3 months after the Oracle “Always Free” Tier — unexpected termination. But don’t panic.

Franck Pachot
Dec 19, 2019 · 4 min read

3 months ago, when Larry Ellison announced the “Always Free Tier”, I posted a blog about its possibilities and limitation:

I used the ATP, ADW, and compute instances that I’ve created during that time and then did not expect any termination. But exactly 3 months later, the service is not available.

Autonomous Database

About the Autonomous Databases, I got the same as Dani Schider:

I can’t connect with SQL Developer Web

I can’t connect with sqlplus:

But the Service is up.

Fortunately, nothing is lost: I just re-start the service and my data is there.

Perfect. The last login was on December 18th at midnight as I run this from my free tier VM to keep the databases up:

00 00 * * * TNS_ADMIN=/home/opc/wallet sqlplus -s -L demo/"**P455w0rd**"@atp1_low >/tmp/atp1.log <<<'select banner,current_timestamp from v$version;'
00 00 * * * TNS_ADMIN=/home/opc/wallet sqlplus -s -L demo/"**P455w0rd**"@adw1_low >/tmp/adw1.log <<<'select banner,current_timestamp from v$version;'

Oh, but talking about the compute instance, they are down as well:

Compute Instance

I received this notification which proves that:

  • this problem was not expected
  • the free tier is still considered as production

Ok, really cool that they “are currently working to restore the instance(s) on your behalf.” but the procedure is simple. The instances were terminated but the boot volume is still there. I follow the procedure metioned:

The name is easy to find: “A (Boot Volume)” is the boot volume for the instance “A” that was terminated:

It is also the occasion to clean-up the mess I left: the two first “always free” I created are still there even if I’ve terminated the instance.

From the context menu on the boot volume, just click “Create Instance”

Don’t forget to mention the name if you want the same as before

Do not forget by the default is no interface on the public internet. Click on “Show Shape”, go to “Network and Storage Options” and select the “Public subnet”

Don’t forget to click on “Assign a public IP address”. You will have a new IP address, so don’t forget to change anything that referred to it.

But I can check that I’ve not lost anything:

The last sign of life is in /var/log/secure was at Dec 18 03:14:28 when a user “fulford” tried to ssh from Shangai… so the server probably crashed around that time.

We were notified about the problem, with the simple way to recover and no data was lost, so no big damage. But if you relied on an 24/7 up service then some manual intervention (“human labor” ;) is required to get the service up and change the IP addresses. Remember that it is a free service and “you get what you pay for”…

I received a notification that they have finished restoring the compute instances:

We have finished restoring the Compute instance(s) listed in this notification that were incorrectly terminated.

Actually, they have detected that I did it:

During recovery, we identified that there were changes already made to your environment. As a result we have taken no further action, to prevent unwanted impact to your tenancy.

What if I didn’t recover myself? It seems that all went fine:

I really like the way this problem was handled by Oracle. Here is the root cause which confirms my guess that a 3-month cleanup didn’t detect the activity:

An automatic cleanup that removes Compute instances from terminated accounts incorrectly identified one or more of your free tier instances as being eligible for termination.

I can understand that. The problem with cloud automation is that when something fails, many environments are concerned. Cloud scales everything — even the failures. This free tier was announced at Open World, probably setup quickly and not tested enough. But that concerns only the free tier: there is no automatic termination when you pay with cloud credits.

Franck Pachot

Written by

https://twitter.com/FranckPachot Passionate about all databases. Oak Table member, Oracle ACE Director & OCM 12c. Other blog posts: http://blog.dbi.pachot.net

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