New Free Services in Oracle Cloud for Developers, DBAs, and Admins

Oracle may have joined the cloud services bandwagon a bit late in 2016, however, they came fully prepared with the 2nd generation cloud offerings, embedded across their ‘converged’ and ‘autonomous’ database, cloud enterprise applications, and the modern infrastructure as a service. In a short span, Oracle grew a portfolio of more than 100 services to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and established 29 Oracle Cloud Regions, globally, making itself an irresistible proposition for application developers, database administrators (DBAs), network admins, and IT security officers. Simply put, the extension of Oracle’s services to the cloud completely rearchitected the quality landscape for performance, scalability, availability, security, ease-of-use, analytics, virtualization, networking, etc., catered by most of the ‘early arriving’ cloud service providers.

Today, Oracle is pioneering the art of edge computing, database management, online transaction processing (OLTP), remote direct memory access (RDMA), ARM-based architecture, cloud security, on-prem public cloud region (a.k.a. Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer), disaster recovery, data warehousing, integration, visibility, and more – securing position as the second largest software company based on revenue.[1]

However, with great success comes great responsibilities. And, in view of the same, Oracle is continuously devoting itself into creating environmentally and financially sustainable technology at scale. Two recent examples in support of the initiative are the Oracle’s new line of ARM-based architecture on OCI, and the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Free Tier / Always Free services portfolio.

In continuance of the last story on Oracle’s Always Free services linked above, let us explore the rest of the contents of the package.

Oracle Always Free Logging

The rest of the services in the Oracle’s new Always Free portfolio is regarding observability, networking, and security. Starting with Logging – a scalable, fully managed, and unified dashboard for all the logs in a tenancy, offering a substantial 10 GB per month plan as the Always Free resource for unlimited period. Logs ingest and look-up are included.

Logging fundamentally delivers access to service, audit, and custom logs from the resources on OCI. Such logs incorporate critical diagnostic data depicting resource performance and access. The users can leverage the robust log search engine for discovering logs. Users may also create each log line actionable in near-real time for acting, archiving, or exporting the logs for unlimited custody via the OCI Service Connector Hub support.

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From security perspective, the OCI logs are encoded during flight to getting ingested into the OCI Logging. Once the logs arrive at the system, they are again encoded with disk-level encryption designed for commercial environments, affording a concrete, around-the-clock security of logs, handy at all times.

Oracle Always Free Service Connector Hub

The OCI Service Connector Hub is an Always Free service for transferring data between users’ services, including intra-OCI and from OCI to third-party tools. It passages information, such as logs from Logging to services including streaming, object storage, monitoring, for additional processing as well as compliance storage requirements. The Service Connector Hub under Oracle Always Free toggles Oracle Functions for custom data processing and carrying Notifications related to the changes applied to cloud resources. The Service Connector Hub also removes the overhead linked with creating and preserving complex applications for transferring information between services. Yet again, it is a fully managed service, ready to deal with the real world back pressures for free.

Users may utilize Service Connector Hub for:

  • easily integrating with third-party tools for greater analytics and processing
  • placing data on Object Storage purposes such as compliance
  • exhibiting metrics from logs based on criterions
  • processing data during transit via Functions
  • receiving notifications regarding the changes to cloud resources, and
  • attaining holistic visibility on data movement.

Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

Application Performance Monitoring under the Always Free program brings four separate capabilities aimed at empowering DevOps engineers and application administrators to attain a clear picture of every individual user’s experience. APM enforces a tough, distributed tracing system as a service (DTSaaS), monitoring every single step of every single transaction, without sampling or aggregation in legacy multitier architectures and microservices-based applications. APM works irrespective of the medium used for accessing an application, i.e., via browser environment instrumentation, and session diagnostics integrating with server-side tracking.

Elastic load balancer in the Oracle Always Free portfolio

With the OCI Flexible Load Balancing, users can break away from the fixed bandwidth load balancer shapes, and perhaps, scaling founded on general traffic patterns. Users may readily choose a personalized minimum bandwidth and an optional maximum bandwidth, between 10–8,000 Mbps. The lowest bandwidth is always available for providing immediate readiness for workloads. The voluntary maximum bandwidth setting is capable of limiting bandwidth, even during unpredicted surge, for arresting costs. Built on the incoming traffic patterns, available bandwidth scales up from the lowest as traffic rises. Oracle’s Always Free users accounts receive one flexible load balancer with upper and lower limits of up to 10 Mbps.

The flexible network load balancer

Since the OCI’s flexible network load balancer is a non-proxy load balancing tool for performing pass-through load balancing of layer three and four (TCP/ICMP/UDP) workloads. It also affords the values of flow high availability, origin and destination IP address, and preservation of port. The flexible network load balancer is further made to deal with volatile traffic patterns as well as millions of flows, extending high throughput while preserving ultra-low latency. The network load balancer under Oracle Always Free is optimized for long connections for days/months, making it suitable for user database or WebSocket type applications.

Always Free OCI VPN Connect V2/V3

OCI’s VPN connections leverage the standard IPSec protocols via VPN Connect service (a.k.a. IPSec VPN). VPN Connect affords users a site-to-site IPSec VPN between their on-prem and virtual cloud network (VCN). The IPSec protocol suite encodes the IP traffic prior to the packets’ transmission from the origin point to the destination, and in the next stop decodes the traffic upon arrival. With Oracle’s latest offering, VPN Connect V2/V3 enhances reliability and availability of IPSec connections. Users may now make use of two IPsec-connections for free of charge for running light-weight workloads for as long as is required.

Oracle Security Zones & Security Advisor

The Oracle Always Free users now have free and unlimited access to automatic setting up and enforcement of security policies for sections in OCI via the Oracle Security Zones and Security Advisor. The former security service comprises a rich policy library for activating cloud security posture management in order for administrators to instantly ensure the security of their selected compartments.

Both Security Zones and Security Advisor are built-in security features of OCI, helping admins seamlessly build out the cloud infrastructure in a secured, and orchestrated style. With these security capabilities, users can concentrate on creating phenomenal customer experience in their applications while discounting the concerns for security aspects in the offerings.

Oracle Always Free OCI Bastion

OCI Bastion is an Oracle managed service extending brief yet protected SSH access to the private resources in OCI, removing the necessity for deploying complicated networking or jumping hosts for accessing to private resources. User authentication and authorization are combined with Identity and Access Management (IAM) services empowering the authorized users to connect from specific IP addresses to the target resources via any software/protocol compatible with the SSH. OCI Bastion is available as OCI’s Always Free service and supports 20 sessions for every bastion with five bastions in each tenancy.