Using Oracle Cloud, Part 4: Creating an Arm-Based Cloud Desktop
Tom Fenton started this four-part series because he was interested in Oracle Cloud’s new ability to deliver Arm-based compute instances, but the limited “Always Free” capacity results in disappointment in the latest installment.
In the previous article and others in this series, I explained how I signed up and created an “always free” AMD virtual machine (VM) using Oracle Cloud, and then used that virtual machine to create an Apache web server which I accessed from the internet. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily Oracle was able to utilize its cloud-based resources.
This article series grew out of Oracle’s latest offering: Arm-Based Compute Instances. In this article, I’ll be using Oracle Cloud to create an Ubuntu instance to use as a virtual desktop. It will be interesting to try because the VM does not have a built-in remote console like VMware does to display a graphical desktop; instead, it will need to be fully configured using the command line.
Using a free Arm instance on Oracle Cloud is not practical. Although an “Always Free” Arm instance – with its 4 cores and 24 GB of RAM – should be powerful enough for a desktop, Oracle limits the use of an Arm instance to a maximum of 30 days, after which it will be destroyed and must be recreated.
Creation of an arming VM
The process of creating an Arm VM is similar to creating an AMD-based VM. As such, I will only address the authoring process at a high level and only include screenshots where the process differs. If you haven’t read my article on how to create a virtual machine on Oracle, I strongly suggest that you take a few minutes and read it now.
After logging into the Oracle Cloud portal, I scrolled down the page and clicked Create a VM instance.
In the wizard, I gave the instance the name OracleArmDesktop. I then extended the Image and form zone, selected VM.Standard.A1.Flex, and gave the instance 4 OCPU with 24 GB of RAM. I then chose the Ubuntu 18.04 picture.
I kept the default option to have a public IP address assigned to it because I wanted to be able to access the VM externally.
An SSH key pair was generated and I saved the private key as it is needed for SSH in the VM. If you lose this key, you will NOT be able to access your VM.
I clicked To create. Unfortunately, I received a message stating that the capacity was not available for the instance.
I clicked on “Find out more about the accommodation capacity“and I found this statement:
An “out of host capacity” error indicates a temporary lack of Always Free forms in your home region. Oracle strives to provide more capacity, although it may take several days before additional capacity becomes available in your home region. If your home region has multiple availability domains, try creating the instance in a different availability domain. If that doesn’t work, wait a while, and then try to relaunch the instance.
I tried all three domains and got the same message. For three weeks I tried to create an image, but it kept failing.
As Oracle offers $ 300 credit with each new account valid for 30 days after signing up, I was tempted to try it, but after getting burned forgetting to delete instances and incurring excessive fees on others pay-per-view payments. go to public clouds, I decided to move on.
I was impressed with how easily I was able to create and use an Arm-x64 based instance on Oracle Cloud, but I was disappointed that I couldn’t deploy a trial Arm instance because that’s what which interested me in the service in the first place.
I plan to continue checking the availability of an Arm instance on Oracle’s Always Free tier, and will report if an instance becomes available.
Tom Fenton has extensive hands-on IT experience gained over the past 25 years in various technologies, with the past 15 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He is currently working as a technical marketing manager for ControlUp. He previously worked at VMware as a Senior Course Developer, Solutions Engineer and in the Competitive Marketing group. He also worked as a senior validation engineer with the Taneja group, where he led the validation service lab and was instrumental in starting his vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He’s on Twitter @vDoppler.