MacStadium Blog

MacStadium Sees 3x Increase in Utilization as Developers Work From Home

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are finding new ways to collaborate online with our coworkers. At MacStadium, we've noticed a huge increase in utilization.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us are finding new ways to collaborate online with our coworkers, and leaning on the existing cloud infrastructures our organizations already had in place, pre-pandemic. As many of us are entering our sixth week of staying at home to flatten the curve, at MacStadium, we’ve noticed that utilization is up 3x – let’s explore the reasons why we’ve seen such an explosion.

CI as Collaboration

Continuous integration is one of the most important processes that developer teams use while building software together. Now more than ever, organizations are relying on this process more as traditional methods, like pair programming or simply asking advice from your neighbor, become impossible.

Many organizations are rushing to implement a CI pipeline if one wasn’t in place before and quickly signing up for services like Bitrise, CircleCI, GitHub Actions, Travis CI, etc. to help them build and test. We’ve seen that CI-as-a-service (CIaaS) providers that build on MacStadium infrastructure have tripled their CPU utilization in the past month. This same factor of growth in utilization took ten months before the COVID-19 pandemic. The graph below speaks for itself:

3x increase across CIaaS providers. Graph showing CPU utilization between May 2019 and April 2020

App Marketplace Explosion

While the developer teams that use MacStadium are using our genuine Apple hardware to build and test their software, the products they build are experiencing explosive growth too. Business collaboration apps are seeing downloads spike by >90%, and Q1 2020 saw record amounts of both time and money spent in the app economy. However, we’ll be interested to see if this trend continues. Many states and countries are lifting stay-at-home orders, meaning more people will be out of the house with potentially less time to play with new apps.

More Productive at Home

It’s no secret to developers that it takes time and focus to build amazing apps. With the common distractions and interruptions of modern open offices, getting into the flow required to program a new feature or squash a bug in the code can be a precious commodity.

With so many people working from home, it could be that developer teams are seeing increased focus, leading to more pull requests, and more builds per day. While essential services are beginning to open up around the world, most office workers continue to be at home, giving developers time to focus on innovative features and apps.

On-Prem Infrastructure When the Whole Team is Remote

Sometimes, Mac mini and Mac Pro build machines will get themselves into a bad state, kernel panic, accumulate build artifacts, or for some reason need to be rebooted or re-imaged. Similarly, power outages or networking equipment that needs to be reset can create accessibility problems that turn what was once a walk-across-the-office into a drive-across-town-in-a-lockdown, with your fellow developers waiting or queuing jobs on the limited machines available.

It seems likely from the increase in bandwidth utilization we have seen, that many of our customers had access to on-prem compute power that supplemented their cloud capacity. Now, we’re seeing customers supplementing their on-prem solutions with remote, virtualized capacity - giving them more bandwidth. In fact, we’ve seen more than a 2x jump in bandwidth since February!

MacStadium bandwidth has doubled. Graph showing total network bandwidth across all customers in ATL data center. 2.3x increase in 2 months (Feb 2020).

Need Help with Virtual Macs?

Many of us have experienced huge shifts in our daily lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MacStadium is proud of the service we provide, supporting developers around the world. If you’re looking for a solution to help effectively manage your Macs while everyone is still working from home, contact us.


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