Think of cloud computing, and it’s likely you think first of the services offered by some of the giants of the technology world: Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure platform come to mind, and perhaps rival offerings from Google, Alibaba, and IBM.

Those companies dominate the cloud server world: Research firm Gartner found AWS and Azure together account for more than half of the infrastructure-as-a-service cloud market. Still, other, smaller providers have carved out their own place in the rapidly growing sector by paying close attention to their customer needs.

Shiven Ramji [Photo: courtesy of DigitalOcean]

“The big hyperscale players are trying to do a little bit of everything for everyone, and they’re doing it at massive global scale,” says Dave Bartoletti, VP and principal analyst at research firm Forrester.

Smaller players have scored success by targeting enterprise companies seeking reliable places to host high-end software tools and startups looking for cheap, easy, and reliable solutions. On some level, every cloud infrastructure company is ultimately selling access to computers where customers can run programs and host files, but, by offering support and other services, they’re able to compete with those massive rivals despite their economies of scale.

“The best way to think about it is we empower and enable small teams,” says Shiven Ramji, VP of product at New York-based cloud provider DigitalOcean.

DigitalOcean is probably best known for its heavily customizable virtual machines called Droplets, which developers can use to host anything from web servers to back-end data…