Oracle builds out their portfolio of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Always Free services

June 7, 2021 | 8 minute read
Joby Menon
Sr. Director Product Management, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Free Tier, OCI Development User Experience
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We’re excited to announce the addition of 13 more Always Free services to Oracle Cloud Free Tier, enabling developers and operators to learn, kick the tires, and deploy workloads on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). In September 2019, Oracle began offering Always Free services including Compute, Storage, and Autonomous Database. The newest Always Free services include Ampere A1 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, making Oracle’s Always Free portfolio of services and resources among the most generous in the industry.

Our 13 new Always Free services complement the existing Always Free Compute virtual machines (VM), Object Storage, Block Storage, Load Balancing, Autonomous Data Warehouse, and Autonomous Transaction Processing service. For example, you can now deploy a low-code APEX app, build a WordPress website, or deploy a Minecraft server on OCI, all free of charge for an unlimited time. Our Always Free services can also help you learn about the primitives and capabilities of OCI that you can scale with a paid OCI account in the future. All OCI Always Free services and resources are available to you with an active Oracle Cloud account.

New Always Free Compute resources

To support Arm architecture coming to servers, Oracle OCI launched Ampere A1 Compute instances in the cloud. Oracle has created an Arm developer ecosystem to enable developers to seamlessly transition, build, and run applications on OCI Arm instances. The latest Ampere processors used in OCI run most server workloads more efficiently than legacy processors. The only way to know if Ampere A1 Compute shapes are right for you is to try them. Oracle offers the most significant Always Free Arm resources (four OCPUs, 24-GB Memory) in the industry to enable developers to build and test meaningful apps (not just “hello world” demos).

Learn more about the OCI Arm Developer Ecosystem.

New Always Free Databases resources and services

With the launch of the new Always Free Autonomous JSON Database resources on Oracle Cloud, you can now run up to two databases with your choice of workload types, ranging from Autonomous Transaction Processing, Autonomous Data Warehouse, and Autonomous JSON Database. You can also use a fully managed NoSQL database cloud service designed for database operations that require predictable, single digit millisecond latency responses to simple queries.

Autonomous JSON Database

Always Free Oracle Autonomous JSON Database delivers the benefits of Oracle’s Paid Autonomous JSON Database free of charge for as long as you need. Autonomous JSON Database is a cloud document database service that makes it simple to develop JSON-centric applications and handle JSON workloads. It features simple JSON document APIs, full SQL access, serverless scaling, high-performance ACID transactions, and comprehensive security. Because the service is a member of the Oracle Autonomous Database family, it automates provisioning, configuring, tuning, scaling, patching, encrypting, and repairing of the database, eliminating most database management tasks while delivering high availability and single digit millisecond response times. Free JSON Database provides up to 1 OCPU (shared) and 20 GB of storage, making it suitable for a wide range of small- to medium-sized JSON-centric applications.

Learn more about Always Free Autonomous JSON Database.


Oracle NoSQL Database Cloud service makes it easy for developers to build applications using document, columnar, and key-value database models, delivering predictable single-digit millisecond response times with data replication for high availability. The service offers atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) transactions, serverless scaling, comprehensive security, and low pay-per-use pricing, including 100 percent compatibility with on-premises Oracle NoSQL Database. The Always Free NoSQL resources include up to 133 million reads per month, 133 million writes per month, and three tables with 25-GB storage per table. Oracle Cloud customers like Airbus uses NoSQL Cloud Service for its value and continuous promise of proven reliability, flexibility, and high performance.

Learn more about Always Free Oracle Cloud NoSQL service.

New Always Free application development services

With new Always Free Oracle APEX Application Development, new and professional developers can rapidly build and deploy low-code apps in Oracle Cloud free of charge for as long as they need. Oracle APEX empowers developers to create modern data-driven applications up to 38 times faster than coding. Developers can get the most from data assets by building converged applications that integrate relational, JSON, spatial, and graph data. They can pull data from the included Oracle Autonomous Database or virtually any REST endpoint.

Developers can also extend applications by incorporating Oracle and third-party APEX plugins or by adding custom JavaScript, SQL, and PL/SQL logic. Always Free APEX Service delivers Oracle APEX running in Oracle Cloud as an all-inclusive and fully managed service with up to 1 OCPU (shared) and 20 GB of storage. It can support 3–6 users accessing the service simultaneously, plus an unlimited number of applications, developer accounts, and end-user accounts.

Learn more about Always Free low-code APEX Application Development.

New Always Free Observability and Management resources and services


The OCI Logging service is a highly scalable and fully managed single pane of glass for all the logs in your tenancy, providing a generous 10 GB per month as Always Free resource as long as you need it. Log ingest and search are also free. Logging provides access to audit, service, and custom logs from OCI resources. These logs include critical diagnostic information that describes how resources are performing and being accessed. You can use the powerful log search engine to explore logs. You can also make every log line actionable in near-real time to act on, export, or archive your logs for indefinite retention with OCI Service Connector Hub support.

OCI logs are encrypted in-flight while they’re in the process of being ingested into OCI Logging. After the logs are in the system, they’re encrypted with disk-level encryption for commercial environments. Logs are also encrypted when they’re archived and while in storage, providing a solid, around-the-clock log security at your fingertips. For interoperability, OCI Logging uses the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Fluentd agent for log ingestion and the CNCF CloudEvents standard for log events.

