I first started using DigitalOcean years ago and found their cloud management tools simple and intuitive to use. Deployment and management of cloud computing images was a snap and I was very impressed with their software offerings. Not to mention they had actual FreeBSD support comprising of blog posts and custom OS images.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with DigitalOcean’s services for years. Unfortunately, that changed recently when the company announced they had decided to drop FreeBSD image support.
This was not necessarily a deal killer for me but it does present a challenge to maintain a cloud image for my minimal cloud computing needs (basically this website and a couple other minor services). I searched DigitalOcean’s Marketplace for a FreeBSD image and was unable to find anything.
So, I decided to explore other alternatives. Surprisingly, I found the Oracle Cloud offering a suitable replacement. I’ve been reading about the Oracle Cloud “always free” Ampere ARM64 compute VMs for a little while now and I was excited to try them out.
Luckily, the plucky folks at the FreeBSD Foundation have released an ARM64 image of FreeBSD 13.1 for Oracle Cloud. (As Tom Jones mentioned they would at the end of his blog post Deploying FreeBSD on Oracle Cloud)
Choosing the FreeBSD image is straightforward during instance creation and easy to spin up. Since ARM64 is now a tier 1 supported platform for FreeBSD, I was able to replicate my x86-64 cloud instances without even needing to modify my ansible playbooks! Everything just worked as expected.