Object storage is a feasible way to store and distribute large amounts of data like images, binary files and other stuff. You don’t need to worry about managing a storage server when you use an object storage service. Amazon S3 have been in this industry for a long a time and it is currently the most popular (and obviously most-stable) object storage service of the world but the bad thing is that it is expensive.
Specially if you are going to serve huge amounts of downloads, Amazon would send you surprising bills for the bandwidth usage. Recently DigitalOcean launched its object storage service called Spaces and I was among the first customers who tried out their service even before it was in public beta.
The most attractive part at spaces is the bandwidth pricing that’s just $0.01 per GB. At Amazon S3, the data transfer charges are $0.09 per GB and that’s a massive saving at DigitalOcean Spaces if you are going to serve several thousand GBs of downloads per month.
Same is the case with storage pricing and DigitalOcean charges $0.02 per GB for storage that’s almost half the price that Amazon charges for S3 storage.
Although these stats will strongly encourage someone to migrate their data into Spaces from Amazon S3, but based on my personal experience, I am going to share the good and bad of Spaces below that’d help you in deciding either it’s the perfect time for you to migrate your data into Spaces or not.
The Bad of Spaces:
No CNAME Support Yet
If you are using your own domain (or a sub-domain) with your S3 buckets, then you aren’t ready to migrate your data into Spaces yet. Although Spaces is fully compatible with S3 API but they don’t support CNAME or custom domain support yet. Last year (2017) was promised but now we are welcoming 2019 and still there is no hint when would that feature become available to the users.
Network Port Limits
A few months back, when I contacted DigitalOcean support and asked regarding the maximum data transfer speed that can be expected out of a bucket, the support replied that one should not exceed the max 300mbps at a particular bucket. This sounds to be horrifying as we expect an object storage service to serve the downloads without any network bottlenecks. We pay for the bandwidth and they should not limit the quantity that we are willing to buy. Maybe they aren’t ready yet with a distributed and perfectly-engineered network for Spaces? This question needs to be answered by their staff.
At intervals, Spaces become unavailable. Now the availability has improved but still issues are there and I experienced failed attempts in uploading data over API several times. With S3, this never happened.
Amazon S3 stores the data in multiple regions and thus you can expect the data to be safe when it is hosted with Amazon S3. DigitalOcean Spaces uses a single datacenter to store your data where the bucket is created and if a catastrophic natural disaster hits the datacenter, then everything you stored there would be wiped out. That’d be a rare case but still there is a higher chance of data loss when hosted with Spaces as compared to Amazon S3.
No Stats Available
Spaces don’t offer any statistics on bandwidth usage for a bucket thus you don’t know how much data has been transferred out from a particular bucket. Moreover, storage statistics are also seem to be inaccurate mostly. Although you can view your invoice to get details on bandwidth overage but that doesn’t explain the bucket-wise bandwidth usage.
Per Bucket Pricing
This sounds to be ridiculous. With Spaces, you need to pay $5 per bucket. It doesn’t matter either you store any data in it or not, you will be billed. They call one instance of a bucket a ‘Space’ and you can’t have unlimited buckets for free like Amazon S3. Each bucket gives you 250GB of storage and 1TB of data transfer under that $5 but if you are going to need unlimited buckets for your customers, then you will need to pay $5 for each bucket. That doesn’t make much sense.
Being a member of Bandwidth Alliance Group, DigitalOcean is offering the industry-lowest rates for data transfer. At Spaces, you can save up to 900% as compared to Amazon S3 for the bandwidth usage. Similarly, storage cost is also just around $0.02 and this makes Spaces a great choice for storing and distributing large amounts of data.
The 300mpbs limit would not make sense anymore if the CDN is enabled. For a bucket, CDN feature can be enabled that will allow you to deliver downloads faster using the DigitalOcean’s growing network of CDN servers.
Amazon’s computing products have been known to provide complex user experience but DigitalOcean’s simple and elegant control panel lets you easily create a bucket and start storing assets with no-technical skills involved.
As compared to Amazon, I have found DigitalOcean’s support to be faster and better. The community is also helpful and you can get answers to your problems either from their support staff or from the community.
So this was my personal review of DigitalOcean Spaces based on my experience over a period of around one year. I mostly compared Spaces with Amazon S3 just because S3 is the industry leader in providing object storage solutions. I hope you find my review helpful. If you have any questions or if you want to share your opinion, write a comment below.