Oracle Always Free cloud offering (Part 3)


Hey guys how are you doing? Today I’ll continue with the Oracle always free cloud offering and we’ll finally start to provisioning a VM in our environment. If you want to know more about how it works (Part 1) or the overview about the Dashboard (Part 2) please check my previous posts.

The first thing we need to do is check for the best practices and see if everything in our environment is adequate.

  • IP Addresses Reserved for Use by Oracle:
    • Certain IP addresses are reserved for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure use and may not be used in your address numbering scheme (169.254.0.0/16).
    • These addresses are used for iSCSI connections to the boot and block volumes, instance metadata, and other services.
    • Three IP Addresses in Each Subnet
      • The first IP address in the CIDR (the network address)
      • The last IP address in the CIDR (the broadcast address)
      • The first host address in the CIDR (the subnet default gateway address)
    • For example, in a subnet with CIDR 192.168.0.0/24, these addresses are reserved:
      • 192.168.0.0 (the network address)
      • 192.168.0.255 (the broadcast address)
      • 192.168.0.1 (the subnet default gateway address)
    • The remaining addresses in the CIDR (192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.254) are available for use.
  • Essential Firewall Rules
    • All Oracle-provided images include rules that allow only “root” on Linux instances or “Administrators” on Windows Server instances to make outgoing connections to the iSCSI network endpoints (169.254.0.2:3260, 169.254.2.0/24:3260) that serve the instance’s boot and block volumes.
      • Oracle recommends that you do not reconfigure the firewall on your instance to remove these rules. Removing these rules allows non-root users or non-administrators to access the instance’s boot disk volume.
      • Oracle recommends that you do not create custom images without these rules unless you understand the security risks.
      • Running Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) on Ubuntu images might cause issues with these rules. Because of this, Oracle recommends that you do not enable UFW on your instances.
  • System Resilience
    • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure runs on Oracle’s high-quality Sun servers. However, any hardware can experience a failure:
      • Design your system with redundant compute nodes in different availability domains to support failover capability.
      • Create a custom image of your system drive each time you change the image.
      • Back up your data drives, or sync to spare drives, regularly.
      • If you experience a hardware failure and have followed these practices, you can terminate the failed instance, launch your custom image to create a new instance, and then apply the backup data.
  • Uninterrupted Access to the Instance
    • Make sure to keep the DHCP client running so you can always access the instance. If you stop the DHCP client manually or disable NetworkManager (which stops the DHCP client on Linux instances), the instance can’t renew its DHCP lease and will become inaccessible when the lease expires (typically within 24 hours). Do not disable NetworkManager unless you use another method to ensure renewal of the lease.
    • Stopping the DHCP client might remove the host route table when the lease expires. Also, loss of network connectivity to your iSCSI connections might result in loss of the boot drive.
  • User Access
    • If you created your instance using an Oracle-provided Linux image, you can use SSH to access your instance from a remote host as the opc user. After logging in, you can add users on your instance.
    • If you created your instance using an Oracle-provided Windows image, you can access your instance using a Remote Desktop client as the opc user. After logging in, you can add users on your instance.
  • NTP Service
    • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers a fully managed, secure, and highly available NTP service that you can use to set the date and time of your Compute and Database instances from within your virtual cloud network (VCN).
    • We recommend that you configure your instances to use the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure NTP service.
  • Fault Domains
    • A fault domain is a grouping of hardware and infrastructure that is distinct from other fault domains in the same availability domain. Each availability domain has three fault domains. By properly leveraging fault domains you can increase the availability of applications running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
    • Your application’s architecture will determine whether you should separate or group instances using fault domains.
  • Customer-Managed Virtual Machine (VM) Maintenance
    • When an underlying infrastructure component needs to undergo maintenance, you are notified before the impact to your VM instances. You can control how and when your applications experience maintenance downtime by proactively rebooting (or stopping and starting) your instances at any time before the scheduled maintenance event.
    • A maintenance reboot is different from a normal reboot. When you reboot an instance for maintenance, the instance is stopped on the physical VM host that needs maintenance, and then restarted on a healthy VM host.
    • If you choose not to reboot before the scheduled time, then Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will reboot and migrate your instances before proceeding with the planned infrastructure maintenance.

When you work with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, one of the first steps is to set up a virtual cloud network (VCN) for your cloud resources. I was thinking to do a more detail explanation here but this topic is very big. Then I decide to try do a simple step by step in how to set you Network for you to access your resources from your computer.

This is not the best way to create an complex network or anything like that, is just a way to quick start using your always free components and test your VM and DB.

