Amazon EC2 vs DigitalOcean vs Microsoft Azure

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Amazon EC2

47.7K
35.3K
+ 1
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DigitalOcean

17.8K
13K
+ 1
2.6K
Microsoft Azure

24.4K
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+ 1
768

Amazon EC2 vs DigitalOcean vs Microsoft Azure: What are the differences?

Introduction

In this article, we will discuss the key differences between Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, and Microsoft Azure. These three cloud computing platforms offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions, but there are distinct features that set them apart from each other.

  1. Scalability:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 provides automatic scaling capabilities, allowing you to adjust resources based on demand to handle fluctuations in traffic or workload. It offers a wide range of instance types for scalability.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean also supports scaling, but it requires manual intervention. You can vertically scale by upgrading the droplet's plan or use load balancers for horizontal scaling.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure provides both manual and automatic scaling options. You can configure autoscaling rules based on specific metrics to automatically adjust resources. It offers various virtual machine sizes to support scalability needs.
  2. Pricing Model:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 follows a flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing model where you pay for the instance usage per hour. Costs can vary depending on the instance type, operating system, and other factors like data transfer and storage.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean offers fixed pricing plans called "Droplets" that are billed on a monthly or hourly basis. Each Droplet includes a fixed set of resources, and additional resources like storage and network transfer incur additional costs.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure offers various pricing options, including per-hour or per-minute billing for virtual machines. The pricing depends on factors like instance size, storage, and the chosen billing option.
  3. Services and Offerings:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 provides a wide range of services and integrations, including load balancing, auto scaling, data storage, and networking capabilities. It also offers a vast marketplace of pre-configured virtual machine images.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean focuses on simplicity and offers a streamlined set of services like droplets, managed databases, block storage, and load balancers. It provides straightforward options without overwhelming complexity.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure provides a comprehensive set of services and focuses on enterprise-grade solutions. It offers a wide range of services like virtual machines, databases, AI, analytics, IoT, and more. Azure also integrates well with other Microsoft products and services.
  4. Platform Maturity:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 is one of the earliest and most established cloud platforms, offering a mature and robust infrastructure. It has a vast and loyal customer base and extensive documentation and community support.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean is a relatively newer player but has gained popularity for its simplicity and developer-friendly features. It offers a clean user interface and a straightforward learning curve.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure is a robust and mature cloud platform, backed by Microsoft's extensive resources and ecosystem. It has a strong enterprise focus and is well-suited for hybrid cloud deployments.
  5. Global Availability:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 provides a global infrastructure with multiple regions and availability zones worldwide. It offers the ability to deploy instances in different geographic locations to improve latency and redundancy.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean initially started with a limited number of data centers but has expanded its global presence. It currently operates data centers in multiple regions, but the availability may vary compared to larger cloud providers.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure has a significant global presence with data centers spread across various regions. It offers a high degree of availability and allows you to deploy resources in multiple regions to ensure redundancy.
  6. Integration with Other Services:

    • Amazon EC2: EC2 seamlessly integrates with other Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings, allowing you to leverage various cloud services like S3, RDS, Lambda, and more.
    • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean provides some integrations with third-party tools and services but has a more limited ecosystem compared to larger cloud providers.
    • Microsoft Azure: Azure offers deep integration with various Microsoft services like Office 365, Active Directory, Dynamics 365, and others. It provides a cohesive environment for Microsoft-centric organizations.

In Summary, while all three platforms offer cloud infrastructure services, Amazon EC2 stands out with its scalability and vast service offerings, while DigitalOcean emphasizes simplicity and cost-effectiveness, and Microsoft Azure provides enterprise-grade solutions with strong integration capabilities.

Decisions about Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, and Microsoft Azure

Albeit restricted to only a few places worlwide compared to its peers in the cloud segment, I am yet to find another provider capable of delivering a score over 5000 (Geekbench) in a benchmark on a single CPU machine, and each machine costs $6 a month. For homelab and experienced users who don't need DBaaS or IaaC's, it's a pretty straightforward choice. A more comprehensive review of Vultr's HF machines can be found here.

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Tejas Sangoi
Founder, CEO at Thalia Technologies · | 4 upvotes · 41.1K views

Our company builds micro saas applications. Based on the application we decide whether to deploy it over one of our shared servers or on a dedicated server.

We decided to Lightsail over EC2.

  1. Lightsail is a lightweight, simplified product offering that has a dramatically simplified console. The instances run in a special VPC, but this aspect is also provisioned automatically, and invisible in the console.

  2. Lightsail supports optionally peering this hidden VPC with your default VPC in the same AWS region, allowing Lightsail instances to access services like EC2 and RDS in the default VPC within the same AWS account.

  3. Bandwidth is unlimited, but of course free bandwidth is not -- however, Lightsail instances do include a significant monthly bandwidth allowance before any bandwidth-related charges apply.

