DigitalOcean is a late comer to the cloud provider scene that initially popped up on people's radars because of its phenomenal growth. That growth has continued unabated, and DigitalOcean is now the third-largest cloud in the world among web-facing clouds, according to Netcraft, an English Internet services company.
The growth chart doesn’t look like a hockey stick. Instead, it’s a perilous incline that would terrify the most seasoned of rock climbers. The number of DigitalOcean's web-facing servers has grown 400 percent in the last year, reaching 116,000 and surpassing Rackspace. To be fair, Rackspace has a very different business model, but the comparison is telling, given how much younger DigitalOcean is as a company. It had fewer than 140 servers in December 2012.
DigitalOcean raised $37.2 million in an Andreessen Horowitz-led Series A funding round in March.
“We were certainly a late entrant,” said Mitch Wainer, DigitalOcean co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We felt the cloud hosting issue was broken and saw it as an opportunity to disrupt.”
It’s all about the singular, razor -sharp focus on developers, according to Wainer. “If you look at all the different providers and how they deliver products, it’s very clunky,” he said. “We prioritized user experience on day one and focused on catering, empowering, enabling the developer. It’s always been our mantra.”
The company simplified developing an app on cloud and made it easy to deploy online, something they felt was missing from the other cloud providers. “If you’re a dev, there was no easy solution to deploy online,” said Wainer. “You’d have to go through an enormous amount of steps and wait to deploy it.”
DigitalOcean bleeds the lines of Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service by offering one-click install applications. Developers like the SSDs, low-price bandwidth, and fast deployment. “Droplets” can be provisioned in under a minute in five markets: New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, and London.
The company just introduced native CoreOS support and recently partnered with Docker to release the latest version. It also partnered with Mesosphere to automate cluster provisioning at scale. “Containerization, Docker, CoreOS are all huge right now,” said Wainer. “It’s the new and better way to sort of extract DevOps work. To organize and structure your large-scale infrastructure environments.”
While Google, Amazon, and Azure have all intensified their developer focus and services, Wainer doesn’t see it as a threat. “They see the traction, believe in it, and obviously buy in,” he said. “What we’ve been able to do is be really smart with messaging and marketing. We clearly identify that this is for developers. Even AWS can say they’re catering to the developer all they want, but they’re doing a lot of things that spread their attention. Our position in the market is top-of-mind for developers. Even if it’s on a personal project level.”
In October, Netcraft found 116,000 web-facing computers at DigitalOcean, 7,577 more than previous month. There were 88,000 discovered in July. And those are just web-facing servers.
A sizable amount of sites picked up by Netcraft were net new customers with over 68,000 in a month. The statistics also reveal some migrations from big host names to show which hosting providers the rest are coming from.
DigitalOcean opened a region in Singapore earlier this year and it is already second to Amazon in the count. Newest region the U.K. is growing nicely as well. It added the Singapore region in February and the London region in July.
Wainer said that the company has successfully expanded talent and infrastructure and DigitalOcean is hiring aggressively right now.
"We all enjoy operating the business like a startup," said Wainer. "Agile, scrappy - to iterate faster, deploy and launch products faster. To continue to disrupt and think differently. When that goes away, that’s when things get boring. We’re going to keep this train moving."