07.15.21

7 Reasons to Migrate from DigitalOcean to AWS

By Damian Velazquez Cafaro
7 Reasons to Migrate from DigitalOcean to AWS

The cloud is the future. It’s irrefutable. 90% of companies now use the cloud to host their scalable applications. Globally, 74% of IT decision-makers predict that they will shift 95% of all workloads to the cloud within five years. Accordingly, there are hundreds of cloud providers competing with its top-notch services to be leading service providers. Two of these dominant players are DigitalOcean and AWS, but for very different reasons and different markets. 

Undoubtedly, DigitalOcean provides some of the most performance-focused cloud solutions for SaaS applications and web services. However, many companies find themselves needing to migrate away from DigitalOcean to scale. Which is often where AWS comes in. AWS has a significant edge over DigitalOcean, primarily as the leading cloud provider on the global market now because it offers a complete cloud computing platform where big applications can scale without any hurdle.

DigitalOcean – Summary

DigitalOcean is a cloud provider that provides a range of products and ready-made solutions for applications with a light learning curve for those companies looking to move simply and easily onto the cloud. This model consists of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where DigitalOcean is held responsible for managing all rented servers.

This cloud provider offers a range of solutions such as Droplets, Kubernetes and Web Hosting, etc. Droplets are the most popular among all its solutions. Droplets are scalable machines that can be tailored to exact specifications.

DigitalOcean prices are always fixed based on the services and resources that you choose. Hence, its customers have excellent clarity about what they are buying at a fixed price point. However, some factors include scalability, network capacity, security, and performance, where DigitalOcean lacks behind when we compare it to AWS.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Summary

AWS offers a complete cloud computing platform where customers can host their applications with some amazing integrations and a robust partner ecosystem. AWS offers the most comprehensive blend of cloud solutions available on the market, including IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS. So, while the learning curve isn’t as immediately accessible as a provider like DigitalOcean, but for scale, there is no other platform like it on the market. 

Unlike DigitalOcean, AWS has a wholly comprehensive range of services with significant customizable options. You are also charged only based on the total resources that you use in the cloud. 

DigitalOcean currently has around 13 data centers for all its cloud services while AWS is way ahead with over 77 data centers / Availability Zones (AZs). However, AWS expanded exponentially with annual revenue of $46 billion in 2020 while DigitalOcean made only $318.4 million in the same year. 

Many big applications such as Netflix, Twitch, LinkedIn and Baidu use AWS to host all their services while some other big companies including Accenture, BlaBlaCar and GitLab still rely on DigitalOcean for its cloud services.

Quick Comparison: DigitalOcean vs. AWS

Before we take a deep dive into some major reasons to shift on AWS, here is a quick comparison of both these services:

DigitalOceanAmazon Web Services (AWS)
Limited to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) models.Offers solutions for all IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS models.
Cloud provider with limited services suitable for small to medium scale applications. These include Droplets, Managed Databases, Networking Tools or Storage space. A complete cloud platform with reliable partners to build large scalable applications using a range of products including integrated products, analytics, business products, business apps, financial products and blockchain integration. A complete list can be found on AWS Products page.
Costs are fixed based on the services that you choose.Costs are dependent on the cloud resources utilized by the customer.
You can use cPanel, Plesk, CyberPanel etc. You can use any control panel, including cPanel and custom AWS Marketplace solutions.

Here are a few key differences between the two services. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s the best time to move from DigitalOcean to AWS. Here are a few reasons:

Reason #1: Cost Management

Normally, DigitalOcean has fixed costs for its offered solutions. The costs for optimized droplets start from $40 and the provider goes all the way up to thousands of dollars based on the size of its application, and companies that host these applications are often unable to utilize the full resources paid for. Hence, it becomes difficult to manage all costs while considering the current scale of your application.

AWS is free of this complication, and the platform lets you only pay for the resources that your application used during a certain period. Hence, you are in control of all cloud costs. If you want to calculate your estimated cloud costs with AWS, use this Amazon Services Cost Calculator for a rough estimate. For more on cost management with AWS, check out our article; Optimizing AWS Architecture for Cost Management.

