Digital Ocean adds block storage to cloud servers

Block storage is a core cloud feature, but it hasn't been holding DO back

wooden blocks
fdecomite (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

Digital Ocean, an intriguing cloud infrastructure vendor that many may not have heard of, is taking a big step forward today with the introduction of block storage to its platform.

Block storage allows users to add extra disk space to virtual machines that can be scaled up and down independently from the state of the VM. DO’s SSD-based Block Storage is priced at $.10 per GB per month, the same price as Amazon EBS, the Elastic Block Storage Service from Amazon Web Services.

digital ocean logo Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean unveiled a new logo, new CTO and new Block Storage service today 

DO was founded in 2011 and while block storage could be seen as a sort of table-stakes service for any cloud provider to have, the company has seen very strong growth and uptake even without it, says analyst Stephen O’Grady, co-founder of RedMonk. “Digital Ocean's growth has been notable even without block storage, so it's difficult to make the case that it's held the company back,” he wrote in an email. “That being said, it certainly has made storage-centric workloads problematic fits at best, and this will ease those restrictions.”

DO attempts to make its platform easy to spin up and use, focusing on end-user experience and simple pricing, which has made it attractive to developers and small businesses, O’Grady says. This puts DO more “down-market,” compared to AWS, he says.

julia austin digital ocean LinkedIn

Digital Ocean's new CTO Julia Austin had stints at VMware and Akamai

DO has raised $120 million in four funding rounds – with input from Andreesen Horowitz - and took on a debt financing round worth $130 million this April. At the time, Network World blogger Ben Kepes reported that DO had more than 13 million servers.

DO also has a new logo today (see insert) and named Julia Austin as CTO. Before DO, Austin had stints at VMware (as VP of Innovation) and Akamai (VP of Engineering); most recently was a faculty member at Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit where she taught product management.

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