Let me start by saying that I always loved Pi boards.
Disclaimer: The Raspberry Pi is a great piece of technology and it is supported by a great community. So many great things have been built by using a Raspberry Pi and the purpose of this article is not to undermine the beauty of these machines. My goal with this article is to uncover some great possibilities that are available out there by exploiting “Free Tiers” resources on cloud accounts. I will talk about Oracle Always Free Tier because it offers the greatest amount of resources available for free without expiration date. here you can find a more comprehensive description of Oracle Always Free Tier.
Cloud Free Tier Description + Sign Up for a Free Trial section
Oracle Cloud Free Tier allows you to sign up for an Oracle Cloud account which provides a number of Always Free services and a Free Trial with US$300 of free credit to use on all eligible Oracle Cloud Infrastructure services for up to 30 days. The Free Trial services may be used until your US$300 of free credits are consumed or the 30 days has expired, whichever comes first. The Always Free services are available for an unlimited period of time.
Let me highlights an important of thing first:
Credit card: you’ll be asked to provide credit card details during the sign-up phase. I’m usually quite reluctant on providing such information but I can say for sure that you won’t incur unexpected charges. In order for Oracle to charge your credit card, you will need to upgrade your account to PAYG or Monthly Flex and there are some defined procedures to do that. When the trial period expires (or you ran out of money on the account) your services will be shut down with the sole exception of the Free Tier resources.
Even though Raspberry Pi machines can be considered quite cheap (let’s consider $30), Oracle Free Tier is completely Free. So you will get a great set of resources without spending a single cent. You WON’T pay for the electricity but you WILL have at your disposal a Public IP address (many ISPs will charge you for a public IP address available 24/7). You won’t need a fancy case, you won’t need an SD card, a WiFi dongle, UPS and so on…
You’re working on a Cloud Infrastructure built for “Enterprise customers” so it is unlikely that your service is gonna be down.
If you, just like I do, use the Raspberry Pi to host a web server you can rest assured that your service is gonna stay up. You can forget about all the headaches caused by your mom, who needs to unplug your Pi to clean or all the complaints that your wife makes about “that ugly thing with all those cables“ in the living room.
Not only your website is not going down. What about your data? What backup policy do you have at home? High Availability? What happens your dog eat the SD card? Not only you’re gonna need to visit the vet but you’ll also need to find a way to recover your data.
You can do it of course, because you periodically perform backups and keep your data replicated in multiple and very far places (just to be safe when a natural disaster occurs).
And, if somebody breaks in? No worries. My Pi board encrypts all data at rest with AES-256 so nobody will be able to get those data. In addition, I rotate the keys frequently so there are no worries.
Well, also Oracle Cloud Free Tier does that.
You get access to AMD VMs (with 1/8 OCPU) each with 1 GB RAM. Ok, that is something that our Pi board should be quite superior right? Well, for starting you get 2 of those as first thing, you can start building that HA architecture we were talking about before exploiting Oracle’s fast network. Not only this… you also have access to Autonomous Database.
Yes! You have at your complete disposal the best DB in the world. In your hands now you have the most powerful DB, with all the latest advancements, a machine learning engine, a data visualization tool for your BI needs and many other packages included. Free. Ah sorry, you also get 2 of these instances. Here you can find out more about our ATP (Autonomous Transaction Processing) and ADW (Autonomous Data-Warehouse).
What about storage? On my Pi, I can store many things and use it as a repository for my code or my personal data. Well, Oracle Free Tier covers you also on this. You have 50GB of storage that you can use however you prefer.
While the Raspberry Pi can be used easily by a person with some technical skills, it is still quite difficult to reach people with Shell-FOBIA. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure can be managed also by non-technical people through its easy to use interface.
In just a couple of clicks, you’re gonna be able to create VMs and even DBs. With Oracle Cloud, you’re gonna be able to start working on your idea in minutes and if you’ll have problems, you will always have many articles and tutorials at your disposal.
But wait… what about those technical people? Should they use the “nice and easy to use interface” too? Well, you have available OCI Command Line Interface and OCI also supports Infrastructure as Code through Terraform so you can keep using your favorite shell.
What happens if your hobby becomes a success? Or your idea keeps getting attention and you want to start your own startup? Should you Strat from scratch? On Oracle Cloud Infrastructure you can easily convert your Free Tier to a Pay As You Go instance to get more resources to support your new business.
Note: To get charged for something you’ll need to follow some steps so it is impossible to get charged for something accidentally on the Free Tier. So don’t worry about your credit card: it is used just for verification.
While I am a big supporter of the Raspberry Pi project and I proudly own one, I strongly advise you to register to get a Oracle Cloud Free Trial here and start discovering the endless possibilities of Oracle Cloud.