Making Sense of Oracle Cloud OCPU’s

As a long time user and advocate of Amazon AWS services I’ve been watching the Oracle Cloud Services evolution very carefully and with a lot of interest. After all, if you’re going to run Oracle products you’d think Oracle would be able to host them for you better than anyone else right?

Whilst Oracle Cloud provides an arrange of services and infrastructure options, the service I’m most interested in is the Database as a Service (DBaaS) option. With this service I’m essentially using an Oracle Database that Oracle are hosting in one of their data-centers that I can use for pretty much any application than requires a back-end Oracle Database.

One of the first decision points (after deciding to sign-up that is!) is deciding what Instance Type you want. As a long-time Amazon AWS user I’m very familiar with the instance types that Amazon provide and I have to admit it took me a while to adjust and understand the instance types and sizes available with Oracle Cloud.

If you head to pricing page for the DBaaS service, you’ll see something similar to (prices may change – the original image is from the Oracle website)


DBaaS Cloud Pricing

Pretty simply right? But wait a moment, what is an OCPU exactly? The other thing that immediately struck me was what are different prices and different service types, for example there are Virtual Image prices:



Virtual Image Prices

there are Non-Metered services:


Non-Metered Prices

I must admit it took me a while to get my head around how they (Oracle) had structured the instance types and prices, basically it comes down to a couple of options.

  • Metered versus Non-Metered
  • Virtual Image versus DBaaS

Metered versus Non-Metered

There are no server capability differences between Metered versus Non-Metered (i.e. you can perform the same functions with both offerings). However with metered versus non-metered you are deciding whether you want to be charged on the actual usage of the service, so you can scale up and down . A Non-metered subscription is the ‘typical’ flat monthly fee for a fixed configuration, if you stopped your service half way through the month you would still be charged for the month (although you can be billed by the hour too).

Virtual Image versus “Standard DBaaS”

I struggled with the wording here, but basically with the Virtual Image you get the bare instance and it’s your responsibility to install and setup the database, you get no additional tooling (i.e. no fancy Web GUI just whatever you’re used to with the standard SQLPlus, EM interfaces etc).

With “Standard DBaaS” you are getting a machine that already has the Database installed, using a standardised installation (i.e. you can’t really customise anything during the installation as you could if you installed it yourself). You also get Glassfish, APEX Listener and some other software pre-installed as well as a GUI front-end to manage (i.e. start / stop / restart etc) the instance.

So – choose Standard DBaaS if you want a nice front-end to manage your instance, plus the convenience of not having to install it yourself. Choose Virtual Image if you want more control (and save some $$$ for not having the additional tooling).

So What about OCPUs?

Simply put OCPU’s are “Oracle CPU’s”, at the time of writing Oracle is quoted on the Pricing Page as saying –

An OCPU provides CPU capacity equivalent of one physical core of an Intel Xeon processor with hyper threading enabled. Each OCPU corresponds to two hardware execution threads, known as vCPUs.

So the prices listed are for a single OCPU (giving you two hardware threads / vCPU’s). So if you chose:

  • Standard Edition
  • Non-Metered
  • General Purpose Compute


The list price is $300 per month per OCPU. If you wanted a machine with 2 OCPU’s, multiply that figure by 2 ($600 per month) and you’ll get a machine with 4 vCPUs / threads).

In the next post we’ll talk about General Purpose versus High-Memory and the various database options available.


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