Pat Shuff's Blog

Oracle Linux on Microsoft Azure

In this entry we are going to create a Linux 6.4 virtual machine on Microsoft Azure. In our last entry we did this on the Oracle Compute Cloud using a single processor instance and 15 GB of RAM. The installation took a few steps and was relatively easy to install. We will not look at how to create an Azure account but assume that you already have an account. The basic Azure console looks like the image below

From this console we can either create a Virtual Machine or Virtual Machine (classic). From the main console click on the "Virtual Machine" button on the left side of the screen. We will walk down this path rather than the classic mode for this installation. After you click on the virtual machine menu item and the "+ Add" button at the top left we can select the operating system type.

From this screen we can search for an installation type. If we type "oracle" in the search field we get over 20 entries provided by the Oracle Corporation. The first few are Linux only installations. The next few are Database and Java/WebLogic installations on Linux or Windows.

For our test, we will select the Oracle Linux 6.4 to match what we did in the previous blog. With this selection we get another screen that provides links to an informational page and more information. Notice that the deployment model only allows us to create the virtual machine in the classic mode. Had we gone down the Virtual machine (classic) menu item at the start we would end up in the same place with this selection. Clicking on the "create" button takes us to the next screen where we define the properties of the virtual machine. The basic information that we need are the virtual machine name, a user name to log in as, basic security access information (password or ssh key access), and compute size.

Rather than providing a username and password to access the virtual machine, we are going to select an ssh key. We will use the same key that we used in the last blog and copy the public ssh key that we created with puttygen and upload a text copy of the public ssh key. It is important to note that we can create the virtual machine with a password but to be honest we don't recommend it. You can do this but security becomes a huge issue. The password that you enter does not check for viability or security. I was able to type in the traditional "Welcome1" password and the system accepted it as a viable password. Again, it is not recommended to do this but I was testing to see if I could enter a simple password that is easily found in the dictionary.

When we click on the Pricing Tier we can select the compute shape. When we first clock on this we get three recommended choices. These choices are all single core options with a small memory footprint. It is important to note that all are IO limited at 500 IOs per second and all have the option for a load balancer to be put in front of the virtual machine. The key difference is the processor type. The A processor is a lower speed, older processor that does not have as much power. The D processor is a higher speed, newer processor. Both options are lower clock speeds than the Oracle compute shape which is a 3.0 Ghz Xeon processor. The memory configuration is significantly lower with 1.75 or 3.5 GB when compared to 15 GB or 30 GB offered by the Oracle Compute Service.

If we want to explore more options we can click on the "View All" option at the top right. This allows us to look at over 60 different configurations that have different core counts, memory configurations, and disk options.

For our exercise we are going to go with the recommended A1 Standard configuration with 1 virtual processor and 1.75 GB of RAM.

The final step that we need to look at are the network, disk, and availability zone configurations. To be honest, we could accept the defaults and not configure these options.

If we look at the optional configurations, we can configure an availability zone. This allows us to replicate services between user defined zones. For this instance we are going to use the standalone virtual machine configuration.

The next configuration option allows us to define the local network configurations, which subnet it will belong to, and the server name. We recommend not changing the subnet information because this could cause issues if you enter the wrong network or enter an invalid subnet that does not have a dhcp server.

We can select a reserved ip address rather than a dynamically allocated ip address. It is important to enter this information correctly because you could step on an existing server on the internet and not be able to get to your virtual machine. It is also important to map the static ip address to the domain name that you have reserved through naming servers on the internet. We will use the default dhcp rather than use a reserved ip address.

We could attach alternate disks to this instance. For example, if we wanted to pre-load the Oracle database binary, we could mount the disk as a secondary disk and attach it to our instance. We will not do this as part of our exercise but go with the default boot disk to show how to create a basic virtual image.

We can also configure the ports that are open to the virtual machine. It is important to note that by default ssh is open and available. We could open port 80 or port 443 if we wanted to provide web access to this machine. We would also have to change the iptables configuration on the operating system to gain access to these services.

Finally, we can add options to the Linux operating system. This would be similar to selecting the Orchestration option on the Oracle Compute Service. My recommendation is to not select this but do this with the apt-get or yum installation method using post configuration utilities and methods.

The final options that we have deal with how we pay for the service and which data center we drop the virtual machine into. We will accept the defaults of "Pay as you go" and "US East" data center for our exercise.

When we click "Create" we are put back on the main portal screen with an update window showing progress. The create takes a few minutes and will be dropped into the Virtual Machine window when finished.

You can click on the bell shaped icon on the top right to see the progress bar and click on the progress bar to look at the ongoing status of creation. Note that the status is "creating" and will change when the virtual machine is finished creating.

Once the status turns to "running" we can click on the machine name and get more detailed information like the ip address assigned and more detailed data on the final configuration.

Once everything is running we can login via putty on Windows or ssh on Linux or Mac. We get the ip address from the status page on the virtual machine. We use the username that we entered when we created the Linux instance. We use the private ssh keys to connect to the instance just like the Oracle Compute Service.

Once we accept the keys we can login and verify the os version and disk shape created.

In summary, the difference between the Oracle Compute Cloud and the Microsoft Azure Cloud is not that different. The selection of the operating system is much more of a GUI experience with Microsoft and the Oracle shapes are much larger when it comes to memory. The Microsoft options have more options on the low end and high end but the Oracle solution is designed for the Oracle Database and WebLogic servers. It took about the same amount of time to create the two virtual machines. Security is a little tighter with Oracle but can be made the same between the two. Azure gives you the option of using a username and password and allows you to open any port that you want into the virtual machine. Given that these instances are on the public internet we recommend a tighter security configuration.

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