DigitalOcean: Ahead of the virtual server wave

Technical organizations today depend more and more heavily on their server infrastructure. In this environment it is critical to have a server infrastructure that not only is robust and reliable, but that is both flexible and secure.

The Standard C++ Foundation has relied on DigitalOcean cloud services for its server infrastructure since 2014. Standard C++ Foundation relies on its DigitalOcean servers to support its document repositories, file sharing, messaging systems, mailing lists, DNS, Firewalls, and websites.

DigitalOcean Droplets

The Standard C++ Foundation server infrastructure is made up of seven DigitalOcean Droplets, which are Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) that run on top of virtualized hardware. Each Droplet can be set up either as a standalone dedicated server, or as part of a larger cloud-based infrastructure.

Resizing a server, also known as vertical scaling, increases the amount of resources a server has. A key benefit of using DigitalOcean Droplets is their flexibility, as they can very easily be resized based on changing needs. Running a large event or expect a big bump in web traffic? Easily increase your Droplet’s CPU and RAM to get the speed and bandwidth you need, then dial it back down when your needs go back to normal. Or increase your Droplet size as your organization grows, increasing the RAM and CPU, and also permanently increase the size of a Droplet’s disk. Whichever type of increase you need, it’s all down with an easy change of settings in your dashboard.

Managing Droplets

Co-locating a server infrastructure does not mean giving up control. DigitalOcean Droplets can be controlled either through an API or through doctl, their command line interface client.

  • The DigitalOcean API: The DigitalOcean API lets you manage DigitalOcean resources programmatically using conventional HTTP requests. All the functionality available in the DigitalOcean Control Panel is also available through the API. You can use the API to create, destroy, and retrieve information about your Droplets. You can also use the API to enable backups, change kernels, or reboot your Droplets.
  • The DigitalOcean Command Line Client: doctl is a command-line interface for the DigitalOcean API and supports many of the same actions available through the API. doctl supports managing container registries from the command line. See the doctl documentation or use doctl compute --help for more information.

Key server features

In the seven years that Standard C++ Foundation has been a DigitalOcean customer, they have added most of their key functions onto its cloud-based DigitalOcean servers.

Following are the key areas in which the Standard C++ Foundation has come to rely on DigitalOcean:

  • Weekly Backups and Snapshots: Backups are automatically-created disk images of Droplets. Enabling backups for Droplets enables system-level backups at weekly intervals, which provides a way to revert to an older state or create new Droplets. Rather have those backups daily? You can do this using the API.
  • Track Droplet performance: Check how things are going at any time using Droplet Graphs, which are up-to-the-minute visualizations of how your server is performing over time that let you monitor Droplet performance metrics in the control panel.
  • DNS/Domains: Adding a domain you own to your DigitalOcean account lets you manage the domain’s DNS records with the control panel and API. Domains you manage on DigitalOcean also integrate with DigitalOcean Load Balancers and Spaces to streamline automatic SSL certificate management.
  • Cloud Firewalls: DigitalOcean Cloud Firewalls are a network-based, stateful firewall service for Droplets provided at no additional cost. Cloud firewalls block all traffic that isn’t expressly permitted by a rule.
  • Block Storage Volumes: Block storage volumes are network-based block devices that provide additional data storage for Droplets. You can move them between Droplets and resize them at any time.
  • Teams: Teams are useful for project leaders and business owners who want to share control of server infrastructure with developers, financial administrators, and other collaborators.

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