Learn more about Always Free Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Logging.

Service Connector Hub

Service Connector Hub is a free service that moves data between your services, both within OCI and from OCI to third-party tools. It moves data, such as logs from Logging, to services such as Object Storage, Streaming, and Monitoring, for extra processing and compliance storage needs. It triggers Functions for custom data processing and sending Notifications about changes to cloud resources. Service Connector Hub eliminates the overhead associated with building and maintaining complex applications for moving data between services. It’s fully managed, durable, and scales to handle real world back pressure scenarios.

You can use Service Connector Hub to seamlessly integrate with third-party tools for more processing and analytics, store data on Object Storage for compliance purposes, emit metrics from logs based on certain criterion (Alarms), process data in transit with Functions, get notifications about changes to cloud resources, and gain full visibility over data movement.

Learn more about Always Free Service Connector Hub.

Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

Application Performance Monitoring delivers four distinct capabilities that enable application administrators and DevOps engineers to get a true picture of every user’s experience. APM implements a robust distributed tracing system as a service, tracking every step of every transaction with no sampling and no aggregation in microservices-based applications and legacy multitier architectures. APM provides end user monitoring to track the actual experiences of each end user, all the time, no matter where and how they access the application through browser instrumentation, session diagnostics and combining with server-side tracing.

Synthetic monitoring helps developers and operators to become proactive by preventing issues before users are impacted. You can schedule and script synthetic monitors to meet the requirements for application availability and more. Server monitoring allows APM to collect metrics from any component involved in delivering a service.

APM data collection is compatible with cloud native open standards, including OpenMetrics and OpenTelemetry. Always Free version includes 1,000 events per hour, enabling you to experiment with the service or monitor low volume applications, taking advantage of the Distributed Tracing, end-user monitoring, and server monitoring capabilities. Currently, Synthetic Monitoring is not included in the Always Free option.

Learn more about Always Free Application Performance Monitoring.

New Always Free Infrastructure and Networking services

Flexible load balancer

With OCI Flexible Load Balancing, you’re no longer restricted to fixed bandwidth load balancer shapes or scaling based only on general traffic patterns. You can choose a custom minimum bandwidth and an optional maximum bandwidth, both anywhere between 10–8,000 Mbps. The minimum bandwidth is always available and provides instant readiness for your workloads. The optional maximum bandwidth setting can limit bandwidth, even during unexpected peaks if you need to control costs. Based on incoming traffic patterns, available bandwidth scales up from the minimum as traffic increases. Our Always Free accounts get one flexible load balancer with a minimum and maximum bandwidth of 10 Mbps.

Learn more about Always Free Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Flexible Load Balancer.

Flexible network load balancer

OCI’s flexible network load balancer is a non-proxy load balancing solution that performs pass-through load balancing of layer 3 and layer 4 (TCP/UDP/ICMP) workloads. It offers an elastically scalable regional VIP address that can scale up or down based on client traffic with no minimum or maximum bandwidth configuration requirement. It also provides the benefits of flow high availability, source and destination IP address, and port preservation. It’s designed to handle volatile traffic patterns and millions of flows, offering high throughput while maintaining ultra-low latency. The network load balancer is optimized for long-running connections for days or months, which makes it best suited for your database or WebSocket type applications.

Learn more about Always Free Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Flexible Network Load Balancer.

VPN Connect V2

OCI VPN connections use industry-standard IPSec protocols through VPN Connect service, also known as IPSec VPN. VPN Connect provides a site-to-site IPSec VPN between your on-premises network and your virtual cloud network (VCN). The IPSec protocol suite encrypts IP traffic before the packets are transferred from the source to the destination and decrypts the traffic when it arrives. With our new offering, VPN Connect V2 improves availability and reliability of IPSec connections. You can now use two ipsec-connections for free to run lightweight workloads for an indefinite time.

Learn more about Always Free VPN Connect.

New Always Free Security resources

Oracle Security Zones and Oracle Security Advisor

You can automatically set up and enforce security policies for compartments in OCI using Oracle Security Zones and Oracle Security Advisor. Oracle Security Zones service includes a rich policy library to enable cloud security posture management, so administrators can immediately ensure that their compartments are secure. Security Zones and Security Advisor are complimentary, and together with other built-in security capabilities of OCI, they help make it easier to build out cloud infrastructure in a secure, automated manner. With these capabilities, you can focus on building an excellent customer experience in your software without having to worry about the security aspects of your offerings. Both are classified as OCI’s Always Free services, providing youstate-of-the-art security for your use cases when you have an active Oracle Cloud account.

Learn more about Security Zones and Security Advisor.

OCI Bastion

OCI Bastion is a fully managed service providing secure and ephemeral SSH access to the private resources in OCI eliminating the need for deploying complex networking or jump hosts to get access to private resources. User authentication and authorization are integrated with Identity and Access Management (IAM) services enabling authorized users to connect from specific IP addresses to target resources by using any software or protocol supported by SSH. OCI Bastion is classified as OCI’s Always Free service and support 20 sessions per bastion and five bastions in each tenancy.

Learn more about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Bastion.

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Joby Menon

Sr. Director Product Management, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Free Tier, OCI Development User Experience

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