For most of its existence, DigitalOcean has provided a cloud service that specifically served the needs of individual developers. Aiming for the first time to sign up corporate accounts in the form of small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), DigitalOcean has announced that it is making available block storage in the form of solid-state disks (SSDs) at a cost of ten cents per gigabyte per month.
Mitch Wainer, co-founder and head of marketing for DigitalOcean, says that rather than having to employ a separate cloud for storage, DigitalOcean is now providing both compute and storage resources as a service. Those services can either be invoked via a common control panel or a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that DigitalOcean exposes. Organizations can attach anywhere from one to 16GB per “droplet.” A droplet is a unit of compute on the DigitalOcean platform.
Since launching in 2011, DigitalOcean claims to have signed up 700,000 customers, the vast majority of whom are individual developers. By providing a higher level of service in the SMB space, Wainer says, DigitalOcean expects to increase that base among customers that typically need more hand holding than what an Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft is willing to provide.
While AWS, Microsoft and, to a lesser degree Google, tend to dominate the cloud computing landscape these days, there are still hundreds of cloud service alternatives. The challenge many of these organizations face is being able to balance having enough scale to be price competitive, while still differentiating themselves in terms of service. Conversely, the challenge IT organizations face is figuring out to what degree they value that service versus trying to navigate an increasingly bewildering array of APIs in the cloud on their own.
If history is any guide, the smaller the organization, the more critically important that higher level of service is going to become.