My brother and I spun up a beast of a Minecraft server for free using Oracle Cloud.
I’m a gamer dad, like my brother Russell. I’m also a dev, so when a colleague tipped me off to Oracle Cloud’s generous free plan and the fact that their staff actively encourage you to run Minecraft on it I knew I had a Christmas break project on my hands.
Despite not intending to pay Oracle anything for their services on this project, their signup requires payment details. I’m OK with that but, for whatever reason, Oracle Cloud didn’t like any of my cards. This is apparently a common problem. I eventually gave up and asked Russell to try one of his and that worked a charm 🤷.
What more could make this project seem like work than introducing kanban?
To cut a long Trello short, we got everything working and it hummed along for the rest of the summer (aside from a couple of random, unexplained Oracle Cloud outages). Our kids joined and invited a few friends. Worlds got created, players explored the lands and builds came to life. I started telling people that this Oracle option may be feasible longer term.
Then, bang on three months after we signed up, the instance stopped. It turns out that stopping everything is a normal thing that Oracle do at the end of the “trial” period, even for resources that are “always free”. If you still want instances, you are allowed to start new ones up. Sure, let’s do it. I went through the process as normal.
Uh oh. Maybe this was temporary? I tried a few more times with no luck. I came back a few days later and still hit this roadblock. Reddit confirmed that this is common with free allocations: occasionally your region has no availability and it can take days/weeks to resolve!
I started running adaptations of the button clicking scripts from Reddit threads on and off for the next few days. After about a week, I gave up 😞
About a month later, someone I’d talked to about the setup was trying it for themselves. They’d read something about Oracle taking back idle resources on free tiers to provide availability to others. They got availability straight away! I gave it a go and had immediate success too. The server lives!