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AWS, Azure and Google continue to dominate the public cloud market. As cloud computing matures and changes, however, some organizations will consider other options.
Smaller-scale or more niche cloud providers can be just as reliable as their hyperscale competitors, and they could prove more straightforward and potentially less expensive to use. In addition, these smaller-scale providers can support cloud redundancy, serving as a back-up target for workloads that run on a hyperscale platform.
DigitalOcean and Vultr are two cloud providers that fall into this category. To choose between the two, consider differences in compute, storage, scalability and Kubernetes support.
DigitalOcean vs. Vultr: The basics
Consider Vultr and DigitalOcean a virtual private server (VPS), offering VMs on demand. This eliminates the need for an organization to have to host a server locally, deploy virtualization software and then manage that environment.
Vultr's primary user base is cloud engineers looking for a lab environment. An example of Vultr's user interface is shown in Figure 1.
DigitalOcean is targeted at developers, who use the platform as a scalable lab environment, as well as cloud engineers. An example of DigitalOcean's interface is shown in Figure 2.
From a VM and server perspective, Vultr and DigitalOcean offer similar server sizes and instance types.
DigitalOcean offers a range of Linux-based VMs, called Droplets. Users can choose between Droplets with a shared or dedicated CPU. The platform also offers Droplets that are CPU-, memory- and storage-optimized. In addition, DigitalOcean provides a PaaS offering called App Platform.
Vultr, for its part, also offers a range of cloud instance compute options, which can be based on a number of Linux OSes or Windows. For example, its high-frequency compute instances are specifically designed to support applications with high performance demands. In addition, Vultr offers single-tenant, bare-metal servers, as well as dedicated cloud instances to avoid the issue of noisy neighbors.
Vultr prices for basic compute instances range from $0.004 to $0.952 per hour, depending on the instance size. DigitalOcean prices for basic Droplets range from $0.00893 to $0.14286 per hour, again, depending on the size.
Neither DigitalOcean nor Vultr offers native serverless computing options.
Availability and scalability
Global availability and redundancy are key considerations when choosing a cloud provider. As of early 2022, Vultr had 22 data centers across North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. DigitalOcean had 13 data centers, spanning North America, Europe and Asia.
Both platforms offer cloud load balancers to ensure workload scalability. All load balancers are configured with SSL certifications. Alternatively, both platforms enable users to bring their own SSL certifications to ensure secure traffic across the environment.
The storage options for Vultr and DigitalOcean are comparable. Both providers offer object and block storage services.
Vultr and DigitalOcean block storage enables users to mount SSD-based volumes that are needed for high-performance applications. Vultr supports volume sizes up to 10,000 GB, while DigitalOcean supports volume sizes up to 16,000 GB.
Both of the object storage services from Vultr and DigitalOcean can be integrated with AWS S3. Vultr's object storage service supports up to 1,000 GB with 1 TB of bandwidth, while DigitalOcean's service supports 250 GB and 1 TB of bandwidth.
Whether using Vultr, DigitalOcean or any other cloud provider, ensure the storage type you hope to use is available in the data center in which your workloads run.
DigitalOcean's Managed Kubernetes service is comparable to Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) or Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). It enables users to run Kubernetes without having to create an on-premises cluster or create VMs in another cloud to host Kubernetes. The service starts at $10 per month for a single-node Kubernetes cluster.
Vultr, for its part, offers Vultr Kubernetes Service, which is still in beta as of publication. Like DigitalOcean's offering, it eliminates the need to manage your own Kubernetes infrastructure. To run three nodes, it costs around $30 per month.
When you reach the cluster page inside of the Kubernetes service in Vultr, download the Kubernetes configuration. This enables users to interact with Kubernetes at the API or programmatic level to deploy containerized applications and services.
Uptime and user support
Vultr, per its SLA, offers customers a credit whenever it can't meet its pledge of 100% uptime. DigitalOcean offers 99.99% uptime, and also offers a credit if it does not meet that uptime pledge.
Vultr offers support via email and tickets as well as an active forum for FAQs. DigitalOcean has 24/7 support via email or tickets, and also has a Q&A forum where users can pose questions to the broader user community.