During last Oracle Open World (OOW) the general availability of the Oracle Cloud was announced.
If you want to start to deploy your Oracle Application Express (APEX) applications in the Oracle Cloud you need to subscribe for a Database Service. Here are the steps to do so.
1) Go to cloud.oracle.com and click the Database link.
2) You can subscribe for a 30-day trial service before you need to pay.
Follow the wizard; it will ask for your details (and credit card info, but it won't be charged yet)
3) Once you enter all your details, you get the confirmation of your request
4) You will also get an e-mail that confirms your trial request has been received, but that you need to wait for the activation e-mail.
5) You can already login into your dashboard at cloud.oracle.com to get an overview of your services and trial requests.
It's a week ago I subscribed for the service, but so far I didn't get an activation email yet.
I was part of the beta-group the previous months to test out the database service (fully functional). Compared to that beta, the look and feel changed of the dashboard. In order what to expect once the service is activated: the APEX version in the Database Cloud is APEX 4.1.1c, a special edition of APEX 4.1.1. The closest you can get to that release yourself in your environment (on premise) is installing APEX 4.1.1 and apply the patch that comes with the Oracle Application Express APEX Listener 2.0 (EA2). That will enabled for example Restfull Webservices.
In the Database Cloud you will also see the packaged applications, like you have in APEX 4.2 (as you can see on apex.oracle.com at the moment).
Once the Trial license expires you will need to pay for it... here are the prices as they currently stand:
You might think that it looks expensive, but I think for the S5 it's competitive to alternatives if you start to compare what you get.
The Oracle Cloud is running on Exadata (but with resource management), is fully backed-up, has an active data guard (standby) and includes the Oracle license and support. It also is fully installed (APEX, APEX Listener etc.)
To setup such a system yourself in for example the Amazon cloud (EC2 + S3), you are looking at a high cost too, and you are responsible to keep it online. The virtual machine is the responsibility of Amazon, but you need to look at the database, APEX and the webserver yourself.
During my beta testing there was one catch... some database functionalities are turned off (for now) e.g. Locator, Spatial and outgoing network services straight from the database. That basically means that for many applications we can't use the cloud just yet as we use locator intensively and send out mails from the database too. It also remains to be seen how fast Oracle will upgrade the Oracle Cloud to APEX 4.2 once that is production.
Oracle has also many other cloud services, one in particular I would be interested in: the Oracle Social Network! I had the chance to play with it (and integrate in APEX) during OOW, but I'll talk more about that in another blog post.