Oracle Free Tier — Is not free.
Oracle Always Free VM requires a paid upgrade.
You might have stumbled around Oracle’s Always free services and got a brand new VM with 4 CPUs/24 GB memory* and other Always Free Eligible services from Oracle. Let me share my experience to make you aware of the shady service of Oracle’s cloud service and read between the lines.
I know such articles don’t get promoted by platforms nor they’d appear easily in the Google search to help developers become aware. Nor any developer is going to be searching with terms like “Is Oracle Cloud really free” or “Does Oracle always free have hidden costs”.
Hopefully, this will be useful, since you are not alone if this happens with your account.
Instead, the developers would be searching “How to set up a free VM with Oracle always free”. They land upon a nice Youtube video and once everything works, simply start using it.
I am going to share my experience with no rants and put it as it is about Oracle’s free tier — Always free services.
The telephone game upon sudden termination of my account without my consent or notification. And came to conclude that in order to use Oracle’s Always Free service, a paid upgrade is required.
Always Free by Oracle— advertisement vs reality
Once you have calculated 3000 oCPU and 18,000 GB hours per month to human-readable spec, which is — 4 CPUs/24GB RAM*, there is nothing to worry about here. It is in plain English, what could go wrong? Oracle’s Cloud Free Tier Always Free is not free, is the correct statement here.
I signed up for Oracle’s cloud accounts. The initial setup was straightforward, involving a lot of email verifications and requiring credit card details. After the signup was complete, I received the free $300 credits and was able to spin the brand new VM for the specs that fall under the “Always Free” eligible specs. I monitored my credits for any hidden costs that are being deducted from the free trial credits, so I can soon change the spec to match the Always free eligible specs. The free trial credit is supposed to last 30 days, and my VM was set.
Suddenly I was unable to ssh to the VM. I checked my network, nothing wrong with it. Upon going back to the console of Oracle’s cloud, the resources that I created were all gone. They just disappeared. That was the first red flag that Oracle’s cloud is not reliable and probably the VM just died or got un-provisioned.
Oh well, I went ahead to create the new VM with the same Always Free eligible services and found that all the admin privileges required are gone and any action just resulted in an Authorization exception.
Second Week — Telephone game with Oracle’s support
Oracle’s cloud customer support & live chat sales support are nightmares
1. Cloud chat support
I contacted Oracle’s cloud chat support to ask if there is something with my account and how can resources just disappear without any notice.
This was a nightmare, as Oracle’s customer support is useless. I got the same response each time from customer support — “System terminated your account and unfortunately we can’t reactive or restore the account. Thank you for chatting with us. Have a good day.”
Following is the evidence of the chat records
1st Try with customer support
Hi, there is something wrong with my account, can you please check?
2nd Try with customer support
Okay, why did that happen then?
3rd Try with customer support
From here on, without me saying a single word first to the operator. I just got the same response as soon as I was connected to the operator. It was like a while true loop nostalgia.
2. Create Support Request
Okay, fine. Oracle’s chat support turned out to be useless at this point. Next, I tried creating a support request ticket from the cloud dashboard and got the following error.
2. Seeking a response from the Oracle discussion community
Next up, I went and posted the question in Oracle’s community. There was no help from any Oracle representative there as well.
3. Calling Toll Free Oracle support
Next up, I made a call to the Toll-Free number and was able to contact a real human. The operator was well-spoken, and had great communication skills, but wasn’t much of a help though.
The operator suggested contacting via Chat again, but this time try “Contact Sales”. The operator also mentioned that the Always Free Services are only Free unless you upgrade your account. For which, sales can help you.
At this point, I am starting to understand that it is not Free. It is a shady luring tactic to make sales upsell me to upgrade to a paid account. After all, this is too good to be true. Let the sales team handle selling you the service upgrade.
4. Contacted Oracle Sales support
As suggested by the Oracle support telephone operator, I next contacted Oracle Sales using live chat.
From the very beginning they said, they cannot help as I need to contact the Cloud service, which I already did. And that the account needs to be a paid service if I would continue to use the Always Free services. This is a fishy business and shady sales practice by Oracle and makes me understand that Always Free is misleading and it is not free afterall.
- The advertised Always Free is misleading, if not completely wrong and untrue.
- The customer support of Oracle is an awful experience.
- The terminal of the account without my consent or warning, without a reason, is unjustified. Even when the account is promised to run through the 30 days of free trial on the free tier. Although, it is too late since the whole Always Free by Oracle is wrong.
- If the free tier is working for you then all good. I wouldn’t recommend any enterprise or startup to opt for Oracle’s free/paid service and will recommend staying on GCP, AWS, Digital Ocean, or your own cloud. These are much more mature on the infra, redundancy, robustness, and Oracle’s cloud couldn’t get the provisioning process right. Even enterprises smaller than Oracle have great customer support.
- The data is unretrievable by Oracle’s cloud service. Not reliable.
- The sales team cleared that a paid upgrade is required in order to use the Always free.
- I just couldn’t believe that Oracle, such a big enterprise, play shady to compete in the cloud arena. I was a big fan of Oracle as a company and its history, but it is tarnished for me.
*Free 24GB RAM 200GB SSD 4Core 3.0Ghz ARM CPU or any other Always Free Service provided by Oracle Cloud.
Following are references from users facing the same problem
- By Armin Nikdel https://arminnikdel.medium.com/oracle-cloud-and-loss-of-data-in-kubernetes-cluster-198d88181829
- By Shehu Awwal https://medium.com/@ShehuAwwal/dont-believe-oracle-cloud-free-tier-its-a-scam-1ac559aace95