Oracle Cloud free ARM VMs are easily the best deal for hobbyists

Cloud computing is becoming more and more accessible for anyone. If you are interested in running even non-trivial workloads for free, Oracle Cloud is now offering a very generous package consisting of 4 of their ARM based Ampere A1 cores and 24GB(!) of memory. These can be split into up to 4 VMs or used in a single machine. Additionally, you can still get 2 AMD x86 systems with shared cores on top, 200GB of disk storage and more.

I was curious to see what kind of performance one could expect out of these ARM systems, so I ran a quick CPU sysbench on such a four core VM:

CPU speed:
events per second: 3354.74
General statistics:
total time: 10.0002s
total number of events: 33561
Latency (ms):
min: 0.30
avg: 0.30
max: 0.39
95th percentile: 0.30
sum: 9992.77
Threads fairness:
events (avg/stddev): 33561.0000/0.00
execution time (avg/stddev): 9.9928/0.00

The main advantage of Oracle Cloud’s free cloud VM hosting offer is its superior CPU performance compared to for instance GCP. I still find their UI inferior in some aspects, but it’s managable. At least the services have sensible names (ahem… AWS). I’m certainly not missing any basic features that I would feel are relevant for more casual users. The main limitation on the other hand will probably be the fact that these cores are ARM – meaning software compatibility won’t be as much of a given as on AMD64. Most standard workloads should run fine, but you won’t have to look hard for incompatible ones either.

Download: 1426.89 Mbit/s
Upload: 1008.72 Mbit/s

Network speed is reliably above 1 Gbit/s.

Oracle Cloud VM: Conclusion

Along with their generous free DB services which I have yet to try, Oracle is becoming an even more tempting option for users who don’t plan on paying anything – especially if you are not yet indoctrinated into the way of thinking of other cloud providers.



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One response to “Oracle Cloud free ARM VMs are easily the best deal for hobbyists”

  1. […] 2023 update: You may also be interested in this more recent look at Oracle Cloud VMs: Oracle Cloud free ARM VMs are easily the best deal for hobbyists […]

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