DigitalOcean, the fast-growing SSD-based cloud hosting service, today announced the launch of its Singapore data center location. Hosted in Equinix’s Singapore 2 data center, DigitalOcean’s new location marks the company’s first expansion into Asia.
The service recently expanded to Europe with its first data center location in Amsterdam and the reason for going to Asia are the same as the ones that brought DigitalOcean to Europe. The company has seen large demand from potential users in the Asia-Pacific region who want to use the service, but can’t stomach the increased latency that would come with hosting their services in DigitalOcean’s Europe or the U.S. data centers. At the same time, the company’s existing customers have increasingly shown interest in getting their services closer to their own customers in Asia, too.
According to DigitalOcean co-founder and CEO Ben Uretsky, the company decided to keep with its focus on simplicity, so despite the higher cost of operating in Singapore, it won’t change its pricing, which still remains at $5/month for its most basic servers. Uretsky stressed, though, that he has no doubts that the Singapore location will be profitable despite the margin loss. He also noted that he expects the new location to grow at a similar pace as its Amsterdam location.
In keeping with its focus on a lean operation, DigitalOcean won’t have its own staff on the ground in Singapore. Instead, now that its own team has set up the basic infrastructure, it will work with the data center personnel and system integrators to keep its service up and running.
Singapore, Uretsky told me, is the first location where the company is rolling out the latest version of its software. This 1.5 release will enable the company to more quickly launch new features for its users, Uretsky promised. While DigitalOcean has long talked about bringing IPv6 and more 1-click installs for popular services and frameworks, for example, those rollouts have taken longer than expected.
According to Uretsky, the company had a tough decision to make: Does the team want to clean up some of the technical debt it incurred when it first started the service, or chase the market? In the end, the company decided to get its internal code right so that it now has a better foundation on which it can build new services.
One early mistake DigitalOcean made, for example, was to use two different image formats: one for its smaller servers and one for its larger ones. That meant the team had to manage two systems and the conversions between them whenever a user wanted to upgrade or downgrade to a different machine. This also created some of the security issues DigitalOcean was faced with last year. In the new system, the company now uses a single image format.
With this release, DigitalOcean is also now ready to launch IPv6 support soon. While Uretsky didn’t say when exactly we can expect this launch, the company now has the foundation for this feature in place and will likely launch it very soon.