We are new to Digital Ocean and like what we see so far. My colleague who has more experience of cloud hosting posed the following question:

One thing that is not clear to me about Digital Ocean (and I’ve not yet looked hard at their documentation) is how reliable/robust they believe the “droplets” are … I’m wondering about this because the Amazon EC2 model is that the individual server instances should be regarded as inherently unreliable and you should architect the system to be able to handle unexpected termination of an instance at any time. Does the same thing apply to Digital Ocean?

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DigitalOcean’s servers (“droplets”) seem to be very reliable. It’s also worth noting that EC2 servers are quite reliable, though EC2 will occasionally tell you that you need to stop and restart your server (“instance”) because the hardware is being retired. The impression people have about EC2 being for systems built around the inherent unreliability of servers and data on those servers seems to come from the early days of EC2 when they didn’t have servers with persistent disks available, so all data on a server was what they call ephemeral. That hasn’t been the case for many years.

All that said, unless you need the complexity of EC2, I strongly recommend using DigitalOcean. My company sees customers using both and by far the users on DigitalOcean are happier and have less problems. Our customers are developers, not sysadmins. As developers, when they try to use EC2 because someone told them it was better, they end up mired in complexity that ultimately results in downtime and sometimes data loss due to their own mistakes. So, I can never recommend EC2. If someone needs to be using EC2 and all of the complexity that comes with it, they’d already know it and would never have considered DigitalOcean.

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