Amazon Lightsail against DigitalOcean

by (December 01, 2016)

Posted in Clouds  Tags:AWS, DO, Lightsail, Clouds

On Nov 30, 2016 Amazon introduced Lightsail, which looks like a replication of DigitalOcean services. There is even some similarity in names, sails are known to be used in oceans.

In this article we will do some fast and not-accurate comparison of these services.

So let the competition begin!

DO vs Lightsail

1 VM instances

Lightsail has 5 types to choose from:

  1. $5 512MB RAM, 1 vCPU, 20GB SSD, 1TB data transfer
  2. $10 1GB RAM, 1 vCPU, 30GB SSD, 2TB data transfer
  3. $20 2GB RAM, 1 vCPU, 40GB SSD, 3TB data transfer
  4. $40 4GB RAM, 2 vCPU, 60GB SSD, 4TB data transfer
  5. $80 8GB RAM, 2 vCPU, 80GB SSD, 5TB data transfer


  1. $5 512MB RAM, 1 core, 20GB SSD, 1TB data transfer
  2. $10 1GB RAM, 1 core, 30GB SSD, 2TB data transfer
  3. $20 2GB RAM, 2 core, 40GB SSD, 3TB data transfer
  4. $40 2GB RAM, 2 core, 60GB SSD, 4TB data transfer
  5. $80 2GB RAM, 4 core, 80GB SSD, 5TB data transfer
  6. $160-$640 droplets also available

Looks like the same with some differences:

  1. For $20 you will get more virtual CPU cores from DO: 2 vs 1
  2. And for $80 there will be 4 virtual CPU cores from DO vs 2 in Lightsail

Also DO has 4 additional large instances starting from $160/month. Both providers have hourly billing.

VM instances score

Cloud Mark
Lightsail 2
DO 3

2 Features

2.1 Regions and zones

Currently Lightsail is only available in Virginia USA (4 availability zones), DO present in 7 countries and 8 regions, however only in New York USA DO has 3 zones, in most regions only one AZ is available.

2.2 Static IP

Both providers support static IPs, with minor difference:

  1. DO calls it Floating IP and its free to use and number of floating IPs is not limited.
  2. Lightsail also do not charge for static IPs, however there is a limitation of 5 static IPs.

2.3 Attached storages

Lightsail doesn’t support this feature, DO has this feature ($1/10G).

2.4 Images

DO let you choose from 6 distros:

  1. Ubuntu
  2. FreeBSD
  3. Fedora
  4. Debian
  5. CoreOS
  6. CentOs

And for each distro there are different versions to choose from.

While Lightsail currently only supports two images:

  1. Amazon Linux 2016.09.0
  2. Ubuntu 16.04 Lightsail

2.5 Apps

Lightsail supports 10 applications at the moment and DO allows you to select one from 31.

2.6 Networking

Feature DO Lightsail
Firewall No Yes
IPv6 Yes No

2.7 Snapshots

Both providers support snapshots, in DO it will cost $0.05/GB/month when in Lightsail there is no information about the price (free?).

2.8 VPC peering

Logically DO doesn’t support VPC peering and Lightsail has it.

2.9 DNS hosting

Lightsail also offers DNS zone hosting.

Features score

Cloud Mark
Lightsail 5
DO 7

3 Performance testing

In this testing we using $5 instances with Ubuntu 16.04. Regions:

  1. Lightsail: Virginia
  2. DO: New York

For CPU and IO testing we are using sysbench. For Internet connection speed test we are downloading Ubuntu iso.

3.1 Time to create an instance

Both providers show the same time: it took us about 22 secs to get a running instance. Well done.

3.2 CPU

Command sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 runsysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 run results (total time taken by event execution, the less the better):

  1. Lightsail: 27.6340
  2. DO: 38.9194

There’s a big difference here, surprisingly.

3.3 Disk IO


  1. sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=16G preparesysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=16G prepare
  2. sysbench --test=fileio --file-total-size=16G --file-test-mode=rndrw --init-rng=on --max-time=300 --max-requests=0 run

Results (total transferred, the bigger the better):

  1. Lightsail: Total transferred 4.7333Gb (16.156Mb/sec)
  2. DO: Total transferred 13.336Gb (45.521Mb/sec)

And again huge gap between providers, but this time DO is much faster.

3.4 Internet connection

Command: time wget -O /dev/null results:

  1. Lightsail: 1m9.534s
  2. DO: 32.331s

DO is twice faster.

Performance score

Cloud Mark
Lightsail 2
DO 3

4 Total score

Cloud Mark
Lightsail 9
DO 13

And the winner is DO, not by knockout, but on points. Lightsail is a rookie with a good potential. It allows you to start using simple service from Amazon and if needed you can switch to AWS (remember vpc peering). Lets wait for an answer from DO, what can it be? Price drop, new services? We’ll see.

Let us know!

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