Mac Pro or High Spec'd Mac Mini for Team Development

Civica.DevCivica.Dev AUMember

I am having trouble deciding on the best solution for setting up a Mac server for team development. If anyone has experience and/or suggestions on this it would be greatly appreciated.

  • 4 - 5 Developers can be connected at any one time.
  • 2 Developers are offshore.
  • Development will be done on Visual Studio on Windows PC's.
  • The Mac Server will be used primarily for building and debugging from Visual Studio on Windows (Developer to remote connect into the Server via VNC or alternative to view iOS Simulator)
  • It will also be used as a VSTS Build Agent.

I have searched around but can't find clear answers on what is recommended based on our requirements above. The benefit of the Mac Pro is that it has the Dual Ethernet so Link Aggregation can be used (Is that possible on the Mac Mini?). The problem is that it is obviously much more expensive and I am not sure if it is overkill. Any ideas on what Memory, Processing Power and Storage will be required?

Thanks.

Answers

  • Hardik_MistryHardik_Mistry USMember, University ✭✭✭

    @Civica.Dev

    Having multiple users simultaneously working on a single Mac is challenging, specially if the number of users grow and depending on the purpose.

    If you are open to consider hosted solution
    I would suggest to have a look at: http://www.macincloud.com/, the thing is, you purchase a hosted Mac machine, you configure and basically pay for the type of usage you need (hardware spec, configuration etc) and you may try it out for a month or so and get an understanding if the hardware spec works for your team's needs or not. Once you have enough confidence and clarity you can opt to purchase an on-premise machine and start using it.

    If you want it on-premise only, I would suggest you to

    • Purchase 1 (One) MacMini for development (spec out with 512 Gb/1 Tb SSD, 16 Gb RAM - I suggest SSD for better I/O and that significantly helps in the overall performance under heavy usage)
    • Purchase 1 (One) MacMini for Build Agent (spec out with 256 Gb/512 Gb SSD, 16 Gb RAM)

    What I mean is, as you can have Build Agent running on an independent computer, it would make more sense to keep it as a separate PC/Laptop.

    As per my current experience, starting with this should keep things peaceful for your team (Note: Internet bandwidth will affect the overall performance as specially from offshore due to latency)

    What I did for a friend was to spec out 6 MacMini (256 Gb SSD / 8 Gb RAM) and set them as Dev and Build machines, pair them within a single network.

    Notice, you should configure automated backups (TimeMachine or any other tool) for the machines in an event any of them may crash down.

    Share your thoughts.

  • JimBennettJimBennett GBXamarin Team, Insider, University, Developer Group Leader ✭✭✭✭

    Surely for the cost of a MacPro you can buy a few mac minis for development, or buy everyone a MacBookPro

  • Civica.DevCivica.Dev AUMember

    Thanks for the quick answers.

    The machine(s) needs to be on an internal dev network. Unfortunately due to the VPN solution not being compatible with OSX we cannot connect externally from a MacBook into the internal network. Which is why we need the developer machine to sit inside the network, then Windows machines can connect externally via VPN and use it (Build/Deploy via Visual Studio and View iOS Simulator on server using VNC/similar solution).

    I was a little worried about having to maintain multiple Mac Mini's but it seems the cost of the Mac Pro is not worth it.

    Unfortunately strict security will come at a cost.

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