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The enterprise adoption of Apple devices continues to expand dramatically. Three out of four large enterprises reported an increase in their use of Apple devices in the past year, and 57% reported that Apple device use is growing faster than other options.

Increased performance benefits brought on by Apple Silicon have now placed macOS at the center of enterprise software development. For Mac development professionals, this is where the power of virtualization can become critical for development teams and can transform the future of Mac DevOps.

Empowering Developers With More Opportunity

Virtualization technology allows developers to experiment with application testing and deployment in a controlled environment. By creating virtual instances of their application environment (including different OSes, tools and libraries), developers can accelerate their ability to test their applications across a pool of consistent hardware that allows for a range of configurations. This flexibility is particularly crucial in the Mac ecosystem, where developers often need to ensure compatibility across different Apple devices and OS versions. Virtualization allows them to do so without requiring extensive physical hardware management, automation and repurposing, significantly reducing costs and resources.

By virtualizing Mac environments, developers can also leverage standardized development and testing environments that accurately mirror production. This consistency is invaluable, as it reduces the likelihood of discrepancies between the development, testing and deployment phases. As a result, this minimizes the chances of unexpected issues arising when the software is deployed to end-users, increases the velocity of delivery and ensures a smoother user experience.

Uncertainty Paves the Way for Virtualization Alternatives

Most users rely on traditional virtualization providers like VMware to deliver virtualized Mac compute. However, recent developments are changing the landscape of virtualization choices.

Apple announced the new Apple Silicon M1 architecture in November 2020 and, as a result, VMware also announced that it would discontinue Mac support. This left enterprise Mac-centric software teams that ran their business on the EXSi platform scrambling to find better ways to continue supporting their development practices.

There are solutions for build-as-a-service, like GitHub and XCode Cloud, intended to abstract infrastructure away from the development process.  They make it easier to start for individuals and small-scale development but limit your control of what you build on, where it is built, and how it performs.  They are great for focusing on basic builds but tend to lead to challenges as teams or development tasks evolve, leading to a lack of control, flexibility and autonomy. Ultimately, these choices are directly viable as a replacement for an existing virtualized environment or infrastructure without change.

The good news is that developers have a more seamless and cost-effective replacement option. With over a decade of experience in Mac servers, MacStadium offers proprietary technology that has become the top virtualization replacement for Mac build infrastructures. It’s called Orka, which enables macOS orchestration in a cloud environment via Kubernetes on genuine Apple hardware, and it’s a virtualization solution that simply did not exist in the Apple ecosystem before.

Unlocking the Future of Development

One of Orka’s major differentiators is that it is cloud-focused by design. This means Orka brings industry leading infrastructure management capabilities to mac in the data center.  Orka also allows customers to rapidly instantiate and scale versions of their Mac environments in very automated and agile fashion when compared to more time consuming, complex, and manually automated processes required with typical a bare-metal infrastructures. This is a valuable capability when modernizing the mac development lifecycle. Orka also provides integrations that connect with most popular CI/CD management tools and DevOps platforms.

Launched in November, Orka 3.0 is a significant  update to Orka’s architecture. It is built for improved performance and usability. Some key updates include enhanced security integration, allowing customers to seamlessly manage user access with integrated SSO to ensure a business can more easily manage rights and access to the cloud environment. It’s also now Kubernetes-native which provides performance and integration features like native kubernetes resource scheduling and kubernetes command line tooling. Additionally, with OCI image support, Orka improves performance and opens the platform to integration with registries like ECR and GitHub, making the adoption of Mac DevOps more manageable, automated, and scalable than ever. Leveraging APIs for integrations and scriptable command lines are the types interaction experiences that developers know and expect. To that end Orka 3.0 is easy to adopt, expand, and customize to meet specific tooling needs and pipelines of users’ build stack.

In essence, mac virtualization can serve to better enable a flexible, efficient and collaborative platform that empowers developers to do what they do best at an enterprise-grade, highly scalable level.

As Apple’s proliferation into the enterprise continues to increase, developers who have the tools to adapt to Apple’s fast-paced release cycles and embrace DevOps practices will have a significant competitive advantage as they navigate the challenges and opportunities.