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A few weeks ago Oracle announced a new tool for all Oracle cloud users including the Always Free tier. Cloud Shell provides a Linux (Oracle v7.7) environment to freely use ( (within your tenancy’s monthly limits) – no paying for VM or using your limited set of VMs (for free-tier users) or anything like that.

As you can see the Shell can be started using a new icon at the top right (highlighted).  When you open the shell for the 1st time, it takes a few moments to instantiate – and you’ll see the message at the top of the console window (also highlighted). The window provides a number of controls which allows you to expand to full screen and back again etc.

The shell comes preconfigured with a number of tools, such as Terraform with the Oracle extensions, OCI CLI, Java and Git, so linking to Developer Cloud or GitHub for example to manage your scripts etc is easy (as long as you know you GIT CLI – cheat sheet here).  The info for these can be seen in the following screenshots.

In addition to the capabilities illustrated, the Shell is set up with:

  • Python (2 and 3)
  • SQL Plus
  • kubectl
  • helm
  • maven
  • Gradle

The benefit of all of this is that you can work from pretty much any device you like. It removes the need to manage and refresh security tokens locally to run scripts.

A few things to keep in mind whilst trying to use the Shell:

  • It is access controlled through IAM, so you can of course grant or block the use of the tool. Even with access to the shell, users will need to obviously have to have access to the other services to use the shell effectively.
  • The capacity of the home folder is limited to 5GB – more than enough for executing scripts and a few CLI based tools and plugins – but that will be all.
  • If the shell goes unused for 6 months then the tenancy admin will be warned, but if not used, then the storage will be released.  You can, of course, re-activate the Shell features at a future date, but of course, it will be a blank canvas again.
  • For reasons of security access to the shell using SSH is blocked.

The shell makes for a great environment to manage and perform infrastructure development from and will be a dream for Linux hard code users.  For those who like to be lazy with a visual IDE, there are ways around it (e.g. edit in GitHub) and sync. But power users will be more than happy with vim or vi.

Oracle’s own documentation can be fiound at https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/en-us/iaas/Content/API/Concepts/cloudshellintro.htm