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DigitalOcean Cloud Platform Powers Khronos IT Infrastructure with Flexibility, Safety and Security

Khronos is delighted to use DigitalOcean's hosting and Open Source Technology services for all of our hosting and continuous integration (CI) needs for creating open industry standards

Why Khronos Selected DigitalOcean as its Provider

On the morning of April 6, 2014, Khronos was reminded how a reliable IT infrastructure provider is critical to our mission of creating open industry standards. Our co-located host machine suffered a redundant power supply failure, and the resulting power surge took out a hardware RAID Controller and damaged one of three RAID drives. This happened on the first day of one of Khronos’ quarterly meetings, where all Khronos Working Groups come together in one location for a week of in-depth discussions—just when robust access to hosted online resources is paramount.

After several hours had passed, the colocation service (colo) hosting Khronos replaced the hardware and installed new drives. However, we discovered that two of the three drives had been damaged by the power surge. The colo took almost 24 hours to determine that a new server would need to be installed, after which Khronos could pull from the colo-managed backups and rebuild the server. This process uncovered issues with the colo’s backup system, and so secondary and tertiary backups had to be used to rebuild a complete machine—a very time-consuming process.

The system and the data were fully recovered, but confidence in the provider was severely shaken and Khronos began looking for a service upgrade. It was around this time that John Edgar, Chief Technology Evangelist at DigitalOcean, reached out offering their support to help Khronos achieve a more robust setup.

After discussing requirements, DigitalOcean helped the Khronos IT staff quickly migrate their older infrastructure to a new server. As Khronos is a not-for-profit organization, DigitalOcean offered the assistance of their Open Source Sponsorship program for Khronos’s extensive hosting and CI needs.

DigitalOcean Tools That Khronos Uses

Since making the switch to DigitalOcean over seven years ago, Khronos has enjoyed excellent support. The tools offered by DigitalOcean have grown in-step with our ever-expanding needs. Here are some of the tools we currently use:

Droplets for websites and developer tool hosting

Khronos uses ~20 droplets for our websites, developer tool hosting, and more. DigitalOcean currently offers 4 types of droplets, each geared toward specific required uses: Basic, CPU Optimized, Memory Optimized, and Storage Optimized. Khronos currently uses a mix of all four droplet types to ensure the lowest cost with highest operating performance. DigitalOcean also offers six Linux flavors to choose from—Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, CoreOS and FreeBSD—of which Khronos currently uses Ubuntu and CentOS.

Chart showing various Digital Ocean droplet options

Networking and Server Tools

DigitalOcean offers a robust set of tools that developers can use to monitor and maintain their systems. With the use of these tools, Khronos IT staff has been able to easily keep everything in our busy system running smoothly. Some of these tools include the following:

  • Resize: Allows for quick and easy resizing, or vertical scaling, of a droplet by CPU/RAM and Disk size when added performance or storage is needed.
  • Graphs: Ensures droplets are responsive and not too large by providing real-time visualizations of server performance, keying in on CPU, memory and disk usage, and Bandwidth.
  • Monitoring: Offers real-time summaries and alerts via email or Slack.
  • Console : Provides a browser-based command-line terminal whose shell context is a running container instance for a given component.
  • Networking: Provides complete control over firewalls and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with Tier-1 bandwidth and redundant 40G hypervisor connections to ensure 99.99% uptime and throughput. Networking tools include Load Balancers, Floating IPs, Cloud Firewalls, DNS, and VPC.
  • Backups and Snapshots: Transparent backups with no down time, and Snapshots to ensure major updates have failsafe fall-backs.
  • Custom images: Linux and Unix-like images, imported into the account allowing the creation of Droplets based on custom images; allows DigitalOcean to migrate and scale workloads without spending time recreating the environment from scratch.

Improving Operations with Additional Services

In addition to the main networking tools and support, DigitalOcean has helped Khronos improve some of our key functional areas.

  • Kubernetes: GitLab is a critical tool used by all the Khronos Working Groups. By running GitLab core components on DigitalOcean Kubernetes, Khronos can easily scale our builds and integration pipelines.
  • Block Storage Volumes: Khronos’s data storage needs can change very quickly due to new spec projects, implementation studies, hackathons, and more. DigitalOcean’s Block Storage Volumes service provides block storage on SSD that Khronos can resize on the fly from 1GB to 16TB. This storage is replicated across different racks, so we can stay busy with our work without the worry of data loss.
  • Spaces: Khronos uses this S3-compatible object service to store NNEF neural net models. The built-in content distribution network makes scaling easy, reliable, and affordable.

Best-in-class Training and Support

The greatest solutions are still not helpful if they are difficult to learn or to use. DigitalOcean caps off their service offerings by making them easy to use and integrate into their clients’ particular use case.

  • DigitalOcean Marketplace: Choose from 100+ applications that can be installed in a single click. With the Marketplace, users can easily test new tools, develop proofs of concept, or launch pre-built images from data science to databases, analytics to security, or Docker to Discourse.
  • DigitalOcean Tutorials: For quick reference or deeper learning, DigitalOcean provides a library of well written tutorials, available online any time.
  • Support: DigitalOcean doesn’t offer hand holding, but if there is an issue that comes up and is within their control, they are very responsive. Support for Khronos has always been fast and friendly, with typical response times of anywhere from 2-15 minutes.

Summing Up

Khronos has found that DigitalOcean understands us as a customer and offers the tools and services that are matched to our needs and are reliable, well thought-out, and easy-to-use. Khronos is grateful for the support DigitalOcean provides to our organization and our standardization activities, and we look forward to continuing to ride the DigitalOcean wave.