Reason #2: Scalability

AWS utilizes AutoScaling to steadily keep up with the required resources for your application. It allows you to minimize costs while minimizing or maximizing the service capacity. Also, large applications can scale without any barriers or limits. Hence, customers enjoy a completely scalable model that is not entirely available in DigitalOcean. However, DigitalOcean customers are still allowed to create tailored droplets based on its customer needs but its resources are fixed.

All your resources are regularly monitored to readily cover any resource gaps whenever application workload increases. AWS offers a range of tools for scaling, such as AWS Management Console, Command Line Interface (CLI), or SDK. Also, the AWS Auto Scaling tool is available for free. 

Reason #3: Global Networking Capacity

AWS continues to expand globally with the largest global infrastructure in the world. The platform is continually expanding its cloud services to almost every region to expand its footprint even further. This large infrastructure helps AWS to deliver its services all across the globe without any downtime. 

In comparison, DigitalOcean is limited to its 13 Data Centers. Therefore, DigitalOcean’s infrastructure is not as strong as AWS. Availability Zones (AZs) are available globally to operate. Currently, its network has a total of 77 AZs that are continuously expanding at a fast pace. 

AZs are extremely useful when it comes to application partitioning. In this way, companies never face any cloud downtime caused by lightning strikes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. However, with limited data center locations, DigitalOcean’s partitioning is not as effective as AWS. 

Reason #4: Security

AWS has an entire infrastructure setup dedicated to cloud security, and Security is also a top Pillar in Amazon’s Well-Architected Framework. Customers have complete control of its data along with its resources and access privileges. Also, AWS offers various integrated services that companies use to automate its security operations. 

For more on AWS’ Well-Architected Framework, check out our article here.

DigitalOcean collaborates with third-parties to protect data centers by maintaining access control, including video surveillance, access lists, security, and exit procedures. Also, AWS partnered with various security solution providers to create a secure ecosystem where companies can integrate various tools for threat detection and elimination before any malicious act.

All data moving out of the AWS data centers is first encrypted at the physical layer to ensure the protection and data privacy of the companies. However, DigitalOcean shares responsibilities with its customers to ensure the complete protection of services. 

Reason #5: Reliability and Resources

AWS ensures the management of resources using managed AWS services such as Amazon S3 and Auto Scaling. Also, customers are allowed to use any third-party tools they want. Moreover, the third Reliability Pillar makes the resource management pretty reliable with regular backups and fault isolation to protect workload.

DigitalOcean uses Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) to ensure the reliability of its droplet servers. These virtual machines run on performance-oriented virtualized hardware with standalone servers.

Above all, detailed analysis is performed in AWS to investigate failures. Scaling and performance requirements are also assessed using various tests and tools.

Reason #6: System Performance

Unlike DigitalOcean or other cloud providers, AWS keeps a balance between computer resources while maximizing efficiency. Its Performance Efficiency Pillar in the Well-Architected framework is based on a few design principles such as the democratization of advanced technologies, global deployment of workload in various regions and serverless architectures, etc. 

AWS ensures the use of best practices to increase system performance. There are many integrated services and solutions available inside this ecosystem that optimize the overall performance of the infrastructure.

Reason #7: Future Business Development Capabilities

Amazon Web Services are expanding at a fast pace. The platform keeps introducing new productions and solutions, including compute, storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile, developer tools, management tools, IoT, security, and enterprise applications.

As for DigitalOcean, it started with only two datacenters back in 2012. Now the provider has expanded to over 13 data centers worldwide. This growth is certainly a lot slower than AWS but still, the platform is also expanding its services globally to facilitate businesses.

All AWS products and solutions offer a complete business development environment where businesses can stick to one service provider for all its cloud operations. Also, the costs are comparatively low compared to other providers, and performance is fast with scalability features.

AWS is growing fast, and more businesses are moving to the cloud after the pandemic to continue its business operations. Also, AWS equally facilitates small to large-scale businesses with tailored solutions at the lowest costs. 

Bottom Line

DigitalOcean’s cloud services may seem cheaper due to its fixed prices on customized solutions. However, for customers with an eye on the future, the growth opportunities on DigitalOcean are limited in comparison to AWS. So, while DigitalOcean is comparatively cheaper and has a more accessible initial learning curve, AWS is more recommended for scalable applications and exponential growth.


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