  4. It has predictable pricing with no surprises at the end.

  5. The flexibility of EC2 leads inevitably to complexity. Whereas for Lighsail there is virtually no learning curve, here. You don't even technically need to know how to use SSH with a private key -- the Lightsail console even has a built-in SSH client -- but there is no requirement that you use it. You can access these instances normally, with a standard SSH client.

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Chose Hetnzer over DigitalOcean and Linode because Hetzner provides much cheaper VPS with much better specs. DigitalOcean might seems like a good choice at first because of how popular it is. But in reality, if all you need is a simple VPS, you won't benefit much from the their oversubscribed datacenters which often underperform other competitors. Linode is also a good choice. They have cheaper options and performs slightly better than DigitalOcean. In the end, choosing a more affordable host helps you save money. That's important when you're running a tight ship.

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Peter Schmalfeldt
Senior Software Engineer · | 3 upvotes · 62K views

While Media Temple is more expensive than DigitalOcean, sometimes it is like comparing apples and oranges. DigitalOcean provides what is called Virtual Private Servers ( VPS ). While you seem to be on your own dedicated server, you are, in fact, sharing the same hardware with others.

If you need to be on your own dedicated server, or have other hardware requirements, you do not really have as many options with DigitalOcean. But with Media Temple, the skies the limit ( but so is potentially the cost ).

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Jerome/Zen Quah
Shared insights
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Amazon EC2Amazon EC2DigitalOceanDigitalOcean

DigitalOcean was where I began; its USD5/month is extremely competitive and the overall experience as highly user-friendly.

However, their offerings were lacking and integrating with other resources I had on AWS was getting more costly (due to transfer costs on AWS). Eventually I moved the entire project off DO's Droplets and onto AWS's EC2.

One may initially find the cost (w/o free tier) and interface of AWS daunting however with good planning you can achieve highly cost-efficient systems with savings plans, spot instances, etcetera.

Do not dive into AWS head-first! Seriously, don't. Stand back and read pricing documentation thoroughly. You can, not to the fault of AWS, easily go way overbudget. Your first action upon getting your AWS account should be to set up billing alarms for estimated and current bill totals.

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Craig Finch
Principal Consultant at Rootwork InfoTech · | 6 upvotes · 185.7K views

We first selected Google Cloud Platform about five years ago, because HIPAA compliance was significantly cheaper and easier on Google compared to AWS. We have stayed with Google Cloud because it provides an excellent command line tool for managing resources, and every resource has a well-designed, well-documented API. SDKs for most of these APIs are available for many popular languages. I have never worked with a cloud platform that's so amenable to automation. Google is also ahead of its competitors in Kubernetes support.

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Stephen Fox
Artificial Intelligence Fellow · | 2 upvotes · 188.7K views

GCE is much more user friendly than EC2, though Amazon has come a very long way since the early days (pre-2010's). This can be seen in how easy it is to edit the storage attached to an instance in GCE: it's under the instance details and is edited inline. In AWS you have to click the instance > click the storage block device (new screen) > click the edit option (new modal) > resize the volume > confirm (new model) then wait a very long time. Google's is nearly instant.

  • In both cases, the instance much be shut down.

There also the preference between "user burden-of-security" and automatic security: AWS goes for the former, GCE the latter.

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Most bioinformatics shops nowadays are hosting on AWS or Azure, since they have HIPAA tiers and offer enterprise SLA contracts. Meanwhile Heroku hasn't historically supported HIPAA. Rackspace and Google Cloud would be other hosting providers we would consider, but we just don't get requests for them. So, we mostly focus on AWS and Azure support.

