DigitalOcean Guide

By Staff Contributor on April 19, 2024

Creating and scaling applications isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and effort, from coding and testing to managing infrastructure and ensuring scalability. However, none of that is possible without the right software and hardware solutions. Choosing wrong can result in underperforming applications that can’t meet user speed and reliability expectations. On the other hand, opting for capable solutions from trusted providers can streamline the application development and deployment process, reduce operational complexity, and result in scalable applications.

One of the best tools for building and running scalable and high-performing applications is DigitalOcean. In fact, over 600,000 customers are already using tools from this cloud service provider to build their applications. However, if you aren’t sure what DigitalOcean is, don’t worry. In this guide to DigitalOcean, we’ll go over what DigitalOcean is, how to monitor DigitalOcean apps, how to integrate DigitalOcean with SolarWinds® Papertrail™, and more.

What is DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider founded in 2011 to simplify cloud computing, allowing builders to focus more time and energy on creating software rather than managing infrastructure complexities. Many consider DigitalOcean a “developer cloud” thanks to its variety of high-quality computing, storage, database, and networking offerings. Whether you’re learning to code or in need of a cloud solution that’s ready to scale alongside your well-established business or application, DigitalOcean can help.

All of DigitalOcean’s products were built with simplicity in mind. When you use DigitalOcean’s developer-friendly solutions, you can concentrate on building the perfect applications instead of worrying about the intricacies of infrastructure management and cloud hosting. Application deployment and management, storage, and virtual machine management will also be simple, and Digital Ocean also provides free and personalized support for those who need it.

DigitalOcean has fifteen globally distributed data centers, offering reduced latency, improved redundancy, better disaster recovery, and more geographic reach. DigitalOcean also provides predictable, affordable pricing and a return on investment of 186%, making it an excellent option for organizations looking to grow while remaining profitable and avoiding unexpected price spikes.

Though DigitalOcean is known for its IaaS solutions, the company has also added a powerful application platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering in 2020, providing its users with even more flexibility and options when scaling applications. However, unlike many PaaS providers, including Heroku and Google App Engine, DigitalOcean will give you access to the virtual machines required to support your applications. When you turn to DigitalOcean’s App Platform for your developing and infrastructure needs, you can configure the disk space, memory allocation, networking settings, and operating system to meet your applications’ performance and scalability needs.

DigitalOcean Use Cases and Features

Developers continually turn to DigitalOcean thanks to its ease of use, user-friendly interface, and detailed documentation, which includes installation tips, how-to guides, tutorials, and walkthroughs, as well as general information about cloud platforms and cloud technologies.

DigitalOcean offers a variety of high-quality computing, storage, and networking solutions designed to help you develop, manage, and scale your applications. More specifically, DigitalOcean provides:

