Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a popular low code platform for developing database-driven web applications. When previously wanting to operate such applications in the Oracle Cloud, there were two real alternatives. On the one hand Autonomous Database Service or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with a manually installed and maintained database, and on the other hand APEX. Oracle has also been offering an Oracle APEX Cloud Service since the beginning of the year. In the following, I want to examine who it is suited for and what advantages and disadvantages it involves.
Oracle APEX Cloud Service, what’s included?
Oracle APEX Cloud Service consists of a database instance, similar to the Autonomous Database, which is completely managed by Oracle, as well as an APEX installation with a preconfigured Oracle Rest Data Service (ORDS). Billing – as is customary for databases in the cloud – takes place according to OCPUs and terabyte of data, not according to users, developer or the like. The database is accessed via SQL Developer Web, APEX or – after its implementation – REST service. With the SQL Developer Web, you can run SQL queries and scripts, create and modify database objects controlled by wizards, and generate database models. Thanks to the preconfigured ORDS, it is possible to provide REST services and read and manipulate data from the database.
What’s the difference to Autonomous Database Service?
Compared to the Autonomous Database Service, the Oracle APEX Service does not allow a connection to the database via JDBC, which means clients such as Oracle’s SQL Developer cannot be used. This means that interfaces that do not communicate with the database via REST cannot be created with APEX Cloud Service. If they are needed, the Oracle APEX Cloud Service can be upgraded to a ‘full’ Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Database with one click (of course, this also increases costs). Moreover, the two cloud services are very similar. Both cloud services are completely maintained by Oracle and updates are carried out automatically.
What’s the difference to Oracle Infrastructure Cloud Service
Here the difference is more significant. In addition to the missing pre-configuration of Oracle APEX and ORDS, all patches must also be installed manually for the OCI variant. This therefore always requires a database administrator. In comparison, the Autonomous Database as well as the Oracle APEX service are maintained by Oracle itself and updated when updates are pending. With the OCI variant, it is possible – in contrast to the APEX service – to connect to the database itself via JDBC as well as to the database host via SSH. However, SQL Developer Web support is not available out of the box and needs to be installed subsequently.
If you are looking for an easy and cost-effective way to enter the Oracle Cloud with APEX, the Oracle APEX Service is exactly the right choice. After all, you can get started quickly and without further ado. Likewise, this cloud service makes it possible to run applications with more than 500 users. And if the REST interface and Oracle SQL Developer Web are no longer sufficient, you can easily upgrade to a ‘full’ Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Database.