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Linode was out of the picture fast, as they do not provide per hour pricing.

I thought that Linode is competitively priced - is that a wrong assumption? (What is the pricing of Amazon's EC2 per year compared to Linode's?)

Linode is very competitively priced, but we need to scale up/down on an hourly basis. when there are less builds to run we simply want less servers to run.

Linode is much cheaper than Amazon when you go over the whole year, but it just doesn't fit our needs.

Recently stumbled upon very competitively priced DigitalOcean: https://www.digitalocean.com/price-comparison-chart

They have APIs to manage on-demand instances as well.

Thank you for the link! Their offering looks pretty solid; they are apparently using SSDs for all disk space which is one of the first I've seen doing this while using an 'on-demand' pricing model that's competitive with Linode.

Some key things I saw when I briefly checked it out:

-Their answers [1] regarding bandwidth bursting and fair bandwidth usage / sharing policies [2] is slightly ambiguous, or worrisome at least IMO, although maybe I'm just a cynic heh.

-They do include CPU bursting [3] similar to Linode.

-No private IP addresses [4]. No mention of IPv6 either but perhaps they do support it? =(

-Their 'Features' page looks great but I can't find more specific information & details on some of the things mentioned such as: A) US & Europe data center; is casually mentioned as being New York & Amsterdam only though. B) The ability to upgrade a 'Droplet' VM to a dedicated instance that can use all the host resources. C) No mention of VM resize speed / more info on the 'private network' aspects.

[1] = https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/do-you-limi...

[2] = https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/do-you-have...

[3] = https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/how-does-cp...

[4] = https://www.digitalocean.com/community/questions/do-you-offe...

Does anyone have any first-hand experience with DigitalOcean that could provide some insight?

I'll probably give it a whirl in the next few days as it looks to be a solid offering; would definitely be interested if anyone that may have gone with them already though!

As nice as their offering looks, their TOS prohibits hosting content that is "pornographic, obscene, fraudulent, or discriminatory, including any containing nudity, erotica, profanity, or obscenities" which is extremely restrictive. If you host a website that allows user content, someone posting the word "shit" or posting nude art photography could get your account closed. No thanks.

Digital Ocean looks pretty sweet, but the advantages by going with EC2 for us are a large number of different Instance Types we can use for every task we have.

It provides us with a lot of flexibility on how to build our service.

That is true. Amazon has been in cloud hosting space for a long time to cover almost all areas required to run a server. I am rooting for competitors though who could offer more services. That should bring interesting services and drive down cost even further.

Linode is cheaper than Amazon, but then every service that charges per-month (not per-hour) is cheaper than Amazon.

Linode charges up-front for the month, but if you terminate an instance early a pro-rated amount is credited to your account. The granularity is at least a day.

CPU time on Linode is cheaper than standard-priced EC2 instances. Compared to a reserved instance they lose badly, though. And last I checked, storage on Linode was 8x higher than EBS.

OK, I didn't remember storage being that bad. Also, reserved instances are billed per-year, so my per-hour comparison stands.

Linode's storage is prohibitively expensive compared to EBS and S3. Their instance sizes are all based on a $1/GB flat rate with no volume discounts.

If anything, this has to be slashed in half somehow. It's been a few years since this has been adjusted.

Did you consider Reserved Instances?

As far as I am concerned, Reserved Instances are the way to go, if you consider to get to be be a heavy user. I opened a spreadsheet recently on my own startup idea, and with Reserved Instances Amazon EC2 got very competitive.

Reserved Instances are the next thing we are looking into as well to get our costs down dramatically

They'll refund unused time.

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