IaaS interview

DigitalOcean on keeping the infrastructure layer simple

Ocean image via Shutterstock

Having expanded its IaaS base across Europe from London to Frankfurt, the global virtual private server provider DigitalOcean continues to make a bigger name for itself in Europe. CEO Ben Uretsky talks to us about the tech boom, the competition and the infrastructure.

JAXenter: DigitalOcean just recently opened up a data centre in Frankfurt am Main. In your opinion, what are the trends, needs and challenges within the German speaking developer scene?

Ben Uretsky, DigitalOcean CEO: Germany is experiencing a technology boom similar to what we’ve seen in London over the past few years. The number of software developers throughout Germany is roughly the same as the number of developers total that have deployed a server on DigitalOcean, so certainly there’s a huge community here that we’re looking to service. With all of the amazing startups coming out of Berlin, Munich, Hanover, and other German cities, it’s undeniable the importance of this region in the larger global dev community.

The needs and challenges of developers in Germany are similar to other booming regions throughout the world. Outside of particular privacy and data laws, which differ from region to region, developers want an infrastructure provider that’s straightforward, well-designed, and provides a great value. We believe the infrastructure layer should be simple, to the point where it almost takes care of itself, so developers can focus on their apps.

As a cloud infrastructure provider with data centers on various continents, DigitalOcean is targeting on a global developer community. However, a stable and easy to handle infrastructure is a requirement for enterprises as well as smaller startups or private projects alike. Which developers does DigitalOcean address in particular?

The simple answer is this: we prioritize the needs of individual software developers. As an individual, your wants and needs are entirely different than what a cumbersome enterprise wants and needs – this is why the larger providers offer a suite of services but the user-experience is lacking.

We have captured the hearts and minds of developers by really focusing on simplicity, but of course we hope that as DigitalOcean grows with its users, that they will take our infrastructure into their startups and small businesses. The real challenge for us is to continue to build out highly requested features, that can service the needs of bigger companies, but at the same time maintains our focus on simplicity and user experience.

Amazon Webservices and Microsoft Azure are leading companies in terms of infastructure within the cloud, not only in the European market . How are you planning to compete with that?

DigitalOcean is also a leading company in the cloud infrastructure space, we’re just in a different segment of the market. It’s not surprising that enterprise providers get a little more spotlight, but if you look at the numbers DigitalOcean continues to grow exponentially.

So not to avoid the question, but we don’t consider ourselves competitors with AWS and Azure. We’re concerned with simplifying innovation for individual software developers.

Infrastructure is a traditional operations task. Why is DigitalOcean nevertheless a product for developers?

That’s a great question. We believe that if our platform is simple enough, developers will be able to get their applications up and running (and scaling) with ease. We’ve created a beautiful control panel so you can manage your servers, and our community offers a wealth of resources so that developers can educate themselves in various topics to really take control of their projects.

Container technologies like Docker are working on a more easy way to generally deliver software. How does this trend influence DigitalOcean?

We offer Docker as a 1-click image on our platform, so any developer that’s interested in testing out Docker can quickly and easily do so on top of our infrastructure. We certainly believe containerization is an important trend, and we’re constantly evaluating leading technologies and integrating them into our platform wherever possible.

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