As you might already know, Oracle APEX is a low-code development platform that can be used to build web-based applications. What you might not know is that APEX is a no-cost feature of the Oracle Database.
Of course, if you want to use APEX to build and deploy applications there may be other associated costs such as infrastructure and hosting (as well as, potentially, an Oracle database license if you don't already have one).
As there are many options and environments in which you can deploy an APEX instance / application and also certain licensing considerations, we thought we'd summarise some of the more popular hosting options in this blog post.
Let's explore the various hosting options for Oracle APEX, each offering its unique set of advantages and considerations:
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) with Autonomous Database
The good news about this option is, that if you're already using Autonomous Database (either ADW or ATP), you've already paid for Oracle APEX, and it's just a click away.
- Advantages: Oracle APEX seamlessly integrates with Oracle Autonomous Database on OCI. This option offers high availability, scalability, and security. Autonomous Database manages many administrative tasks, allowing you to focus on app development. The APEX environment is automatically upgraded regularly for you and the ORDS component ( the HTTPS Web Gateway for the Oracle Database) is also included and managed for you.
- Considerations: It may be costlier compared to other options, especially for smaller projects. However, it's well-suited for companies requiring enterprise-grade hosting.
- Licensing: No extra costs to that which you are already paying.
Oracle APEX Services in OCI
The APEX Cloud Service is ideal when your primary goal is to create and host web applications with minimal coding.
- Advantages: Oracle APEX Services on OCI provide a Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment tailored for APEX applications. It's a managed solution that simplifies deployment and management and, again, the APEX and ORDS environments are automatically upgraded for you
- Considerations: While it offers an excellent balance between control and managed services, costs can vary depending on usage and configurations.
- Licensing - the cost of licenses is wrapped up in the hosting service. You can explore pricing options here. https://www.oracle.com/cloud/price-list/#apex. There is also a completely FREE tier of the OCI cloud that includes APEX which you can use. It has some limitations in terms of the resources available to you but is a great option for small projects https://www.oracle.com/uk/cloud/free/
Amazon's Oracle RDS service allows the APEX component of the Oracle database to be installed as an option group.
- Advantages: RDS is a managed solution with automatic back ups and multizone availability. Disk types and sizes of instances can be easily customised, as well as the memory and chip types. Upgrades can be scheduled automatically through the option groups
- Considerations: You will still have to host the container part of APEX (ORDS) outside the RDS (this is the software that handles the connections / requests from the outside world to the APEX engine). This is usually achieved by having a small, separate VM which runs the ORDS service on something like Tomcat and potentially an Apache proxy on top that handles the certificate layer
- Licensing. You can bring your own license or have the licensing cost included as part of the hosting fee. The cost explorer for setting up an RDS instance can be found here. https://calculator.aws/#/addService/amazonRDSOracle
Other Cloud Infrastructure / On-premises Options
You can install APEX in any cloud environment or on your own on-premises servers. For example, you could have a VM on an AWS instance where you have installed the Oracle database software, APEX and a container environment to run ORDS
- Advantages: Hosting APEX in these types of environments provides complete control over your environment, making it suitable for organisations with strict compliance or security requirements or those who simply don't want to tie themselves in with a particular cloud provider
- Considerations: You'll be responsible for licensing, hardware, software installation and maintenance, as well as managing scalability. Costs may include hardware purchases and ongoing maintenance expenses.
- Licensing: You will have to source your own Oracle database license. Oracle does provide a free version of its database called Oracle XE, which includes APEX. Its major limitation is that it cannot store more than 12G data so is only an option for development environments or very small applications that store little data.
Free APEX Workspace
If you're looking to explore and evaluate APEX, this option offers an ideal solution that ticks all the boxes. With a seamless setup process, you can get started within minutes, bypassing the need for any intricate installation or configuration. What's more, you'll gain early access to upcoming APEX releases, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve and harness the latest features. And the best part? It's completely free, with no credit card required.
Dedicated Hosting Providers
Finally, it's worth mentioning that there are third-party companies specialising in providing various services for hosting APEX applications. You can access a directory of such companies within the APEX Community here.
In conclusion, Oracle APEX offers a wide range of hosting options, allowing you to select the one that best aligns with your project's requirements, budget, and level of control. The choice of hosting depends on factors such as scalability needs, budget constraints, and the degree of administrative control you require. Carefully evaluate each option to determine which one suits your specific use case and long-term goals best.
Find out more about our APEX services