What is a Device Farm?
In the pandemic-hit world, device farms or device clouds have become crucial for DevOps teams. A device farm is a testing environment that allows developers and testers to assess the performance of their mobile apps and websites. For testing mobile apps, developers as well as testers need a large number of devices running on various OS versions. If enrolled into a device farm, all such devices become remotely accessible to developers and testers so they can evaluate the performance of their builds in the real world.
Device farms not only increase device coverage but also reduce testing-related costs.
Types of Device Farms
Device farms can be private or public. Public device farms are third-party platforms that allow users to access the devices owned by them. Companies rent these devices and time-slots for testing and pay rent accordingly.
Private device farms, however, are managed by companies themselves. Private device farms enable employees of the company to access any enrolled device from anywhere in no time. There are many benefits of using private device farms over public device farms.
Benefits of using a Private Device Farm Instead of a Public Device Farm
1. Cost Optimization - Private device farms are more cost-effective than public device farms. Some companies already have the devices they need for testing and development. To make those devices accessible to teams across geographies, all they need to do is enroll those devices in a private device farm so their employees can access the devices remotely. This saves companies the cost of procuring the same devices multiple times for different locations or transporting devices to make them available where they are needed. This also helps them save the money that they would have spent on renting from third-party device farms.
2. Device Availability - Companies purchase devices based on client requirements or use cases. Sometimes, this means that they have a unique set of devices, such as rugged devices, to test apps on. Public device farms may not always have the kind of devices (or those running a specific version of an operating system) a business needs to test its apps on (as public device farms generally offer a common set of devices). In such cases, using a private device farm can make it easy for employees to remotely access the devices the business already owns.
3. Optimization of Device Utilization - Companies invest heavily in a vast array of devices for testing purposes. Since such devices may not always be physically available for testing and development, some of them may remain unutilized. For example,even if an employee only wants to use a device for 2 hours, he may retain it longer. This would make the device physically unavailable for other testers (especially those who aren’t in the same location) for that period of time. Private device farms can help companies optimize device utilization by making devices remotely available for everyone as and when required (as long as the devices are not being used by anyone else).
On the other hand, public device farms can’t contribute in this regard as they offer their own devices on rent. This means the longer a device is allocated for use by a company, the more the public farm earns. Moreover, if a company has already procured devices for a specific location and is still renting the same devices for testers and developers in other locations, it’s an extra cost that the company doesn’t need.
4. Easier Coordination - If a company has a private device farm, it’s easy for its employees to internally find out who has the device they need. This is especially useful when something has to be urgently tested. They can just ask for the device to be made available, and once that is done, they can start using it.
This, however, is not possible if a company uses a public device farm. Employees need to wait until the device they need becomes available for them to use. And this may sometimes take a while, especially when their request is in the queue and another company has already requested that device.
If your organization has already spent on devices for testing, a private device farm is undeniably a better option for you than renting devices from an outside provider. Moreover, building a private device farm is easy.
42Gears’ AstroFarm is a great tool for creating your own private device farm.