Oracle is betting that by making its databases more easily available, more developers will build applications on what Oracle contends is a more robust platform that scales better in production environments.
At the Oracle OpenWorld 2019 conference, Oracle moved to broaden the appeal of the Oracle database running on a managed Oracle Cloud by adding a free tier of service that can be accessed for an unlimited time so long as organizations continue to regularly access the service.
Oracle also announced the availability of Oracle Autonomous Linux, a managed service through which Oracle employs machine learning algorithms to automate the management of its distribution of Linux using a new Oracle OS Management Service. Oracle OS Management Service automates common Linux management tasks such as patch and package management, security and compliance reporting, and configuration management.
Finally, Oracle is also unfurling three additional cloud services: Oracle Data Safe, Oracle Cloud Guard and Oracle Maximum Security Zones provide centralized security configuration management based on a set of best practices defined and managed by Oracle.
Via these initiatives Oracle is clearly trying to increase the appeal of its cloud platform among organizations and individuals that are in need of a platform that enables them to experiment with building applications using an Oracle Cloud Free Tier that is available globally, says Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president for operaating systems and virtualization engineering for Oracle.
At the same time, Oracle fully expects small businesses and other entities will employ production applications to run their business that they regularly update.
The new Always Free program includes an Oracle Autonomous Database, virtual machines, Block Volumes, Object and Archive Storage, and Load Balancer. That tier of service provides access to two Autonomous Oracle Databases such as Autonomous Data Warehouse or Autonomous Transaction Processing, each with 1 OCPU and 20 GB storage.
Other limitations include two virtual machines, each with 1/8 OCPU and 1 GB memory, and two block Volumes, 100 GB total, with up to 5 free backups; 10 GB of object storage, 10 GB of archive storage, and 50,000/month API requests. There’s also one Load Balancer with 10 Mbps bandwidth; 10 TB per month of outbound data transfer; 500 million ingestion datapoints, one billion datapoints for monitoring service; one million notification delivery options per month and 1,000 emails per month
Oracle also providing access to free developer tools, including a low-code Oracle Application Express (APEX) development tool, SQL Developer Web, Machine Learning Notebooks, and REST interfaces. The Oracle Cloud Developer Image includes OCI Software Development Kits (SDKs), and database connectors.
Finally, customers can also manage infrastructure resources via a console, REST APIs, software development kits (SDKs), or the Terraform IT automation platform.
Oracle is also making available a free trial option, which provides $300 in credits for 30 days to try additional services and larger Oracle Cloud resources.
The Oracle Cloud Free Tier is clearly an effort to mitigate the appeal of open source databases on rival cloud services. Application developers tend to be attracted to those platforms because they are not only free, they also don’t typically have to spend time negotiating commercial license fees. Oracle is betting that by making its databases more easily available, more developers will build applications on what Oracle contends is a more robust platform that scales better in production environments. In fact, Coekaerts notes a free 30-day trial provided by other cloud platforms is not usually near enough time for organizations to determine whether a software development project is truly viable.
Oracle is also hoping those developers will appreciate a set of Oracle databases that Oracle manages on their behalf versus requiring organizations to hire IT operations staff to manage databases and associated cloud infrastructure. It’s not clear to what degree free cloud services will excite developers enough to start shifting workloads in the direction of Oracle. Whatever the outcome, however, the bar in terms of what organizations will expect in terms of free cloud services has certainly been raised.