DigitalOcean Spaces Review, the Cheapest S3 Alternative

In recent times, DigitalOcean has introduced its object storage service and they call it Spaces. The service offers an S3-compatible API interface which means that if you have been using Amazon S3 for your object storage needs, then you can easily switch to Spaces with very little effort. I have been testing their service for a few days now and I have found it to be working fine so far. In this review, I’m going to share some cons and pros of Spaces and I hope that my review will help you in understanding DigitalOcean’s this new product.

Pros of Spaces

1. Bandwidth Pricing: Bandwidth pricing is almost 9 times cheaper than that of Amazon and that’s why I have decided to replace my own storage solution with Spaces now. At Spaces, bandwidth is priced at just $0.01 per GB transferred. Even better, in your $5 per month (minimum) spend, you get 1TB transfer along with 250 GB storage and the $0.01 per GB pricing will be applicable once you will consume the 1TB per month bandwidth limit.

If you are serving some high volume downloads for your stored files, then DigitalOcean is obviously going to save you a lot of money.

2. No Additional Cost on Requests: Unlike Amazon, DigitalOcean doesn’t charge you for PUT and GET requests. This will save you some good amount of money if you are making a lot of requests to your stored data.

3. Simplicity: Amazon’s computing products are known to be complex for first-time users but with DigitalOcean, you aren’t going to run into any complex setups. Everything is straightforward and you can create a space just like a droplet and your bucket(s) will be ready for you within a minute or two.

Cons of Spaces

1. Fewer Locations: Of course Amazon has one of the largest web hosting resources on the earth so it completely blows out DigitalOcean in terms of location availability. As of now, DigitalOcean offers spaces in only two of its regions (Newyork and Amsterdam) and we hope that they will introduce the availability of the service in more regions soon.

2. Minimum Spend Limit: With Amazon, the billing model truly follows the pay-as-you-go model but at DigitalOcean Spaces, you need to spend at least $5 a month. Basically, when you decide to use Spaces, you will need to subscribe a plan of $5 per month that entitles you to use 250 GB of storage and 1TB of bandwidth per month. The allowed resource usage for this pricing is really really affordable but under some circumstances, where you will be using just a GB of storage and a few GBs of transfer each month, this $5 minimum monthly spend limit may prove to be a little pricey for you.

3. Lack of CNAME Support / Static Hosting: So far, Spaces don’t support CNAME feature so this means that you cannot use Spaces to host a static website like you do on Amazon S3. CNAME feature is mandatory when it comes to branding so even if someone doesn’t need to host a static website in Spaces, still the CNAME feature would be a handy feature in order to give out branded download links of data. According to DigitalOcean support, they are working on this feature and we hope that the feature will be introduced in very near future.

4. Versioning Not Supported: So far, versioning (for objects) is not supported yet. This feature is one of the important ones when it comes to object storage. When versioning is supported and enabled, you can revert to a previous state of the stored object to fix an accidental overwrite of the data. Spaces don’t support this feature yet and we may soon see this feature available at Spaces.

Neutral Points

While reviewing Spaces, I compared it with the largest object storage provider, Amazon S3, and the storage pricing is almost the same between the two providers. Both Spaces and S3 charge around $0.02 per GB of storage.

Bottom Line

DigitalOcean’s Spaces is a new product while Amazon has the largest hosting infrastructure in the world. We will have to see how good Spaces perform with such a low bandwidth pricing, particularly in terms of network performance. Data durability will also matter and at this stage, it is hard to say either DigitalOcean’s Spaces are a true alternative to Amazon S3 or not. Feedback from other users of Spaces is highly appreciated.

Rehmat

A web developer, server administrator and a blogger from Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

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