To start we will click in the “Setup a network with wizard” quick link:

After you click there you have 2 options:

Select VCN with Internet Connectivity, and then click Start VNC Wizard. In the next page, just insert the name of your VCN and leave averything else as it is (unless you have a reason to change). Click Next.

In the next page, it’ll show everything that will be create by the Wizard. Note that you can create manually piece by piece of it, but for simplicity, the wizard should be enough.”Click in Create.

Next screen will show the installation of what was requested:

And that’s it for the network. Now we can start to create our databases and VM’s all inside our network, and they all going to “see” each-other.

That’s it for the network. Again, this is a very simple way to set your Network and every single step above can be setup individually with greater complexity but I’m for sure, but that will be impossible to be done in the always free since a lot of the complexity stuff needs to be paid for.

You can get a lot more information in the Jumpstart your Cloud Skills on the Start Explore. There are a lot of videos there explaining a lot of things. For simplicity, I’ll post here all links available there just for people that wants to see the videos before they subscribe to the OCI.

Module NameNumber of SubmodulesRun Time (Minutes)
Core InfrastructureGetting Started with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure113
Core InfrastructureVirtual Cloud Network L10010116
Core InfrastructureVirtual Cloud Network L200471
Core InfrastructureCompute L100660
Core InfrastructureCompute L200670
Core InfrastructureVPN Connect L100228
Core InfrastructureFastConnect L100218
Core InfrastructureVPN Connect L200215
Core InfrastructureFastConnect L200224
Core InfrastructureBlock Volume L100647
Core InfrastructureFile Storage L100455
Core InfrastructureObject Storage L100340
Core InfrastructureStorage L200341
Core InfrastructureLoad Balancing L100330
Core InfrastructureLoad Balancing L200224
Core InfrastructureHA and DR L300231
DatabaseDatabase L100445
DatabaseDatabase Capacity Planning L200466
DatabaseDatabase HA L200236
DatabaseDatabase Migration L200333
DatabaseDatabase CLI L200110
DatabaseData Safe L100115
DatabaseAutonomous Database L100552
DatabaseAutonomous Database L200579
DatabaseExadata Cloud Service Overview L3001100
DatabaseExadata API and CLI L300195
DatabaseExadata Patching L300161
DatabaseExadata Backup and Recovery L300157
Solutions and PlatformFunctions L100348
Solutions and PlatformEvents L100348
Solutions and PlatformContainer Engine for Kubernetes L100327
Solutions and PlatformRegistry L100421
Solutions and PlatformDNS Traffic Management L100326
Solutions and PlatformDNS Zone Manager L100212
Solutions and PlatformResource Manager L100122
Solutions and PlatformMonitoring L100135
Solutions and PlatformStreaming L100111
MigrationData Migration L100338
MigrationOCI-Classic to OCI Migration136
MigrationOCI-Classic to OCI Migration Tools171
Governance and AdministrationIdentity and Access Management L100565
Governance and AdministrationIdentity and Access Management L2001107
Governance and AdministrationBilling and Cost L100237
Governance and AdministrationService Requests and SLAs119
Governance and AdministrationSecurity Overview L1001061
Governance and AdministrationWeb Application Firewall L100230
Governance and AdministrationKey Management L100118

Next thing we can do is create a load balancing. To do that, we just have to click in the Create Load Balancer in the Quick Actions and then fill the new page like this:

The most important thing here is to make sure you selected the Micro in the Bandwidth selection. This one is free (you can also see the Always free Eligible logo there. Click Next after this.

In the next page we need to choose the load balance policy, and for that, depending of your application you’ll select one specific one. We have 3 options:

  • Weighted Round Robin: This one distribute the load sequentially in the servers (one each)
  • IP Hash: This one guarantee that the request from one specific client always go to the same server
  • Least Connections: this one always select the server with less connections

Next you need to add Back-ends. We don’t have any create now, but we can add this later. And finally we can change the Health Check policy, but for what we are doing we can just leave as it is. Click Next. In this screen we have to create a listener:

Here we have 3 options of traffic listener, HTTPS, HTTP and TCP. I’ll going to select TCP without SSL for simplicity, but if you select HTTPS you’ll need to have SSL certificate files and private keys. It’s safer but if you want just o play around its better to select HTTP or TCP.

For TCP we just have this options:

If you select USE SSL you also need to provide the Digital Certificate and private keys.

After you select yours, just finish the process. You’ll be taking to the Load Balance Monitoring page where’ll see something like this:

And that’s it for the network. Next time we’ll provisioning a VM and we’ll set our machine to connect into the VM.

I hope you guys enjoy this and see you soon.

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