Five Reasons Why Developers Love DigitalOcean?
DigitalOcean may be much younger and smaller than the industry giants with deep pockets. But, it is giving them a run for their money. In less than five years, this New York-based startup has become the most popular cloud hosting company among developers. Back in December 2013, Netcraft reported that DigitalOcean surpassed Amazon to become the fastest growing cloud provider. This was certainly not an easy feat for a startup which was barely two years old. Netcraft’s recent report claimed that DigitalOcean officially became the second-largest hosting company in the world. It’s in an enviable position that many infrastructure companies would want to be in.
I first encountered DigitalOcean in 2012 through one of its aggressive campaigns in social media. A few friends spoke great things about it, and I finally decided to give it a shot. After running the development and test environments, I was left thoroughly impressed. So, what’s the secret sauce behind DigitalOcean? Why do developers prefer it?
Here are five reasons to consider DigitalOcean:
1) Simple UI and Minimalistic Approach
The consoles of popular cloud providers, make you feel you are in a Boeing 747 cockpit. There are way too many knobs, dials, switches, and levers to deal with. AWS Management Console was simple at one point. Along with the growing number of services and features, it has become too bloated and sluggish. Azure’s management portal chose eye candy over functionality. It mimic’s the touch interface of apps typically seen in tablets. Google Developer Console is better than the two, but it can be simplified further.
DigitalOcean’s user interface is super simple and minimalistic. There are just enough links and buttons that give you access to the available functionality. This doesn’t mean the platform lacks functionality. It does have everything it takes to deploy and manage scalable web applications. Competitors may counter this argument by saying it is not enterprise-ready. But DigitalOcean is a robust platform for running mainstream open source workloads. It may not be supporting features like VPN and peering but offers enough capabilities that developers expect. I know many web and digital agencies that are recommending DigitalOcean for hosting public websites to their clients.
For automation and integration with 3rd party tools, DigitalOcean exposes simple and minimalistic API. Once an API token is generated, developers can use standard HTTP tools including curl to invoke the API. From the latest Go lang to classic PHP, the platform offers native SDKs and libraries that developer expect.
2) Features & Performance
DigitalOcean’s simplicity doesn’t come at the cost of performance. It was one of the first in the industry to offer SSD-based virtual machines. It offered IPV6 much before the mature cloud providers started talking about it. The droplets – a moniker that DigitialOcean uses for its VMs – have the best boot times. The only IaaS that comes close to it is Google Compute Engine. It boasts of provisioning the droplets at a lightening speed of 55 seconds. The cloud servers are built on powerful Hex core machines with dedicated ECC Ram and RAID SSD storage. In select regions, it offers private networking among the VMs for running database clusters and distributed systems.
DigitalOcean has a decent footprint with over 6 data centers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
3) Comprehensive Documentation
Personally, I am a huge fan of DigitalOcean’s documentation section. It is one of the most complete and extensive collection of tutorials, how-to guides and walkthroughs.
From setting up a simple LAMP stack to deploying complex Kubernetes cluster, DigitalOcean’s documentation covers it all. The best thing about it is that the tutorials are useful for developers working on any cloud platform. Next time, when you want to learn a cutting edge open source technology, do check out DigitalOcean’s documentation.
The secret behind the rich documentation is the unique approach of crowdsourcing the content. DigitalOcean wants the community to drive the documentation efforts. Though many companies outsource the documentation to technical writers and professional agencies, DigitalOcean is more transparent with it. It has a section on its website inviting subject matter experts to contribute to the documentation. The compensation ranges from $50 to $200 based on the depth of the content.
4) Affordable Pricing
DigitalOcean wins hands down in the pricing structure section. With $5 a month, it’s not only the most affordable but also has a simple structure to understand. There are no complex calculators that quiz you to guess your usage. Developers can get started for as low as $5. The choice of hourly and monthly payment makes it more affordable and predictable for early stage startups. In reality, all droplets are billed hourly, up until a monthly cap which means, there will be no surprises in your credit card statement.
5) Community & Ecosystem Support
DigitalOcean has an enormous community around it. From contributing to the documentation and responding to the queries in the forum, community plays a significant role in its success.
It is one of the first platforms to get cutting-edge technology support. You can launch anything from CoreOS to the latest version of Docker Swarm on DigitalOcean. Docker Machine supports launching pre-configured Docker hosts on it while Vagrant, Packer and Atlas from HashiCorp support DigitalOcean. Bitnami, the open source marketplace has over 100 appliances ready to be launched on DigitalOcean.