The top 5 developer struggles, and solutions, for maintaining self-hosted CI/CD hardware

In the fast-paced world of software development, efficiency and smooth workflows are key to success. Mobile developers often grapple with the complexities of self-hosted CI/CD hardware, facing a myriad of challenges that can hinder their progress. 

In this blog post, we dive into the top five developer struggles associated with maintaining self-hosted CI/CD hardware, and present solutions offered by Bitrise. Our focus is on providing you with insights that not only highlight these common hurdles but also showcase how Bitrise's approach can streamline your development process, and unlock effortless troubleshooting.

1. Physical build hardware constraints 

Physical hardware for continuous integration (CI) can be quite the responsibility. Imagine the challenges of managing a physical stack of machines — it can become costly for businesses and taxing for engineers. It extends beyond mere uptime and it involves proactive monitoring, resource planning, and preventative maintenance to combat any potential disruptions in the development pipeline. Jenkins professionals have shared stories of office blackouts and inconvenient trips to the office in a remote work era, just to reset a machine.

For improved reliability and scalability in the cloud, Bitrise's elastic cloud infrastructure gives mobile developers peace of mind. It's all about delivering on time without the hardware hassle. Mobile developers can enjoy the benefits of parallel job execution, improved quality, and frequent releases, all in a customizable cloud environment. Choose from a multi-tenant environment, a private environment, or integration within your own AWS VPC. The various options are available to meet mobile teams where they are at.

2. Maintaining build environments 

Constantly updating CI agents is a time drain, especially with unexpected tool releases. Consider the 27 Xcode versions released in 2022 alone. It's a dilemma: spend precious engineering time updating or lag behind with outdated tools. What’s more, lag behind and you may face integration issues, where everything slows down and creates compounding frustrations making it hard to finish your mobile app on time.

You can simplify your mobile development process with a fully-hosted CI/CD solution that offers tailored environments, like Bitrise. Bitrise enables users to access the latest mobile tooling with ease. From dozens of runner images, including the newest Xcode beta versions for forward compatibility tests to older versions for debugging, our dedicated team keeps these tools updated for you by a dedicated team of Build Environment engineers. 

3. Unexpected, hidden costs 

At first glance, Jenkins seems cost-effective, but the reality includes hidden expenses. Regular hardware updates to match Apple's release cycles, dealing with outdated machines, and the mismatch between developers' local and CI environments are just the tip of the iceberg. For example, you’ll need to invest in new CI hardware every 12 months to match Apple’s release cycles. These issues impact not only DevEx and retention but also negatively affects the pace of feature deployment.

With Bitrise, you can embrace the efficiency of the latest cloud machines. Forget about infrastructure management headaches, procurement worries, and upfront hardware investments. Bitrise adapts to your needs, optimizing hardware use without locking you into outdated choices. If your team suddenly scales up or down, Bitrise scales with you. This means reduced costs, increased predictability, and the ability to refocus on meaningful work.

4. Manual updates and forced standstills 

Manual updates in Jenkins can stall mobile development, like when having to wait for admin intervention in the shared library system. In a multi-role scenario, mobile teams often find themselves at a standstill, especially during critical moments like deploying urgent hotfixes. Imagine the business risk when developers have to wait for admins when a pipeline breaks.

Bitrise changes the game by prioritizing mobile-first development with an intuitive CI approach. Our low-code editor and YML configuration management reduce setup time, minimize the need for specialized skills, and enhance team autonomy. Backed by comprehensive documentation and a supportive team, Bitrise empowers developers to focus on innovation.

5. Error fixing and firefighting

Jenkins maintenance can divert valuable time from mobile development. Connection issues, debugging, and manual upkeep can consume hours that could be better spent innovating or being productive. Even minor updates or new plugins can disrupt the workflow, requiring dedicated intervention. And more often than not, it’s not a job an engineer wants to take on.

Switching to Bitrise means you can focus on what you love the most: coding. Free from the burden of CI/CD setup, Xcode updates, and troubleshooting, you can dedicate your skills to app development, instead of troubleshooting hardware and firefighting, enhancing both productivity and job satisfaction.

Summary: Fully-hosted cloud-based CI/CD over self-hosted CI/CD

In this exploration of the challenges faced by mobile developers in managing self-hosted CI/CD hardware, we've uncovered key issues ranging from physical hardware constraints to the tedious task of manual updates. Each problem, while unique, shares a common thread: they significantly hinder the efficiency and productivity of the development process. 

Bitrise emerges as a comprehensive solution to these challenges, offering a cloud-based, mobile-first CI/CD platform that alleviates the burdens of hardware maintenance, ensures up-to-date build environments, and eliminates hidden costs. With Bitrise, developers gain the freedom to focus on what they do best – creating exceptional mobile apps – while enjoying a seamless, streamlined development workflow. This shift not only boosts productivity but also enhances overall job satisfaction, proving Bitrise to be an indispensable tool in the modern mobile development landscape.

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