oracle Business Intelligence [bi] service. In my case the starting of the process at the end took some time.

For a detailed process, please the Linux post by Francesco Tisiot here.

Unlike previous releases, the OAS 5.5 comes without RPD and subject areas.

If you prefer manual start, the start.cmd and stop.cmd are located  in the Domain Home \bitools\bin (in my case D:\Oracle\Config\user_projects\domains\bi\bitools\bin). In the same place you will find the Admin Tool, preinstalled (admintool.cmd).

Unlike OBI 12, there is no need for separate R installation and things like Forecast, Outliers, Cluster... run out of the box.

and so is the rest of Machine Learning capabilities:

Saturday, September 5, 2020

OAS 5.5 - is available for Windows + bundle patch for Linux

 OAS - Oracle Analytics Server 5.5 is available now for Windows.

For Linux version (that was available for last several month), there is a bundle patch.

See Oracle blog post for more detail here.


For OAS download, look for Analytics Server in edelivery or use Oracle relevant page. 

For the Linux Patch, look for Patch 31816819 in Oracle support site. The Linux patch (Oracle Analytics Bundle Patch is highly recommended.