Today is the best time for pursuing your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure certification!

There is nothing like experience. Having been there and having done that is the best benefit that one can offer to those who require our services, the knowhow. Cloud, specifically Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is a skill that is in high demand. One way to validate the gained experience is via a certification from your IaaS provider of choice. You are reading this blog post on Red Thunder, which means that Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) is your vendor of choice!

A certification is also a great way to start gaining experience, and the good news is that there is no better time for earning OCI certifications than today because for the rest of 2021 you can pursuit and earn OCI certifications for free!!! Not only can you secure a free 30 day trial on OCI (including always free resources), but also you can study all the OCI learning material free of charge. Oracle and Oracle University have released all the learning material that serves as a guide to OCI certifications, in addition to free OCI training, OCI certification testing is also free until 31 December, 2021

These are the some of the OCI certifications that you can pursuit and earn free of charge:

Summarizing, the learning material from Oracle University is free of charge, the certification testing is also free until 31 December, 2021. You can subscribe to a free 30 day Oracle Cloud Infrastructure trial, which you can use for doing OCI labs, and you can keep the always free resources for life; resources such as Compute, Virtual Cloud Network, Autonomous Database, Network Load Balancer, among others. Therefore, whether you are new to OCI or already have hands-on experience today is the best time for pursuing your OCI certification.

To learn more, visit the Free OCI Certification Promotion page.

#BuildWithAI 2021 – Another Step

Last weekend (from Friday 29th Oct to Tuesday 2nd Nov), was the #BuildWithAI Hackathon 2021 where participants, mentors, sponsors and organisers gathered together to solve real world challenges with AI. This event does not standalone. In a world full of change, this (from my perspective) started last year in the #BuildWithAI Hackathon 2020 and continued to build.

This article is about the event but the event itself is just “Another Step”.

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AWR Data Warehouse Repository using Autonomous Database

In Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) there is the ability to host an AWR Data Warehouse which enables you consolidate all your detailed performance data of all your database and store in a central location.

This enables you to do long-term analysis trend across your AWR data to determine, performance, capacity impact on the databases in your IT estate.

In OEM 13.5, Oracle now supports the AWR Warehouse repository for Autonomous Data Warehouse.

If you don’t have the infrastructure or capacity to store AWR data on-premise, you can now send your data to the Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) in Oracle Cloud (OCI).

There are enormous benefits to using Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW). One of many benefits is that you can scale up/down cpu and storage whilst the database remains online.

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Field Level Encryption with Oracle Integration and OCI Vault

Integration platforms are often required to handle confidential information such as personal details, payment information or other data protected by compliance and regulatory standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, PII and PCI.

Various methods exist to protect data from unauthorized access while data is in transit and at rest. These approaches typically encrypt the entire payload. As a complementary approach Field Level Encryption has an important role to play by ensuring that only appropriately configured clients can read sensitive data fields. This approach also allows clients without the encryption keys to work with the non-sensitive data which would be impossible to do with a fully encrypted payload.

Although Field Level Encryption (FLE) is not natively supported in Oracle Integration (OIC) today, this blog will explore several options that will allow you to implement FLE with OIC. In this blog, I will present these options, discuss some guiding principles and showcase some sample implementations.

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Discover Autonomous Database in Enterprise Manager (EM)


In Enterprise Manager (EM) release 13.4 and 13.5, the Autonomous Database can be discovered as a target along with your other target databases on-premise deployments.

In this post I will share with you on how easily you can discover your Autonomous Database.

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#DaysOfArm (15 of X)

This is my 15th #DaysOfArm article that tracks some of the experiences that I’ve had so far. It’s been a little while since I’ve worked on this series however saying that … much of what I’ve been doing didn’t seem different from any other type of environment.

And just to recap from the first post (here) on June 12 2021.

It’s been just over 2 weeks since the launch of Ampere Arm deployed in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). Check this article out to learn more (here). And it’s been about one week since I started looking into the new architecture and deployment, since I started provisioning the VM.Standard.A1.Flex Compute Shape on OCI and since I started migrating a specific application that has many different variations to it to test it all out.

This is my next learning where I looked into Let’s Encrypt to create a set of free certificates for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure A1.Flex VM Instances.

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Process Excel files with OIC + Oracle Functions

In this blog post I will explore how we can extend the native capabilities of Oracle Integration (OIC) with Oracle Functions to process Excel files.

Although OIC can handle a number of file formats natively, .xlsx or .xls files need a bit of extra love.

The inspiration for this blog comes of the back of several customer enquiries into this subject.

The simple solution for most customers is to convert the Excel file formats to CSV and subsequently process them with OIC. I will use this approach here too but with a little bit of help from other OCI services such as Oracle Functions, an API Gateway and Object Storage.

A video of this demo is available here.

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C# Serverless on OCI

I had a meeting the other day with an Oracle Partner and the discussion was about serverless solutions and Oracle Functions was introduced. And the natural question to ask was, “What is your preferred language?”.

They answered, “Mostly PHP. We also use C#”.

I had to think a little. And navigating to the fnproject.io (the open-source project that Oracle Functions is based upon), it was clear that C# was supported. Here’s a quick tour through that experience.

fnproject.io supported languages – golang, Java, javascript, python, ruby and C#.

A couple of quick points:

  • I didn’t need to install ASP.Net anywhere.
  • I’m not bound by Windows as the host operating system.

And if ASP.Net is your language of choice, you can also check out Deploy highly available ASP.Net applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in the Oracle Architecture Center (here).

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Connect your OCI resources to other Clouds with Libreswan

IPSec VPN view from the OCI Network Visualizer

In today’s world, the norm for videos is that they should be short in length, even if they are instructional videos. They cite the short attention span of the targeted audience…. And I do agree to some extent. However, in tech there are many occasions that  require a longer length so they can properly address all the details of the topic at hand. Back in March 2021, I recorded myself for the purpose of demonstrating how to configure to completion an Inter-Cloud VPN connection using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) native IPSec VPN tunnel against a Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) with LibreSwan on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instance. The video is nearly 30 minutes long! Only the truly committed will follow along, which is the intention.  

I used official OCI documentation as a basis. Basically I explain every single step on this document while I perform them on both OCI and AWS consoles.

This is the link to this document:

https://docs.oracle.com/en-us/iaas/Content/Network/Concepts/libreswan.htm

Even though in the video I present myself as an Oracle employee, which I proudly am, the video and this post are NOT official Oracle documents. Any opinion is my own and only my own.

I hope that you find this step-by-step video helpful. This is the link to it:

P.S. The reason why I am using a non-RFC1918 CIDR prefix is because I am strictly following the steps in the guide.

Monitoring External Oracle Database in OCI


The  OCI Observability & Management (O&M) platform gives you the ability to also manage your Oracle Database targets that reside on-premise or hosted on an external platform to OCI.

In order to deploy this, please ensure you have met the prerequisites:

  • Install the O&M Management Agent
  • Enable the Services for Agent Plugin :
    1. DB Management
      –  lifecycle database management capabilities for monitoring, performance management, tuning, and administration
    2. Operations Insights
      – analyze and forecast database performance and resource consumption

There are 2 Types of Deployments are available that can be Registered as External Databases

  • Option 1: Multitenant Architecture – Register Container Databases (CDB) and Pluggable Databases (PDB)
  • Option 2: Non-Multitenant Architecture – Register Non-Container Database (NCDB)

In this example we will show you how to register for:

Option 1: External Databases for the Multitenant Architecture.

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