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DigitalOcean Launches Flexible Block Storage

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DigitalOcean has announced the availability of a new Block Storage service to make it possible to grow storage independently of computing power and at a more convenient price.

According to DigitalOcean, Block Storage is useful when more storage space is required without the additional processing power or memory that a larger Droplet would provide. Block Storage volumes can be used as generic block devices mounted on a droplet’s filesystem.

DigitalOcean Block Storage is replicated multiple times to safeguard data against hardware failures. Privacy is ensured by having data encrypted at rest and transmitted to droplets over isolated networks. Additionally, a single volume can scale up from 1GB to 16TB and up to five volumes can be exclusively associated to the same droplet.

To create a Block Storage volume and attach it to an existing droplet, you can use DigitalOcean web control panel, which displays a new Volumes tab for droplets hosted in a region where Block Storage is available (currently only NYC1 and SFO2). Alternatively, Block Storage provisioning can be automated using DigitalOcean volumes API, or DigitalOcean command-line client, doctl. For example, this is how you can create a Storage Block volume and a droplet configured to use it through doctl:

doctl compute volume create --size 160GB --region nyc1 vol_name
doctl compute droplet create --wait --image XXX --region nyc1 --size
4gb --ssh-keys YYY --volumes vol_uuid vol_name

Once your volume is attached to a droplet, you can prepare it for use and mount it as if it were a common storage device by ssh-ing into it and executing something like:

sudo parted /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_X mklabel gpt
sudo parted -a opt /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_X mkpart primary ext4 0% 100%
sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_X-part1
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/X-part1
echo '/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_X-part1 /mnt/X-part1 ext4 defaults,nofail,discard 0 2' | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab
sudo mount -a

Before the introduction of Block Storage, DigitalOcean customers had to buy a more powerful, higher-priced droplet – including computing resources – to get more storage, or use a third-party storage service like Google’s persistent disk, or Amazon’s S3 and Elastic Block Store.

DigitalOcean block storage is priced at $0.10 per GB per month irrespective of bandwidth used for data transfers. This pricing model is similar to that of Amazon Elastic Block and differs from the one Amazon S3 uses, where you have a lower cost per GB but also have to pay for I/O.

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