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Overview of Performance Upgrades to Spaces Object Storage and Volumes Block Storage

Posted: November 16, 20225 min read

At DigitalOcean, we are committed to addressing the growing storage needs of businesses and are constantly working to make our storage products better so they can address the ever-increasing needs of our customers’ applications. Today we are happy to announce that the performance of our Volumes Block Storage has been increased by 50% and the performance of our Spaces Object Storage has been increased by 100%. In this blog, we’ll dive into the specifics and provide you with some details on how this change can help address the growing needs of businesses that thrive on our platform.

Overview of Block Storage and Object Storage

Block storage can be thought of as individual hard drives added to a server. Block storage solutions are provided over the network and are flexible and can be useful for many applications. DigitalOcean’s Volumes is a high-performance block storage service that allows users to easily increase the storage capacity of Droplets independently of CPU and memory. Volumes is attached storage that’s separate from the Droplet-native storage, allowing users to increase storage capacity without paying for a larger Droplet. Volumes is great for demanding applications such as distributed web applications, hosting databases, and storing web and log files, which all need low latency, high throughput and high IOPS. You can add Volumes to new or existing Droplets and can be detached and reattached to other Droplets at any time.

Object storage is the storage and retrieval of unstructured blobs of data and metadata using an HTTP API. Instead of breaking files down into blocks to store it on disk using a filesystem, Object storage deals with whole objects stored over the network. These objects could be an image file, logs, HTML files, or any self-contained blob of bytes. They are unstructured because there is no specific schema or format they need to follow. Object storage is useful for hosting static assets, saving user-generated content such as sound files, images and movies, and storing log and backup files. DigitalOcean’s Spaces is a high-performance S3-compatible object storage with a built-in Content Delivery Network (CDN) that makes data storage and delivery easy, reliable and affordable.

Performance Enhancements for Volumes Block Storage

Although there are a variety of metrics to evaluate performance of Block Storage devices, there are two metrics that can be used as a starting point—Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) and Throughput. A single read or write operation is considered as an IO operation. Higher values of IOPS correlates with higher performance of the storage device. Throughput measures the amount of data transferred to and from the storage device per second. Over the past few months, our teams at DigitalOcean have worked on improving the performance of Volumes, and we are excited to announce that Volumes Block Storage is now capable of supporting a max IOPS of 10,000 (burst 15,000) and a max throughput of 450 MBps (burst 525 MBps). The performance of Volumes is dependent on the Droplet it is attached to and the table below provides more details:

volumes table

Volumes Block Storage is designed to increase IOPS and Throughput to absorb temporary spikes in traffic (burst mode). To learn more about the performance of Volumes in burst mode, check out the product docs.

All new Volumes will be provisioned on NVMe drives so users can experience superb performance*. The latency of NVMe drives is low compared to SSD and traditional HDD. Latency is defined as the time it takes for an I/O request to be completed, so the lower the latency numbers, the better the performance. Based on some internal performance testing, we found the latency for 99% of requests (P99) to Volumes (as measured from a Droplet) is ~1.1ms

*Except in BLR and TOR regions - which will have NVMe hardware before the end of 2022

Performance Enhancements for Spaces Object Storage

Data stored in an Object Storage system (Spaces) is accessed via HTTP-based APIs anywhere from the Internet. These APIs use HTTP commands such as PUT, GET, and DELETE. Each command is called a “Request” and the Requests Per Second metric tells you how many such requests can be handled by the storage system in a second. Some providers use the terms Request, Queries or Transactions interchangeably but they all mean the same. For Spaces Object Storage, we are pleased to announce that the Requests per Second (RPS) performance metric has now been doubled, which will certainly result in great performance. The table below shows the new performance numbers:

table 2

Top Use Cases for Volumes and Spaces

There are many use cases for Volumes as it is a great option for storing files such as website files, log files, backups and hosting databases that need to quickly serve the demanding needs of high traffic applications. The high performance of Volumes ensures that block storage will no longer be a performance bottleneck for your applications - issues that may cause your websites to run slowly or cause applications to fail due to lagging storage speeds. If you are training machine learning models or working with big data, these new performance improvements should enable you to reduce the time required for developing models or for analyzing large volumes of data. In some cases, the performance provided by Volumes is also adequate for many distributed web applications such as for creation of “Proof of Stake” nodes in blockchain applications.

There are multiple use cases for Spaces Object Storage, and it is typically a great match for applications that have “read many, write few requests”. The common ones include storing static files, file sharing applications, and storing and delivering media assets for video streaming applications. The new performance updates for Spaces will result in overall reduction in time required for serving streaming media or large files and avoid buffering issues caused by slow storage devices.

Volumes and Spaces Pricing

DigitalOcean provides Volumes block storage and Spaces object storage that’s simple to use and with predictable pricing. Pricing for Spaces remains the same starting at $5 per month, including 250 GiB of data storage and a built-in CDN for no extra cost. Additional storage is charged at only 2 cents per GiB. Pricing for Volumes also remains the same starting at $0.10 per GiB per month or $10 for 100GiB. With DigitalOcean’s industry-leading bandwidth pricing and flat bandwidth overage of $0.01 per GiB, you can easily estimate your monthly bills. With DigitalOcean, you get flat and transparent pricing that does not vary with location, no layered pricing models, no contracts, and no hidden surprises.

Sign up for a DigitalOcean account today to get started.

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