  • Cloud Website Hosting: There’s a reason why over 75,000 businesses use DigitalOcean’s Cloudways for their cloud website hosting needs. It is an easy-to-use cloud hosting solution that provides the speed, value, reliability, and performance businesses need. Thanks to its intuitive control panel and range of tools, you can create a new website in minutes. Plus, with Cloudways, you can count on DigitalOcean’s in-house experts to perform updates and offer technical support while you concentrate on growing your organization. You’ll also have access to flexible workflows, powerful add-ons, simple, 1-click scaling, industry-leading cloud security, and an unlimited number of websites and visits per server when you use Cloudways.
  • Virtual Machines: Known as Droplets, DigitalOcean’s Linux-based virtual machines are simple, scalable, and cost-effective with predictable monthly pricing. Droplets offer fast boot times of 55 seconds and a 99.99% SLA, meaning you can count on them for your web hosting and VPS hosting needs. What’s more, Droplets are easy to deploy and manage, as DigitalOcean has its intuitive UI, CLI, API, and Terraform Provider. You can even use CPU-optimized droplets for higher outbound data speeds and apps with data-intensive workloads.
  • Kubernetes: With DigitalOcean Kubernetes (DOKS), you can deploy Kubernetes clusters while leaving the responsibility of handling the control plane and containerized infrastructure to DigitalOcean. Scaling clusters is simple, thanks to the DigitalOcean Cluster AutoScaler, and you can add the HA control plane to essential clusters to increase reliability and reduce issues caused by improper load balancing, fault tolerance, or traffic management. Plus, you can rest easy with seamless SnapShooter backups.
  • App Platform: Thanks to DigitalOcean’s App Platform and various Platform as a Service and serverless solutions, you can build and deploy apps without managing a complex infrastructure. Instead, this fully managed infrastructure solution will allow you to launch apps quickly. It provides built-in security and out-of-the-box support for Python, Node.js, Django, PHP, Go, and static sites. You can also scale your apps to keep up with traffic and use DigitalOcean Functions to add serverless components.
  • Managed Databases: DigitalOcean can also handle updating and scaling your databases. Starting at $15 a month, DigitalOcean can provision, scale, update, backup, and secure your MongoDB clusters, giving you time to focus on developing apps. DigitalOcean also offers managed database services for MySQL, Kafka, PostgreSQL, and Redis.
  • Developer Tools: DigitalOcean’s developer tools are also powerful options to add to your arsenal. DigitalOcean offers a web-based control panel with a point-and-click interface, which makes managing Droplets simple, but they also have an open source doctl utility if you’d prefer to manage Droplets from the command line as well as HTTP requests. SnapShooter, a fast and flexible cloud backup solution, can help protect data across your entire cloud environment. On the other hand, DigitalOcean Monitoring will provide you with real-time insights into your Droplets’ performance, CPU usage, disk usage, disk read and write operations in megabytes per second, bandwidth usage, and physical RAM usage. You can also receive real-time uptime and latency alerts and troubleshooting support.
  • Storage: DigitalOcean also offers two storage solutions: Spaces Object Storage and Volumes Block Storage. These business-ready storage solutions are secure, scalable, easy to use, and affordable. Spaces Object Storage features a built-in content delivery network and was designed for applications that require high requests per second (RPS), making it ideal for video streaming applications, software delivery, file sharing, archive backups, and storing large datasets for AI training. The NVMe-based Volume Block Storage is excellent for organizations with demanding applications that need high throughput and IOPS, as well as encryption and 99.99% uptime SLA.

Monitoring DigitalOcean

After creating your apps using DigitalOcean, you can continue relying on DigitalOcean for your monitoring needs. DigitalOcean’s free integrated infrastructure monitoring service uses an open-source agent to collect system-level metrics, and it is automatically enabled the instant you install the Monitoring agent on your Droplet. All you have to do is select Monitoring on your cloud console. However, you can also enable monitoring through an API or a package manager.

Once you have installed DigitalOcean Monitoring, you can easily monitor your network from the control panel. Not only will you be able to see real-time summary dashboards that enable you to understand your Droplets’ performance over time, including information on CPU usage, disk usage, disk read and write speeds, public bandwidth usage, and physical RAM usage, but you can also configure metrics. Plus, you can gain peace of mind by setting alerts, as DigitalOcean has integrated email and Slack notification capabilities. You can receive a notification whenever a metric crosses your pre-established threshold, allowing you to stay on top of infrastructure issues, whether you’re at work, at home, or on the go.

DigitalOcean Monitoring supports Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and Fedora operating systems and retains Droplet data for 14 days. If you destroy a Droplet, DigitalOcean will delete any associated data.

DigitalOcean & Papertrail for Enhanced Monitoring and Logging

While DigitalOcean’s monitoring options can provide high-level insights into Droplet performance and may come in handy when troubleshooting smaller incidents, it likely won’t be enough to meet all your organization’s monitoring needs. That’s why DigitalOcean uses third-party solutions, including SolarWinds® Papertrail™, for application-level logging and monitoring.

This easy-to-use log management tool can quickly collect and aggregate log data from various applications and systems across your network. Then, you and your team can search through all your logs using a single search bar. While some solutions only work with specific log sources, Papertrail offers support and full-text search for nearly every log source. What’s more, you can easily view, pause, and search live event data using Papertrail, enabling you to stay updated on the latest happenings across your network.

So, if you’re searching for a way to dive deeper into your applications, resolve incidents faster, and debug problems more easily, you can’t do better than Papertrail. Sign up for Papertrail today.

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