Rob Kraft's Software Development Blog

Software Development Insights

Dramatically improve build times with new hardware

Posted by robkraft on April 30, 2011

Ok, so I gave away the punch line in the article title, but I wanted to share my joy at the big difference we experienced in build times when we got a new build server.  Our old build server was running 4 VMs, and one of those VMs contained our build process which we tried to run 3 times per day, along with unit tests and other build jobs.  The average compile time for our C# code was 50 minutes.  This was tolerable when
everything going well and we are not approaching a release deadline.  But we are now approaching a release deadline and we are in the midst of renaming a lot of projects and DLLs which is causing an unusually large number of build failures.  I was spending more than half of my day each day running builds.  We finally bought a new computer, not really a server, just a power tower PC and moved our main build VM to that
machine.  The build times went from 50 minutes down to 16 minutes on average.   This allows us to find problems more quickly, get the bugs fixed more quickly, and we are already even responding to bugs found in QA more quickly.  If we had known the build times would have improved so dramatically we would have done this 6 months ago.

We still haven’t even defragged the hard drive in the VM, or increased its disk space. We hope to do both next week and I expect a small gain, but nothing like we experienced with the new hardware.  So don’t go cheap on the hardware!  Saving time is saving money!

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One Response to “Dramatically improve build times with new hardware”

  1. It is amazing how fast things are getting. With new hardware innovation and advances it costs more not to update. Software development is becoming a very demanding business and the faster you can turn out your product the happier the client, or employer, is. I have also noticed that a move to multiple monitors helped shave allot of time off the things that I do. Thanks for the post.

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