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Pros of Amazon EC2
Pros of DigitalOcean
Pros of Microsoft Azure
  • 647
    Quick and reliable cloud servers
  • 515
    Scalability
  • 393
    Easy management
  • 277
    Low cost
  • 271
    Auto-scaling
  • 89
    Market leader
  • 80
    Backed by amazon
  • 79
    Reliable
  • 67
    Free tier
  • 58
    Easy management, scalability
  • 13
    Flexible
  • 10
    Easy to Start
  • 9
    Elastic
  • 9
    Web-scale
  • 9
    Widely used
  • 7
    Node.js API
  • 5
    Industry Standard
  • 4
    Lots of configuration options
  • 2
    GPU instances
  • 1
    Simpler to understand and learn
  • 1
    Extremely simple to use
  • 1
    Amazing for individuals
  • 1
    All the Open Source CLI tools you could want.
  • 560
    Great value for money
  • 364
    Simple dashboard
  • 362
    Good pricing
  • 300
    Ssds
  • 250
    Nice ui
  • 191
    Easy configuration
  • 156
    Great documentation
  • 138
    Ssh access
  • 135
    Great community
  • 24
    Ubuntu
  • 13
    Docker
  • 12
    IPv6 support
  • 10
    Private networking
  • 8
    99.99% uptime SLA
  • 7
    Simple API
  • 7
    Great tutorials
  • 6
    55 Second Provisioning
  • 5
    One Click Applications
  • 4
    Dokku
  • 4
    Node.js
  • 4
    LAMP
  • 4
    Debian
  • 4
    CoreOS
  • 3
    1Gb/sec Servers
  • 3
    Word Press
  • 3
    LEMP
  • 3
    Simple Control Panel
  • 3
    Mean
  • 3
    Ghost
  • 2
    Runs CoreOS
  • 2
    Quick and no nonsense service
  • 2
    Django
  • 2
    Good Tutorials
  • 2
    Speed
  • 2
    Ruby on Rails
  • 2
    GitLab
  • 2
    Hex Core machines with dedicated ECC Ram and RAID SSD s
  • 1
    CentOS
  • 1
    Spaces
  • 1
    KVM Virtualization
  • 1
    Amazing Hardware
  • 1
    Transfer Globally
  • 1
    Fedora
  • 1
    FreeBSD
  • 1
    Drupal
  • 1
    FreeBSD Amp
  • 1
    Magento
  • 1
    ownCloud
  • 1
    RedMine
  • 1
    My go to server provider
  • 1
    Ease and simplicity
  • 1
    Nice
  • 1
    Find it superfitting with my requirements (SSD, ssh.
  • 1
    Easy Setup
  • 1
    Cheap
  • 1
    Static IP
  • 1
    It's the easiest to get started for small projects
  • 1
    Automatic Backup
  • 1
    Great support
  • 1
    Quick and easy to set up
  • 1
    Servers on demand - literally
  • 1
    Reliability
  • 0
    Variety of services
  • 0
    Managed Kubernetes
  • 114
    Scales well and quite easy
  • 96
    Can use .Net or open source tools
  • 81
    Startup friendly
  • 73
    Startup plans via BizSpark
  • 62
    High performance
  • 38
    Wide choice of services
  • 32
    Low cost
  • 32
    Lots of integrations
  • 31
    Reliability
  • 19
    Twillio & Github are directly accessible
  • 13
    RESTful API
  • 10
    PaaS
  • 10
    Enterprise Grade
  • 10
    Startup support
  • 8
    DocumentDB
  • 7
    In person support
  • 6
    Free for students
  • 6
    Service Bus
  • 6
    Virtual Machines
  • 5
    Redis Cache
  • 5
    It rocks
  • 4
    Storage, Backup, and Recovery
  • 4
    Infrastructure Services
  • 4
    SQL Databases
  • 4
    CDN
  • 3
    Integration
  • 3
    Scheduler
  • 3
    Preview Portal
  • 3
    HDInsight
  • 3
    Built on Node.js
  • 3
    Big Data
  • 3
    BizSpark 60k Azure Benefit
  • 3
    IaaS
  • 2
    Backup
  • 2
    Open cloud
  • 2
    Web
  • 2
    SaaS
  • 2
    Big Compute
  • 2
    Mobile
  • 2
    Media
  • 2
    Dev-Test
  • 2
    Storage
  • 2
    StorSimple
  • 2
    Machine Learning
  • 2
    Stream Analytics
  • 2
    Data Factory
  • 2
    Event Hubs
  • 2
    Virtual Network
  • 2
    ExpressRoute
  • 2
    Traffic Manager
  • 2
    Media Services
  • 2
    BizTalk Services
  • 2
    Site Recovery
  • 2
    Active Directory
  • 2
    Multi-Factor Authentication
  • 2
    Visual Studio Online
  • 2
    Application Insights
  • 2
    Automation
  • 2
    Operational Insights
  • 2
    Key Vault
  • 2
    Infrastructure near your customers
  • 2
    Easy Deployment
  • 1
    Enterprise customer preferences
  • 1
    Documentation
  • 1
    Security
  • 1
    Best cloud platfrom
  • 1
    Easy and fast to start with
  • 1
    Remote Debugging

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Cons of Amazon EC2
Cons of DigitalOcean
Cons of Microsoft Azure
  • 13
    Ui could use a lot of work
  • 6
    High learning curve when compared to PaaS
  • 3
    Extremely poor CPU performance
  • 3
    No live support chat
  • 3
    Pricing
  • 7
    Confusing UI
  • 2
    Expensive plesk on Azure

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What is Amazon EC2?

It is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.

What is DigitalOcean?

We take the complexities out of cloud hosting by offering blazing fast, on-demand SSD cloud servers, straightforward pricing, a simple API, and an easy-to-use control panel.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

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What tools integrate with Amazon EC2?
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What are some alternatives to Amazon EC2, DigitalOcean, and Microsoft Azure?
Amazon LightSail
Everything you need to jumpstart your project on AWS—compute, storage, and networking—for a low, predictable price. Launch a virtual private server with just a few clicks.
Amazon S3
Amazon Simple Storage Service provides a fully redundant data storage infrastructure for storing and retrieving any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web
Amazon EC2 Container Service
Amazon EC2 Container Service lets you launch and stop container-enabled applications with simple API calls, allows you to query the state of your cluster from a centralized service, and gives you access to many familiar Amazon EC2 features like security groups, EBS volumes and IAM roles.
Beanstalk
A single process to commit code, review with the team, and deploy the final result to your customers.
JavaScript
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
See all alternatives