Mac mini server case study

Freerange Communications

Litmus provides one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use email testing services available. They take advantage of dedicated Mac minis running all sorts of operating systems to provide the best testing experience for their customers. Learn how Litmus improved testing with hundreds of Mac minis. Travis CI provides a variety of free and paid, open and closed source CI platforms for users of all sizes. There are so many ways to use Mac hardware Set up a Mac mini as a build server and send jobs to and from your local machine.

Develop locally while the remote server builds a new version of the app, tests it, and sends it back to your local machine. Add more Macs as your development needs grow. Who wants to manage an onsite Mac computer lab? Not one of our university customers. Their students complete their Mac projects by virtually accessing Macs hosted in our data center.

Day One Case Study | MacStadium

Need to travel light? Take your iPad with you and use a Mac in the cloud to manage macOS remotely to run programs, complete specific tasks, or store your data and backups. Use a Mac mini to host your company's website. Manage your own email or DNS server. Run a database server using FileMaker. Self-host your Git management software with GitLab.

iOS/macOS Build Machines

Heck, even host your own Minecraft server! The possibilities are endless. You provide the inspiration, we'll provide the Mac hardware to make it happen. MacStadium, Ltd. Use Cases.

Case Study

Use Cases Start with the infrastructure we provide and develop your product on top. I need Mac infrastructure for Another creative use for Mac hardware Bare metal Macs for any use case you can imagine: I sat down and made a list of what I wanted to change: I wanted builds to happen automatically. I wanted code reviews. I wanted automated unit tests and static analysis. I wanted to catch new compiler warnings that I inadvertently introduced. I wanted to know when a build was failing. What I wanted was continuous integration. In a nutshell, continuous integration CI involves a server watching for changes to a repository.

When the server detects a change it automatically begins a build and runs tests. The result is real-time feedback about the state of your application. Have you ever committed a small change without actually building it, only to scratch your head in bewilderment the next day when your app won't build? Have you ever pulled down someone else's changes and cursed them for breaking the build?

CI solves these problems. A CI server doesn't forget to run the unit tests. It doesn't turn off static analysis because it gets tired of it taking too long to run. It doesn't forget to run your cross-platform unit tests on both iOS and Mac. Jenkins is flexible, cross-platform, open-source build server with a very active community. This community has built an impressive array of plugins that cover everything from Xcode to IRC to GitHub integration. One option is to repurpose your local development machine as a Jenkins server, but this presents a few obvious problems: I use a laptop for development and sometimes I take it upstairs or out of my local network.

I also don't want expensive builds to start running in the background right as I'm testing some new animations. Instead, I recommend a hosted solution. A hosted Mac Mini is a perfect solution: The connection is insanely fast and we've had zero downtime. Once you've got the hardware, the initial Jenkins install is really straightforward. Jenkins has a native OS X installer package that will take care of everything, including creating a new jenkins user on your system and setting up Jenkins to start automatically when your computer starts up.

In order to see where CI fits in, it might help to understand our overall development workflow for Day One. This workflow is designed around three major systems: Source code management.


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GitHub has great support for private organizations. Developers in our organization can create their own private forks and issue pull requests back to the main repository.

Baremetal VSphere Mac Minis

The best part is that these private forks inherit the access permissions of the main repository, which means they are not public, but still remain accessible to everyone in the organization. I'll explain why this is great a bit later. Hosted IRC. IRC is a great option for teams to communicate, but can be a pain to setup and maintain.

Grove handles all of these pain points and provides some nice features such as searchable, server-side archiving of all conversations. It will also notify you by email if someone mentions you in a room and you're not in there. Continuous integration server.


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Archives our builds, runs unit tests, integrates with GitHub and Grove. With those systems in place, here's how we go from feature to implementation: Determine a feature to build. Write high-level requirements and create mockups. These are added to a GitHub issue. Issue is assigned to a developer. If they haven't already, developer forks the main Day One repository. Developer creates a feature-specific branch in their fork.

They'll do all their work for this feature on this branch.

Sonnet Turns The Mac mini Into A True Xserve Replacement

If more than one developer is working on this feature, those developers can all commit to this one branch in the forked repository i. As development progresses it's simple for the designer to checkout this branch to make sure things are progressing to spec.


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When the feature is finished, the developer issues a pull request back to the main repository. As soon as the pull request is created, GitHub via a service hook notifies our Jenkins server of the change. Jenkins checks out the pull request and sets the status of the pull request to "Building".

This status shows up in the pull request on GitHub so that other developers know whether that pull request is safe to merge or not.


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