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Cloud disk IO: Amazon EBS vs Linode vs Digital Ocean

I moved my VPS to Digital Ocean about a month ago. Their offer was really good: 512MB RAM, 1 CPU Core, 20GB SSD Disk and 1TB Transfer for $5 a month, so I needed to try it. What really puzzled me was the 20GB SSD disk. I’ve used provisioned IOPS on Amazon EBS before, and although it’s extremely powerful it’s not cheap ($0.10 per provisioned IOPS-month, so for 1000 IOPS-month it’s $100 a month, plus the price per GB for storage). My point is, if you need extreme IO efficiency and the cost is not a problem, you won’t find anything as good as Amazon EBS with provisioned IOPS. Read on for a simple benchmark comparing 3 different cloud providers under $20/month.

The compared instances have these specs:

Digital Ocean: 512 RAM, 1 CPU Core, 20GB SSD Disk, 1TB Transfer, $5/month.
Linode: 1GB RAM, 8 CPU (1x priority), 24GB Storage, 2TB Transfer, $20/month.
Amazon EC2: 615MB RAM, 1 vCPU, Low Network Performance, $20/month.

I used this quick script to test the instances: http://www.slashgeek.net/2012/06/02/how-to-do-a-quick-benchmark-for-your-linux-server/

Here are the results:

DigitalOcean:

CPU model : QEMU Virtual CPU version 1.2.0
Number of cores : 1
CPU frequency : 2299.998 MHz
Total amount of ram : 491 MB
Total amount of swap : 0 MB
System uptime : 2 days, 15:04, 
Download speed : (32.5MB/s) 
I/O speed : 305MB/s

Amazon’s EC2:

CPU model : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5507 @ 2.27GHz
Number of cores : 1
CPU frequency : 2266.746 MHz
Total amount of ram : 3860 MB
Total amount of swap : 0 MB
System uptime : 236 days, 22:07, 
Download speed : (49.7MB/s) 
I/O speed : 43.8MB/s

Linode:

CPU model : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU L5520 @ 2.27GHz
Number of cores : 4
CPU frequency : 2266.746 MHz
Total amount of ram : 494 MB
Total amount of swap : 511 MB
System uptime : 357 days, 17:58, 
Download speed : (33.8MB/s) 
I/O speed : 102MB/s

305MB/s vs 43MB/s vs 102MB/s. As you can see Digital Ocean’s SSD speed is 3x faster than Linode and 6x faster than EC2 (non provisioned IOPS). For small to medium servers Digital Ocean is a no brainer. OTOH, for big deployments, Amazon’s provisioned IOPS has no contender.

 

9 comments for “Cloud disk IO: Amazon EBS vs Linode vs Digital Ocean

  1. Robbie
    June 7, 2013 at 1:42 am

    You claim Amazon’s provisioned IOPS has no contender, yet no data to back that up. Would liked to have seen Amazon IOPS results with the same script.

    • bigjocker
      June 7, 2013 at 2:16 am

      You are right, I have to publish the data. I’ll run the script in an instance with provisioned IOPS as soon as I have a chance. I don’t have access to one right now, but will be deploying one in a couple of weeks.

  2. AK
    June 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    The 512MB offered is for everything including OS or it’s just for application memory? Like WebFaction.

    • bigjocker
      June 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      The 512 is for everything, including the OS.

  3. June 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Technically, you can actually connect s3 to external sources if you mostly need data storage that isn’t accessed all the time.

    If someone wants access to something in the s3, it can contact the digital ocean or linode server, and then the digital ocean or linode server can pass the request onto s3.

    A lot of people need a lot of data storage but not a lot of data bandwidth.

    Some other interesting things you can do, you can use cloudflare to reduce data usage, combined with maxCDN or cloudfront

  4. Echizen Maru
    June 19, 2013 at 1:21 am

    it sounds interesting, digitalocean is really affordable compared to the 2 others. But, how about using it on medium-high sized website? any experience

  5. Richzendy
    August 22, 2013 at 12:42 am

    VPS from Contabo http://contabo.com/ :

    CPU model : Common KVM processor
    Number of cores : 2
    CPU frequency : 3200.084 MHz
    Total amount of ram : 7870 MB
    Total amount of swap : 2047 MB
    System uptime : 4 days, 4:33,
    Download speed : (12,3MB/s)
    I/O speed : 82,8MB/s

  6. June 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    We went to Amazon as well until we ve had constant issues with their EBS and have lost several hundred million unique hits a day because of an EBS issue which spanned 4 days and made our volumes get stuck in detaching.

  7. August 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Linode does kind of have a reputation for having very fast but very small storage allocations, and while you can pretty easily transfer disk images around between instances, they re still ultimately local.

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