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Heroku is tough to justify, expense-wise, unless you're a startup looking to set your Rails app up quickly. IMO, it's far easier and cheaper to manage a PHP DO box than trying to do it on Rails (apps that are constantly-running processes like Ruby/Node apps are, IMO, best fit for Heroku).
As for the FS, I believe you can do what you're describing with DO Spaces or Volumes (I believe these are just NFS mounts). I haven't done that bit, but I'm guessing it's fairly simple like most other DO things. DO tries to make it so your droplet is customizable. I think if you just create a droplet in a datacenter location that allows volumes, you can add space to it as you need:
One thing that can't hurt is to email the DO support with your needs and ask if that's something that can easily be done with DO. They'll be able to let you know.
Oh hey, I can contribute to this discussion.
Digital Ocean is a clear winner to me. The costs are far clearer (and, for the most part, lower) than AWS, the setup 250 times easier, and the tooling is super simple. I run a few servers through them. First: separate your DB from the the application server. Take your DB private so that only your application server can talk to it. Then set your application up on a droplet. Should be super simple.
Then set both your DB and your app server to backups and take frequent snapshots. If something fails, you can literally just click "create server from backup/snapshot" and you're back online with minimal (if any) data loss.
If you need load balancers, you can setup your app server on the smallest server behind a load balancer (DO has one-click LB setups for $20/mo if you don't want to deal with it), setup rules to scale when needed, and connect your smaller app nodes to the same shared block storage to store any image uploads and things you have.
Honestly, without DO, every shop would need a full devops team to constantly manage this kind of stuff on AWS. AWS is more powerful, but for 99.99% of use cases, you don't need the majority of its features.
BONUS: DO also has a slew of EXCELLENT devops tutorials: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials -- they apply even if you're not on their platform, FYI.
Feel free to email me if you have Q's or want to check out my setup.
Oh yeah, puts on glove, this feels right, again
Team Mystic, reporting in. Still loving them 5 mile walks on Saturday and Sunday while it's nice outside.
I'm happy to have helped all those years ago. I wish I could have been around to help salvage the site after the hackening! What a huge loss Icrontic was a huge part of my Junior High years. Mortin, my little brother, and I played EverQuest (I went by the worst name ever, Poklemius!; he went by the much cooler, Maugrib) after we got bored of that custom UO server we ran. Good times!
I'm stoked that I was able to leave such a mark on ya'll. Especially keebs! When I made the site all those years ago, I remember the first piece of feedback Kieth gave me on the site before the iteration I posted on Twitter: "bro, I could wipe my ass down a wall and make a better website than this."
He had a way with words
Made me really jump into design and development, crack open the MySQL manuals, and scour Kevin Yank's tutorials on SitePoint.
Maybe I'll drop in for a TF2 session sometime. I played the hell out of that back in the day. I'm probably a bit rusty, but I'll bet my Demo skills are still serviceable.
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