Pretty much immediately after I read the announcement that the Oracle Exadata Express service was available in Europe I decided to sign up to test it out.
Looking at the 3 options available (Exadata Express – X20, X50 and X50IM), I decided to go for the X20 option – primarily because I was interested how you connect to these instances, rather than.
After looking at the pricing options, I noticed a couple of points that jumped out at me.
Firstly you get 1 PDB, no mention of an option to purchase additional ones (I’m guessing you would need to sign up for a new instance rather than being able to clone an existing PDB for Dev / Test / Prod etc).
Secondly it has APEX already installed, which is obviously great if you want to get up and running with APEX right away.
Ok, so let’s go through the signup process and see how smooth it is…..!
After clicking the “Buy Now” button, I’m redirected to the Oracle Store (which if you didn’t notice is an APEX application!).
Clicking on the X20 option let’s me, choose whether I want to be billed –
- 1 Year
- 2 year
- 3 Year
I must admit, I was slightly confused at this stage what the benefit of going for 1-Year or 2-Year etc versus Month-to-Month was. I didn’t seem to get a discount for going multi-year and in terms of flexibility for the same cost I could sign up month-to-month and cancel whenever I wanted to (please feel free to point out if I’m being dumb here, but I think they could highlight the differences clearer).
Then it’s a simple matter of Adding my choice to the cart, hitting checkout and paying for it (nope I’m not going to show you that bit, too many personal details on that page!).
All in all, I was pretty impressed – not too many clicks to sign up. I do have to say that I still find the Oracle Cloud payment / invoicing aspect slightly disconnected versus say Amazon. In Amazon AWS they already have my payment details – I just launch a new instance and get billed for it. Whereas with Oracle Cloud, I need to go through paying for each new instance before I can launch a new one (so in essence I’m paying to increase my quota for a specific service type). It might sound like a small quirk, but part of the real ‘wow’ factor of Amazon is the immediacy of being able to spin up an instance on demand quickly. Oh well…I’m sure there’s reasons for doing it this way.
So, after I sign up it tells me that I’ll receive an email once my service is available and that I can keep checking on progress via my Orders.
So, I wait…
About 2 1/2 hours (150 minutes!) later (I lost track of time but it was roughly then), I receive an email –
Note – I’ve omitted the majority of the email since it contains a lot of details on my service URL, CSI etc.
Again, not to gripe too much but 2.5 hours seems WAY too long to wait. As a frequent Presenter at Conferences it would be nice to walk through showing how easy Exadata Express is to setup, but I’m not sure the attendees would wait 2.5 hours for my email confirmation to come through.
Either there’s an element of human interaction going on here (why? Surely all this can be automated), or Oracle is so inundated with people signing up for the service that I ended up at the end of a very long queue. Either way I really do hope this signup time decreases in future or I predict people getting frustrated waiting for the mail to come through.
So that’s it, I now have access to an Exadata Express instance to play with. In the next blog post I’ll go through setting it up and accessing it.