In the web development industry, selecting the right infrastructure is a perennial challenge faced by web agencies, startups, and companies embarking on the journey of building a web application. The decision holds significant implications for the project’s success, impacting performance, scalability, and overall user experience. This article delves into the crucial aspects of infrastructure selection and explains why we choose Digital Ocean and recommend it to our clients.
What is a web application infrastructure?
A web application infrastructure refers to the actual machines on which the app ecosystem will be hosted, computers hosting applications, databases, and file servers. An app can be hosted on-premise, which means on servers directly in the office of the company, but most often nowadays on a third-party hosting provider, allowing users to access and manage computing resources remotely, generally in their cloud. Cloud-based infrastructure is characterized by its ability to scale resources dynamically based on demand and offers advantages such as accessibility, reduced maintenance, and the ability to pay for services on a consumption basis. The most famous top 3 providers are Amazon’s AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
At Outsourcify, we worked on projects on several of these gigantic cloud providers (less Azure as we don’t use Microsoft proprietary technologies), but we now have been using Digital Ocean’s alternative for nearly 10 years, and our web developers generally prefer it for its ease of use. Our clients don’t mind either as it’s a performant and cheaper option.
How does Digital Ocean compete with other cloud providers?
DigitalOcean competes with cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure by offering a combination of simplicity, affordability, and developer-centric features. Here are some key aspects of how DigitalOcean competes:
- Simplicity and User Experience: DigitalOcean’s web interface is straightforward and user-friendly, we even share it with our clients, it is easy for developers, startups, and small to medium-sized businesses to get started with cloud services without complex setup procedures. Navigating through AWS or GCP interfaces can be more complicated with the amount of information, even for a seasoned web developer.
- Developer-Focused Features: DigitalOcean focuses on providing services and features that cater specifically to developers’ needs. This includes pre-configured Droplets, one-click application deployments, seamless integration with popular developer tools and frameworks, and a strong emphasis on supporting open-source projects.
- Pricing and Affordability: DigitalOcean positions itself as an affordable cloud provider, offering transparent and competitive pricing models. Their pricing structure is simpler compared to the more complex pricing models of AWS and GCP, making it easier for users to understand and estimate costs.
- Community and Documentation: DigitalOcean has built a developer community around its platform. They actively engage with developers through tutorials, documentation, and an extensive library of educational content. The DigitalOcean Community provides a space for users to seek assistance, share knowledge, and collaborate on projects.
- Niche Market Focus: While AWS and GCP cater to a wide range of enterprise customers and provide extensive service portfolios, DigitalOcean focuses primarily on individual developers, small teams, startups, and businesses with less complex infrastructure requirements. This targeted approach allows DigitalOcean to offer services specifically tailored to its niche market.
- Data Centers and Global Reach: DigitalOcean has strategically placed data centers worldwide to ensure low-latency access and high availability. While its data center coverage is not as extensive as AWS or GCP, it’s enough for us with data centers in Singapore (AWS and GCP don’t have data centers in Thailand either), the US, and Europe.
AWS, GCP, and Azure have extensive services and a wide range of advanced and enterprise-grade offerings, which DigitalOcean may not provide. However, DigitalOcean’s focus on simplicity, developer experience, affordability, and community engagement has made it a choice for us and our clients.
Which services do we use at Outsourcify?
Outsourcify is one of the official partners of Digital Ocean.
We use most of the services provided by DigitalOcean including:
- Droplets: Virtual private servers (VPS) called “Droplets” are the core offering of DigitalOcean. They provide scalable compute instances with various configurations and options, including different CPU, memory, storage, and networking options.
- Kubernetes: DigitalOcean provides managed Kubernetes service, known as “Kubernetes (K8s) on DigitalOcean.” It simplifies the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications using Kubernetes. It allows to use of load balancers to distribute incoming traffic across multiple Droplets, ensuring high availability and improved performance for your applications.
- Managed Databases: DigitalOcean offers managed database services for popular database engines such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Redis. These services handle automated backups, scaling, monitoring, and security, making it easier to set up and manage databases in the cloud.
- Spaces: DigitalOcean Spaces is an object storage service designed for storing and serving large amounts of unstructured data, such as images, videos, backups, and log files. It provides an Amazon S3-compatible interface for easy integration with existing tools and applications and acts as a CDN (to broadcast website files duplicating them all over the world).
- App Platform: we started using DigitalOcean’s fully managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering a few years ago and it is now at the center of the infrastructure we offer for SME or Startups web apps, and always our go-to during development. It simplifies the process of deploying, scaling, and managing applications by abstracting away the underlying infrastructure complexities. With App Platform, developers can focus on writing code and deploying their applications without worrying about server management.
Key features and capabilities of DigitalOcean’s App Platform include:
- Automatic Deployments: App Platform integrates with popular version control systems like GitHub and GitLab, allowing you to automatically deploy your applications whenever you push changes to your repository. This streamlines the deployment process and ensures your applications are always up to date.
- Build and Deployment Pipelines: App Platform supports customizable build and deployment pipelines, enabling you to define specific build steps, dependencies, and deployment configurations for your applications. This flexibility allows you to accommodate different project requirements and workflows.
- Horizontal Scaling: App Platform automatically scales your applications based on incoming traffic and resource demands. It can handle scaling both horizontally (adding more instances) and vertically (resizing instances), ensuring your applications can handle increased workloads and maintain performance.
- High Availability: App Platform deploys your applications across multiple availability zones, providing redundancy and high availability. In the event of a hardware failure or other disruptions, your applications are automatically migrated to healthy instances, minimizing downtime.
- Managed Databases Integration: App Platform integrates with DigitalOcean’s Managed Databases, allowing you to easily connect your applications to managed database instances. This simplifies the configuration and management of your application’s data layer.
- Custom Domains and SSL Certificates: You can easily assign custom domains to your applications deployed on App Platform. It also supports automatic provisioning and management of SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt, enabling secure communication with your applications.
- Metrics and Logs: App Platform provides built-in monitoring capabilities, allowing you to view real-time metrics and logs for your applications. This helps you gain insights into the performance, usage, and behavior of your deployed applications.
DigitalOcean’s App Platform offers a streamlined and user-friendly experience for deploying and managing applications, allowing our developers to quickly launch apps without the help of a DevOps team.
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