preparing a desktop for PaaS

Before we can start looking at the different options of a database, we need to get a desktop ready to do database development. It sounds a little strange that we need to download software to get access to a cloud database. We could do everything from the command line but it is much simpler and easier if we can do this using desktop tools. The software that we are going to download and install are

  • To access cloud storage
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • RestClient extension for Firefox
    • Google Chrome
    • Postman extension for Chrome
    • CloudBerry for OpenStack
  • To access files in our instance
    • Putty
    • Filezilla
    • Cygwin
  • To access our database instance
    • SQL Developer
    • Microsoft Visual C++ libraries

The eventual target that we are looking to get to is

To do this we need to go to the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and look for the Windows 2012 Server instance. What we want to do is provision a Windows instance and use it as a remote desktop for connecting to the cloud. We could do this on our desktop but the benefit of using a Windows Server is that we can create more users and use this instance for a hands on workshop. We don’t need to have anyone load any virtual machines, fight the differences between Mac and Windows, or wait for the binaries to download and install. We can do most of this on a virtual machine in the cloud and just add and delete users for workshops. To provision the Windows server, we go to the cloud marketplace, select Infrastructure, and Compute. We can the search for Windows and get a bootable image to use as our foundation.

Once we agree to the legal terms we can select an instance to provision this into. The way it works is that we copy a bootable image into a cloud instance. We can then create compute instances from this bootable image and customize it to our liking. Once we agree to the terms the marketplace connects to the Oracle Cloud and uses your authentication credentials to connect to the instance. From this is gets a list of instances associated with this account, checks to see if you have agreed to terms of marketplace use for this instance by setting your profile settings for the instance. Once the bootable image is ready, a splash screen is presented stating that you are ready to provision a compute instance.

The screen dumps you into a compute creation wizard that walks you through the compute provisioning. Rather than going through that interface we decided to start from scratch and log into the instance and provision a compute engine from scratch. We first select the boot image from our private images, select the shape to boot, define the instance name, configure ssh connectivity as well as set the Admininstrator password (not shown). Once we get the confirmation screen it takes a few minutes to create the boot disk then boot the compute instance on this newly formatted disk.

We can check the progress by looking at the storage and compute instance. When everything is done we should see a public ip address for our instance. If we don’t see our instance it is either still building or we should see an error in the history. Unfortunately, the history is hidden and a failed provisioning is now shown unless you look for it by expanding the history.

Before we can connect to our instance with remote desktop, we need to define a security list to allow for rdp, associate this rule with our instance, and define the security rule for rdp and associate it with the security list and instance.

Once we have rdp enabled to our instance, we look up the public ip address and connect as the Administrator user with the password that we passed in with a json header at the bottom of the creation screen (not shown). When we log in we see the server tools splash screen pop up.

We want to create a secondary user, give this user admin rights as well as rights to remote desktop connect to the server. We might want to add more users not as admins but with remote desktop rights for hands on labs. We can add and delete users using this method and it refreshes the workshop for the next class.

At this point we can create a staging directory and install the software that we listed above. The only product that causes a problem with the install is the SQL Developer because it requires a Microsoft package that is not installed by default. We need to download the library and all of the packages that we downloaded are ready to install. I did not go through customization of the desktop or downloading the public and private keys used for the workshop. These are obvious steps using filezilla from a shared network storage on a server in the cloud. We downloaded Firefox and Chrome primarily because Internet Explorer does not support REST Api protocols and we will need a way to create and list storage containers. We could have skipped this installation and done everything through CloudBerry but we can do everything similarly on a Mac (no need for putty or cygwin). With Firefox you need to install the REST Client api extension and Chrome requires the Postman Extension.

In summary, we created a compute Windows 2012 Server instance in the Oracle Compute IaaS. We added a new user as a backup to our Administrator user. We enabled remote desktop and configured a Mac to connect to this service remotely. We then downloaded a set of binaries to our Windows desktop to allow us to manage and manipulate storage containers and database instances. We also downloaded some utilities to help us use command line tools to access our database and customize our instances. We technically could do all of this with a Windows desktop, Internet Explorer, and SQL Developer. We went to the extra steps so that we can do the same from a Mac or Windows desktop using the same tools.

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