DigitalOcean Adds Floating IPs To Kill Server Downtime Once And For All

Popular cloud hosting service DigitalOcean just added a very interesting feature today — floating IPs. So you may ask what is that and why do I need that? It’s better than sliced bread, and let me tell you why.

Many developers are using these trendy cloud hosting services, such as DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Computing and Microsoft Azure. It adds a level of abstraction and flexibility compared to good old servers.

In particular, it’s great if you want to run your apps in multiple data centers, replicate your application everywhere. But it gets complicated when you need to manage a network. Replacing a droplet (cloud server) isn’t as easy as it should be as you need to tell your other droplets that one of your droplet doesn’t have the same IP address.

Think of it as a major dependency on your mailperson — they know everyone and all the addresses in your town and can help you if someone has moved to a new house, but maybe you don’t want to rely on them every time you’re looking for an address.

Meet floating IPs. If I understand these things correctly, DigitalOcean’s new feature lets you keep your IPs and assign them to any droplet in the same data center. You IP addresses are attached to your accounts, and not to your instances. I think it works like Amazon’s EC2 Elastic IP feature.

There are many use cases, but one of my favorites is the emergency scenario because who doesn’t love a good disaster movie. Let’s say one of your droplet completely breaks down. It’s unfixable, or it will take hours to fix. Instead of tweaking with your droplet, you can boot up a new droplet with a saved image and assign the old IP to the new IP — I call this a miracle.

Even better, instead of recovering from an image, you can run a backup droplet that replicates everything your production droplet does. Whenever something happens to your production droplet, you can just move the IP and voilà! I’m sure you can even find ways to script everything so you don’t have to reassign the IP manually.

You can take advantage of floating IPs for two load balancers for example. Isn’t it great? DigitalOcean now has deployed 8 million cloud servers for 700,000 developers. Not bad, not bad at all!